Do you get yelled at to “sit up straight” but can’t seem to maintain your position? Do you have difficulty keeping your head up? Do you have discomfort in your upper back after riding? Do your shoulders round when you are not paying attention? To solve these problems pay attention to your rib cage, not your shoulders.
Do you pull on your horse’s mouth even though you know you shouldn’t? Does your instructor tell you to “give to your horse” all the time? Do you try to throw away the reins after you have used them in an attempt to stop yourself from pulling?
Do you feel one seat bone more than the other? Do slide off one side of your saddle? Does one leg always stick out more forward than the other one? Does your horse always drift or bulge in one direction but not the other? The answer may be that you aren’t sitting level in your saddle. Here’s a quick tip to help you level your seat.
When you ride in a forward position do you feel like you are falling forward? Does your horse speed up or slow down? Does your horse have trouble going up hill? Does he stop at a cross-rail or log on the ground when you attempt to take your weight off his back? The answer may be that you are not folding at your hips when you incline your body forward into your light or jumping seat. Here’s a quick tip to improve your balance and your horse’s performance when you are forward in the saddle.
Do you ever find yourself scrambling to shorten your reins? Does your horse throw his head up as a result? Do you pitch forward when you shorten the reins? Or maybe the only way you know how to shorten them is what I call the ‘creepy crawly’ method. Here is a three-step process to shortening your reins quickly, efficiently and without pulling on your horse’s mouth.
Do your feet curl in the stirrups? Do you have trouble keeping them flat on the stirrup tread? Do you feel unstable through your legs and feet? Do you have ankle and foot pain during or after your ride? Does your boot jam against the outside branch of the stirrup in an attempt to find support? Whether you ride Western or English, the answer to these problems may be your saddle or your conformation. Here’s a quick tip on how to check if either of these are the cause of your foot issues and what you can do solve it.