Horse riding is really one long conversation between horse and rider. One of the ways that we look to improve our riding is by being in constant harmony with our horse.
The ability to ‘follow your horse’ and be a balanced, conscientious rider comes from our ability to balance and control our own bodies… Core strength.
The Ability to Carry Yourself While Riding Your Horse
It seems strange to think about this, but carrying yourself while in the saddle is essential for becoming a balanced, effective rider. Many riders will bemoan the fact that they have ‘no core’ or a weak core. They allow this perception to hold them back from improving.
However if you can walk over to your horse, before you mount up, you already have the necessary core strength to carry yourself in the saddle.
It may not be a strong or developed as you would like, however carrying yourself simply requires that you engage your core. If you can walk to your horse unaided and unassisted, you can begin to follow your horse today.
Think of Standing Up Rather than Sitting Down
For most riders, as soon as their bum makes contact with the saddle they ‘sit down’. Unfortunately for most of us, sitting down means that we are slouched. Bad posture and completely relaxed.
One of the simplest ways to carry yourself when in the saddle is to engage your core as though you are ‘standing’ rather than sitting.
Yes, you are still sitting in the saddle. However, your core will feel and act as though you are standing. This way you will remain aligned, your posture will become more correct. There will also be the necessary ‘space’ between your ribs and your hips that is necessary for your seat to follow your horses movements.
Working to Follow Your Horse While in the Saddle
I suggest beginning to work on improving your ability to follow your horse in walk. Keep the emphasis on relaxing through your body, and allowing your horse to move underneath you.
- Relaxing our hips and pelvis
- Relaxing our leg, without tension or gripping
- Sitting up through your body, making sure your rib-cage and upper body are not ‘crushing’ your organs and pelvis.
If all these points are in place, in harmony, with each other, you can then begin to concentrate on following your horse. Doing so will help you to become a more independent and skilled rider
Following Is Different Than Driving or Shoving!
Keep in mind that when you follow your horse, it does not mean that you are driving, shoving or pushing! So many riders confuse ‘digging a hole’ with their seat bones, and just being supple enough to follow.
Relax enough that your horse can bring you along with him. Then, simply allow the movement to happen.
Other post, articles, episodes and freebies that relate to this topic:-
- Developing Your Riding Seat
- Harnessing the Power of the Half Halt
- Following & Allowing in Your Riding
- Learning to Stop Driving with Your Seat
- The Daily Strides Podcast on iTunes
- The Daily Strides Podcast on Stitcher Radio
- Join Daily Strides Premium
Join the Equestrian Fitness Challenge
Helping Riders Have Better Conversations with their Horses