Have you ever wondered how some riders seem to effortlessly connect with their horse when riding? It genuinely seems like they are doing nothing in particular, and there is clearly an ongoing conversation, or magic, happening.
The secret to seemingly effortless riding is to begin, one by one putting a basic on autopilot – and then revisiting and upgrading them regularly
The basics in riding are all the seemingly small, but vitally important, things that are essential to developing as a rider. They are like the foundations.
Choosing a ‘Basic on Autopilot’ This Month
I think that there are a few key areas that you can begin looking at putting onto autopilot in your riding. Now, obviously, each of these topics is pretty sizeable and has many different facets to them; there are no ‘quick wins’ and ‘one solution fit all’ here.
- Following & Allowing with Your Seat
- Your Position & Posture
- Your Basic Aids
- Bending & Turning
- Trotting (transitions and what you do while trotting)
- Cantering (transitions and what you do while cantering)
If you look at any rider who is having a great, connected conversation with their horse, they are not worrying about any of these things… They are not continuously ‘fixing’ their position. Or trying to turn their horse. They are certainly not still trying to figure out basic trotting and canter.
Start with Your Seat
Now, I realize that your seat, as an aid, is a fairly advanced topic for many riders. However, how you get to actually really being using your seat to positively influence the conversation with your horse to begin learning how to feel with it.
Can you tell exactly what is where at any given point when you ride? Can you ‘pause’ a point in the walk and confidently say ‘his outside back leg is on the ground now’?
Feeling with the seat is overlooked by a lot of riders because it often feels ‘boring’. However, it is the single thing you can start with today, regardless of what riding you are doing or where to really be improving your skills in the saddle.
Following & Allowing
Another key area to begin working with, using your seat for reference, is following and allowing. Putting this particular basic onto autopilot is essential to master; because ‘forwardness’ is essential for everything in riding.
If you are asking for ‘forward’, and you are then blocking that forwardness; well things are not going to run very smoothly!
I like to think of this as allowing your horse to ‘lead’ your seat. Let him move it. Then, once you have mastered this, you can begin working on ‘allowing’ the energy or forwardness. So many riders are unknowingly blocking or driving with their seat – all the time!
Allowing, simply means, that you are aware of the influence your seat has over the flow of the energy from back to front in your horse.
What’s Your 1 ‘Basic on Autopilot’?
I would love for you to challenge yourself to this. Devote this week (or month, if you really want the full effect) to making this your mission each time you’re in the saddle. Keep correcting or fixing yourself. Constantly. Until it just becomes the thing that you do. Either, you make a new habit by changing the status quo. Or you allow the correction to be on autopilot.
So, what is the 1 thing right now in your riding, that if you didn’t have to think about or correct so much, would free up time for so much more?
Can you imagine how different things would be if you no longer had to keep on thinking about this? If it could stop distracting you from other things, once and for all. And if, by removing this from your ‘have to look after’, will allow you to then move to the next, and the next… Until you are the ‘effortless’ rider :)
Additional Resources on This Topic
- Returning to Riding (Basics on Autopilot) Program
- Are You Blocking with Your Seat While Riding – Part 1
- Following & Allowing in Your Riding
- FREE 2021 Equestrian Fitness Challenge – What You Can Do While You Ride
- Daily Strides Premium Newsletter
- Lunging for Riding
- Online Community for Equestrian focusing on Planning and Mindset
- Equestrian Virtual Lounge Online Community