How the rider can affect the horse
In this article we will discuss how our riding affects horses. There are no specific style or ding mentioned here. No matter the discipline riders should do their best on horseback. The more balanced the rider the eaiser the horse can move.
Before we jump into the aspect of the rider’s influence I would like to speak about the straightness of the saddle briefly. I did not include this part in our saddle fitting because the straightness of the saddle may be correct but our riding may influence or the other way around. Basically the seam of the saddle in back should line up with the seam in front. If you run a stick under the saddle, where the spine would go, both seams should touch perfectly to each end of the stick; you can use a string or other methods of checking. The straighter the saddle is the less negative influence on the horse’s spine or back muscles. You don’t want a twisted horse!
When we ride we influence the horse’s balance and movements. It is only fair to the carrier to feel comfortable. A rider leaning to one side or the other, back or forward will influence the horse. The rider should be as straight as possible vertically and horizontally. Vertical riding means to be centered and riding straight up and down with your spine and the rest of the body. Horizontal riding means no slanting or leaning off to the side. A way to picture this is to have a rod going straight up your back and a rod going straight off your shoulders.
By riding in this manner your horse can carry you with more ease and balance. No one side will be over working which leads to stress of the muscles. If you want to experiment with this feel free to use a backpack. Fill it with water bottles or something that can be arranged to change weight distribution. Create even weight through out the pack and walk around with it on your back. You can even get down on all fours to get a more realistic feeling. After you get the feeling for this rearrange the bottles or whatever you want to use to change the weight. You will find that walking up right or on fours is harder because one side is working harder than the other to keep that weight up there. You may also feel less confident in your balance. Remember; always think of your horse. It’s the horse who is working for you. A willing partner is the best partner.