“Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it” – Confucius
Chapter 7 takes you through a top to toe analysis of you as a rider, looking at:
- Head and Neck
- Arms and Shoulders
- Hands and Wrists
- Pelvis and Hips
- Open Your Hips
- Align The Hips
- The Psoas Muscles
- Seat Bones and Neutral Spine
- Upper Thigh
- Calf and Ankles
Here are a few extracts and tips to give you a flavour of what you can expect.
“… Of course, being an athlete is not just about fitness, the elegant, calm and quiet position we all aspire to have is beautiful, aesthetically and functionally. For me the very essence of why it is so beautiful is because of effectiveness. There are riders who look pretty, but do not communicate with their horse; there are riders who believe themselves to be effective but will also admit to ‘a few positional faults’. I do not hold with either of these schools of thought. I want to be able to influence my horse with my riding whilst having a correct seat. This for me is where the beauty is. “
“… To begin the process of examining your own body and ability to sit correctly, you need to grasp one essential ethos; whether you are training at the very highest level or a beginner in the sport ask yourself ‘is it me or is it my horse?’ This basic question never goes away, even for the most experienced rider. To answer this ever present question you should automatically run through a check list related to your basic position. The majority of problems rider’s face when working their horses (hollowing, rushing, lack of forward urge, no bend, over bent, crookedness etc) can usually be traced to the rider’s incorrect position. So for example, a faulty contact will be the result of a lack of co-ordination and it will be a positional fault that won’t allow correct co-ordination.”“… There can be no rider on the planet that is not aware of the ear, shoulder, hip, and heel alignment requirement (except maybe complete beginners) and in my research I have found that there is no credible system of riding that does not advocate that this is necessary. I am not about to say anything different. It is essential, full stop. My only observation is that whilst every system, method and trainer recognises its importance, very few do what is needed to realistically help a rider achieve this ultimate position or set it as a critical goal in their technique. This is evident from the riding I see at lower level dressage events. They should, it is one of the single decisive elements to becoming a skilful rider and is the first and foremost task you should focus on.
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster