DbarH Equine Training. Natural Horsemanship.
Medicine Lodge Valley, Dillon, Montana

Undersaddle Rider Help

Part 1 of 3 

Red symbolizes the riders position
Green denotes the would be change to be in balance
White dots are areas which are focus points or joints

  1. Beings as this photo was taken as Nichole and her horse were moving away from the camera the angle is not the same as the straight line at the bottom of the photo.  The white line shows what the angle of the horse is in order to grasp the way of travel.

  2. The first thing to be worked on is the upper leg. Specifically the rotating of the hip joint inward.  This will in turn adjust the thigh, knee, lower leg and foot. When we look a the photo it is noticed that the leg is lying "flat" and the knee is away from the saddle. When the leg lies in such a position Nichole is not sitting in balance. The energy is flowing out and back instead of forward.  The green line denotes the leg wrapping inward.  Total explanation to the correction of  the leg is found in the  Leg Position  page of Equine Riding Improvement section.

  3. The red line shows where the calf is resting on the horse.  This is also influenced from the thigh.  If the calf was positioned in balance it would have equal touching on the horse front and back thus denoting the green line from center of side knee to the ankle bone.

  4. The most noticeable body part of the out of balance leg is the foot.  The foot is pointed to the outside.  The energy also moves Nichole outward instead of forward.  The green line would denote a foot that is pointed straight ahead or parallel to the horses side.  
    Which will be accomplished when the hip and thigh is rotated inward.  Thus the leg will be shaped to the horses barrel.  Even when we use spurs and rotate the foot to have the neck touch the horse our body shifts weight and balance, which the horse has to also adjust for the humans shifting.  A great spur that makes adjustments to this is the "Le Spur".  The teeth are positioned to the inside of the spur so no rotating of the foot and calf are needed. This also makes the rider aware to have the lower leg (below the knee) released and free from the horses side until the aid is to be given.

  5. The position of the riders arms and hands influence the energy and communication with the horses bit and mouth.  The red line shows that Nichole's elbow to hand is pointed toward the horses leg to the ground.  The green line is clear communication from the elbow to the bit. And the forearm and hand is to not go below this line.  Complete explanation on the Wrist position page of Equine Riding Improvement section.  But the forearm can also be more positioned as if you were holding a platter full of food on the forearm and you can't tip it down. Especially for curb and double bridle use.  

  6. The eyes and head are looking into the ground through the horses ears.  If the eyes do this the rider gets fixed on one line.  When that happens the body in turns stiffens.  The head allows the upper body to draw in or collapse to itself, which the balance is lost.  Nichole needs to "loosen" up the eyes by looking parallel with the ground and then looking around in a relaxed manor. Being aware of all the surroundings. 

  7. I choose the upper body last in this photo because all the above ties in to why the upper body is hunched inwards. Nichole is not straight and tall.  To correct the slouching a rider can not just place the shoulders back.  This would only be a cosmetic fix and would stiffen the body.  To help sit tall Nichole needs to release the muscle contractions in the body or relax with inner awareness.  A rider can mistake sitting tall with trying to over extend or stretch the body to much.  When a rider over stretches the pelvis will tip forward and the back will hollow to much.  To check for a good sitting tall posture the rider may place the back of the hand on the small of the back.  When the curve of the back fits the flat back of the hand that is sitting tall.  When the rider is collapsed the  small of the back will curve out wards like a balloon.  When the back is stretched to much upwards the small of the back try's to not have contact with the back of the hand. The rider will also feel the pelvis tip forward  and the buttocks push backward. To help release muscle tension and become aware from the inside out check out the page Detaching the body from the use of muscle constriction

Continue to the posting trot photo's



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Donna Hildreth 1998 - 2009
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