Using your seat for effective communication
In order to communicate successfully with a horse you need to be able to consciously control and co-ordinate your body. Without having control over you own body you have very little chance of successfully training a horse or developing your “feel”. This “feel” refers to being unconsciously able to “read” horses correctly, and to “feel” or sense and predict their responses and reactions accurately.
“Body control ” relies on balance, and balance relies on being supple and relaxed which provides the foundation on which every horse’s performance is based. An independent seat is one of the most basic principles on which “feel” and good riding is based and this relies on your “core” which is a combination of your seat, pelvis and stomach. Your “core” forms your “anchor” which keeps your seat stable in the saddle, whilst your upper body, hands, and lower leg remain as still and relaxed as possible, yet importantly, able to operate independently from your “core”.
A stable core is achieved and developed by being able to follow the horses’ movement. In other words, being able to move harmoniously, in a flexible and supple manner with a horse.
A tall, straight upper body, flexible core area, deep seat, long legs and flexible wrists transport the horse’s movement from behind to the rider’s hands and support the development of collection and extensions (an incorrect hand position i.e. stiff hands, unsteady hands, or hands which hang on the horse’s mouth, prevent the impulsion and energy from the hind legs to move “through” the horse’s body)
A rider with a correct seat looks as if he is standing on the ground with his legs slightly apart, bent at the knees.
It is essential to realise that your body is the tool with which you communicate to your horse, not only what you want him to do (i.e. movements) but also how to be more supple, round or produce more impulsion, which enable them to perform the movements more correctly and with greater ease.
Watch this space for further articles on developing core muscle strength towards an independent seat!