202 4 – H H o r s e P r o j e c t M a n u a l – Riding Body Position No matter what your style of riding is, having a good balanced position is important.
Your body position affects how your horse moves.
In the basic seat position, you sit erect, deep in the saddle with your body balanced and relaxed.
Sit “tall in the saddle”, don’t slump, but don’t be stiff either.
If you are stiff, you can’t flow with the movement of your horse and you will always be half a beat behind.
Note the line (on the graphic) from the ear to point of shoulder to the hip to heel.
Your leg should maintain (resting gently on the horse’s side) light contact with the horse’s body through your inside thigh and upper half of your calf.
Your foot should be at the same angle as your knee and the angle of the knee is determined by the size of the horse’s barrel.
The ball of your foot should be in the stirrup and your heel should be lower than your toe to allow more flexibility in your ankle.
Your hand and arms should be relaxed and supple with your elbows in close to your body.
You should hold your reins just above and in front of the saddle horn or pommel.
An imaginary line should run through the center of the back of your head, between your shoulder blades and down the center of your back to the horse’s spine.
If you allow yourself to become uneven anywhere, the horse will be forced to become uneven to compensate for you and he will not be able to work to his best ability.
Most positional problems have their beginnings with bad habits.
Develop the following good habits and you will ride with good position. Sit in the saddle with equal weight on both pelvic bones, Supported by your pubic bone, the triangle is the central point for the riders balance and influence.
Sit on the vertical with your head directly above your spine.
Sit so that a perpendicular line would join the tip of your knee to the tip of your toe. Head You should be looking ahead and watching where you are going.
Your head should be square with your shoulders and not tilted.
Keep a “chin-up” position, or your entire body will tilt forward and pull the weight out of your heels.
The weight of your head is noticeable to the horse and your horse will usually go in the direction you are looking.
For example, you can ride in a circle with minimal leg or rein pressure, by just looking to the center of the circle.
If checking diagonals and leads be careful not to lean your head as the extra weight shift may unbalance your horse. Which rider and horse looks more comfortable and desirable? Riding 203 4 – H H o r s e P r o j e c t M a n u a l – Riding Shoulders As you sit in the saddle your shoulders should be level.
Shoulders that are not level are a sign that you may have your weight shifted.
This makes the horse lean in the same direction.
Loping/cantering in small circles will cause you to want to drop one shoulder so pay careful attention to keeping them even. Back Your back should be straight but not rigid. Stomach — place more weight in inside (right) stirrup but do not lean ask lightly and open, or draw back the inside rein (if two handed) otherwise lay neck rein against neck when riding with two hands, turn your head, then your shoulders, then your hips in direction of turn (this allows the outside rein to soften as horse’s head moves in direction of turn) if neck reining, the rider’s slight weight shift to the inside when the rider looks in that direction will aid the horse in turning.
Remember the rider should be able to see some of the horse’s eye on the side he is turning to as the neck rein is applied as horse steps around, lightly bump at the girth with your outside leg if you want the horse to turn around more tightly on the forehand inside leg controls amount of impulsion (go) a horse has and the bend of his ribcage For left turn apply opposite aids.
Use pressure and release with all aids to reward horse for correct response. 214 4 – H H o r s e P r o j e c t M a n u a l – Riding Which Rein Are You On? Riders being instructed, will usually be riding in a circle around an instructor.
The hand and leg on the inside of the circle (nearest the instructor), are referred to as the inside hand and leg.
The hand and leg on the outside of the circle are known as the outside hand and leg.
When the inside hand is your left hand (you are going anti-clockwise), you are on the left rein.
If you are told to change the rein, this means you turn the horse and circle in the opposite direction.
The inside hand is now your right hand, which means you are now riding on the right rein. Riding A Circle A circle is a continuous bend around at least four points.
A circle begins and ends at the same point and the rider should see the same amount of the horse’s inside eye all the way around the circle.
As you start to move around the arc of the circle, you want your horse to follow his nose and look where he is going.
Ride with a rein in each hand and using your inside rein, slightly tip his nose into the arc of the circle, so that you just see the corner of his inside eye and his head and neck match the arc of the circle.
You want to move your inside hand a few inches away from the withers (opening the door).
This is using an open rein.
The rider’s inside leg is used on the girth to keep the horse moving forward; the outside leg is used behind the girth to stop his hindquarters swinging too far to the outside of the circle.
Now apply inside leg pressure to arc his spine and rib cage in the same arc as the circle.
You want to slightly push his rib cage to the outside of the circle while keeping his head and neck matching the arc of the circle.The arc of his entire body should match the arc of the circle.
If he doesn’t respond to light inside leg pressure, bump him lightly with your inside leg at the girth until he moves his rib cage to the outside of the circle; then stop bumping with your inside leg as a reward.
Remember to keep your horse’s shoulder up.
You want your horse to stay upright so he learns to move balanced and collected.
To keep his inside shoulder up, lift your inside rein slightly above his mane.
The rider’s focus should be 1/4 of circle ahead of where they are. Circle to the Right 1. 2. 3. 4. Circle to the Left 5. 6. 7.
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