The Balanced Rider & Members Drinks, 18th July 2018 Drinks, Riders and Balance; a contradiction? – not at our event! …

Amanda Hall, our physiotherapy expert, focused our minds on the importance of our core muscles and stability, ably assisted by Davina as model.  Abdominal muscles are a key element to the stability of the spine; you can actually feel them when engaged – oblique/ rectus muscles and so forth.  Standing, with weight evenly on both feet, the pelvis can be tilted forwards or backwards or to the neutral position, correct for riding.

“I am a living breathing statue” – Caroline reminded us of the strategy as she delivered the main Rider’s talk.  Nadia modelled on Carol’s lovely horse, “Handsome Jack”, with perfect posture at the outset.  Remember, “The mind should be relaxed but that does not mean the body is all relaxed”.  A relaxed mind is good; for the body we need the correct tone, posture and position – and remember to breath!  Aided by a very long whip as measuring aid, Caroline showed us the angles, ears, hips and heels all in vertical alignment; reins in a straight line with arms from the bit.  When its wrong it all looked so horrible, floppy forward – or hollow back backwards.  Its not just for looks though – the rider needs the correct position to react best to the horse.  We also recognised the feet forwards, leaning back hunting position, to apply the brakes hard!

For jumping the angles change; shorter stirrups, a forward upper body position, bottom pushed out backwards, with strength and stability from the thighs.  The reins have to be shorter – otherwise you cannot steer!  In fast canter, a light forward seat is more comfortable for the horse but of course they may take that as a signal to go faster.

Following on from the Rider’s talk, in perfect posture, was Annettee Wiik, our yoga expert.  She talked to us about mind and body and showed us – focus and control – and balance and posture.  In view of the lovely summer’s evening, Members’ then took the chance to catch up and socialise over a few glasses of wine in the yard.  Many Members continued in our local, the Dog & Fox and our most enthusiastic socialites finished up Hemmingways in to the early hours!