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Riding Fears

Solve Horseback Riding Fears

Sit Centered and Balanced for Effective Horseback Riding
-- article by Jane Savoie

Horseback riding is all about balance and staying centered. You always want to keep your horse in good balance for his stage of training no matter what your discipline.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a dressage rider, a western pleasure rider, a trail rider, or an event rider. Correct balance is essential to effective riding because the center of your balance directly affects your horse’s balance.
Your goal should be to have an independent seat so you can effectively influence your horse as positively and as harmoniously as possible.
In order to have this independent seat, you need to sit in the saddle properly. By that I mean that the both the placement and the position of your pelvis must be correct. This position will, in large part, determine your level of success.
So in your quest for good balance, here’s a great image to help you keep your pelvis in the desired “neutral” position.
Imagine your pelvis is a big bucket filled with water. If you ride with an arched, tense back, the top of your pelvis tips forward, and the water spills out the front of the bucket. In this closed or tipped pelvis position, your seat bones are actually aimed toward the back of the horse.
If you ride with a rounded lower back, the top of your pelvis tips back and the water spills out the back of the bucket. In this position, your seat bones are aimed forward and down, and can sometimes drive the horse’s balance and back downward.
When your pelvis is in a neutral position, you can keep all the water in the bucket. When your pelvis is neutral, your seat bones point straight down toward the ground.
In this neutral position, your body is balanced over your horse’s center of gravity. When you’re in balance with your horse, all things are possible,
So, help your horse find his balance by riding with your pelvis in a neutral position so you can keep all the water in the bucket!

Three Simple Tips to Help You Straighten and Center Your Position on Your Horse
-- article by Jane Savoie

Ask a ground person to stand behind your horse.
1. Is your seat in the center of the dressage saddle so that each seatbone is the same distance from the middle of the saddle?
2. Is the distance between your last rib and your belt equal on both sides?
3. Are your shoulders level (i.e. the same height)?
If your seat isn’t in the middle of the saddle, you’re collapsed at your waist, and your shoulders aren’t level, you’re not balanced correctly.

Here are 3 simple tips to help your riding position to be straight and centered on your horse:
Let’s say you’ve collapsed your left side, your left shoulder is lower, and your seat is off to the right.
1. Bring your right seat bone over and place it on top of an imaginary line that runs down the center of the saddle from the pommel to the cantle.
2. Stretch your left arm straight up so it passes by your ear and your fingers are pointed straight toward the sky.
3. Now to keep your riding position straight, centered, and stretching tall on your horse, pretend you have two sticks of equal length between your last rib and your waistband. If you collapse again, you’ll get jabbed in the ribs by the stick on the left side. And the stick on the right side will end up on the ground.

For more help on your position, follow this link:  www.programyourposition.com

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