Whatever your discipline, how you position a horse’s body makes all the difference so it is of paramount importance that you understand the demands and needs of the discipline you are riding. Positioning a horse’s body for barrel racing, for example, is very different than getting your horse correct for Trail, Western Riding or Reining.
But…… it’s not my intent here to explain or go into the details
regarding the needs of each of the aforementioned disciplines but rather I want
to discuss how the rider influences the body position of the horse.
I’ll give you one clue to where I’m heading with this: you must have your own body correct or
nothing else can be correct. In short,
nothing really works correctly until you do.
Typically for most disciplines correct for you will mean: well balanced,
heels deep, straight and square through your rib cage and shoulders and never stiff
or arched in your back – remember sit up straight with your stomach muscles and
hold up your chest and your back will follow without becoming hollow or arched). If you are not sitting correctly you can interfere
with your horse and in no way are you be able to help put the horse in the
proper position that he needs to be to work his best.
Hand position is very important as well. So often, I see horses dropping their
shoulder because they’re “just following” the rider’s poorly placed hand. You must be able to activate the correct rein
and relax the opposite one when needed to allow a horse to have space to move while
you still remain even and balanced.
The position of the rider’s legs is also so important. I see riders attempting to collect their
horses yet their own legs are way out in front, or they just have what I call “noisy”
legs, meaning legs that are just not stable so they cause annoyance and possibly
even confusion for the horse and an unstable seat for the rider.
In horses as in everything else, there is a direct
relationship between cause and effect!
All horsemen must be effective and stable riders and to achieve this
they must be aware of their own bodies and body parts and how those parts can
positively or negatively affect their horse’s ability to perform well. Now that I have you thinking about
positioning, we’ll talk more about this at a later date! Talk to you next week, JD