Have you experienced any difficulties with your turns and circles?  I have because years of bending over a computer has left me with a tendency to round my shoulders and a fractured left clavicle (the horse rider’s injury) which did not heal well, means I am unable to keep a correct alignment of my body without me actually thinking about it!

I was told that now I have decided to do something about it, I am a recovering slumper! which appeals to my sense of drama about the whole thing.  I was also told that I need to think about fixing myself off the horse, because that is where the damage has been done.

Well I concur with this in relation to bending over a computer but I was riding when the I broke my clavicle.  However, this is still true, I suppose – this damage was also done off the horse – given that it occurred as I hit the ground having been unceremoniously dismounted.  lol!

I digress … a very simple ‘off the horse’ shoulder alignment self-check is to stand in front of a mirror in your most natural and comfortable position. Look at your hands:

  • Can you see one thumb and the index finger?
  • Can you see more?
  • Can you see the thumb, 1st Finger and 2nd Finger?
  • Can you see the back of the hand?
  • Do your arms rest in front of your body?

If you can see more than the thumb and first finger or if your arms rest in front of your body, you will have an internal shoulder rotation which is typically described as rounded shoulders and this will, without doubt, be affecting your riding position.

Shoulder StretchAn easy fix is to face your palms up (thumbs facing rearward) and move your arms back to behind your seat. Do this all day, no one will notice.  It helps with shoulder posture.


Another issue for rounding is core strength.  An exercise that is also unnoticed throughout the day is to open your diaphragm space. If you lift the lower rib cage to allow your diaphragm room to expand you cannot slump, another bonus is your head can not look down without effort.  This one will cause exhaustion so practice whenever you walk and sit.


Wish it were as easy as someone prodding a finger between your shoulder blades ….

… but as with everything worth doing, you need to work a little harder.

Have a go and good luck with it.  I’m breathing deeply as I type!

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster



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