We want riders to move with their horses, not against them.
Most riders tend to have a question that has been bugging them for days, months or years but simply can't find the answer they need, even from their coaches.
Many of these questions might sound something like this:
Why does my horse always pull off to one side when I'm riding?
Why does my horse sometimes struggle with even the simplest of commands?
Why does my horse always get tight on one side of their body and need regular massage/physiotherapy?
The answer to nine out of ten of these questions might actually come down to you, the rider.
You see we spend so much time focusing on our horse and how we can improve his performance that we forget that sometimes it is our own bodies that can hugely affect how the horse moves and behaves. If our body is out of alignment, then this can be highly confusing for our horses.
Not only can this mis-alignment cause our own bodies' major issues and pain, but it can actually cause your horse lots of problems in the process.
Did you know that something as simple as just a low-grade muscle spasm in the rider's pelvis can throw out the balance in the rest of your body?
Most riders will be aware that the correct weight distribution through your saddle is essential to keeping your horse in alignment. When we are presented with a rider with an un-even pelvis, this then puts pressure on one side of the saddle, which can then be understood by the horse as a command to turn.
When seated, your 'sitting bones' apply pressure into the saddle and help to create stability for you the rider, and also help you to command the horse in turn. When riding frequently, or for long periods of time, this pressure and therefore movement pattern gets engrained into the horses' nervous system and stays with them‚In affect their systems are remembering these movement patterns.
For example sometimes a horse may seem to behave erratically, or always struggle to turn one way or the other, the reason for this could be the constant uneven pressure of the rider's weight distribution through the saddle.
In our previous article we briefly looked at some of the extrinsic factors that may cause a pelvic rotation for riders, and in the future we will focus on some of the more specific issues and potential strategies to prevent these from happening. As a rider your body and its dysfunctions can play a huge factor in terms of your overall riding performance and your horse's health and well being
Chris Kitson - I don't just guess, I assess Dip ITS, MBCA
Specialist Biomechanics Coach
Sports Massage Therapist