How to ride a horse #1 – posture and position

posture is a very important factor in how to ride a horseIn this little mini series I’m going to try and pass on some of our Nottinghamshire riding school’s instructors expert advice. In this lesson we’ll be discussing posture and pressure, but what this really boils down to is not to small p’s, but one big A -

Attitude – one of the secrets of learning horse riding

Have you every done one of those exercises where you make yourself laugh? No matter how you are really feeling, by forcing yourself to laugh, even though it’s only pretend, your body reacts in the same way as if you really are laughing, and releases endorphins and hormones that make you feel happy. Likewise if you pretend to cry, your body reacts as if you really are crying and makes you feel sad.

Well, so it is with horses, it seems. How to ride a horse is really how to be in charge of a horse mentally. As the riders were going through their paces in the beautiful Nottinghamshire sunshine this weekend they were being schooled on first, how to hold themselves. You see, even though you’re sitting on a thick saddle way behind the horse’s head, they can sense intuitively your attitude. By adopting the correct posture you fool yourself into adopting the correct attitude. We got the posture right by:

  • Sit up straight, balancing an imaginary hamster on our heads
  • Hide your bum
  • Bazookas up
  • Minimal hand movements – by holding reigns correctly (more on this in later posts)

So there we are, we’re sitting correctly and all of a sudden the horses we are riding realise we know what we are doing and start to respond quicker to instructions. It really works – try it!

How to ride a horse – pressure not pain

Of course now we’re sitting correctly and the thinks we know what we are doing(!)we come to the other matter- does the horse care? What I mean by this is although the erstwhile beast gives us a little grudging respect, it can still choose to ignore our commands unless we ask correctly.

Here at the Sherwood Riding School in Nottinghamshire when we speak to our horses through our bodies commands, we apply the right amount of pressure to get the correct response. The important part of that phrase is ‘pressure’. There’s no kick, only more pressure if there is no response. And if the horse we are riding applies pressure back then we respond in kind. We don’t give in to either the horse or violence. This way the creature knows that we mean business and that responding to commands is not a punishment – every one is happy.

By adopting these subtle but very important techniques and approaches we saw the students at theNottinghamshire riding stables improve in their riding dramatically even within the space of one lesson. I’m sure if you do the same you’ll be doing really great at learning how to ride a horse.

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how to ride a horse - posture and pressure
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A lesson in how the right attitude and approach in learning how to ride a horse can benefit the rider