Basic Horsemanship : Rider Position on a Horse

October 8, 2019

We’re about to start a basic horsemanship
session and we’re going to identify those things, within the rider and the horse partnership,
that will bring us to our best outcome. When we begin to work with our horse, we want to
think of it, in as simple as terms as possible. We’re going to look at two basic lines, that
help keep us in balance with the horse and help us to go towards, what we call development
of our seat and our leg, that’s so important in the skill of horseback riding. My rider
here is going to sit up tall, good posture, high up out of her seat bones, as she creates
then a nice straight line from her ear, to her shoulder, her hip, to her heel. We want
to have the leg relaxed naturally at our side, with the balls of our feet only, in the stirrups
and the heels go down because we flex our ankle. We don’t want to have kind of a stiffness
through that leg position. We want to have our tone, from the knee up, as that, which
helps secure us, so that our seat and our hips can follow the movement of this horse.
We want to reserve everything from our knee down. Our calf muscle, through and into our
heel, for the communication of the horse because, although we may not think of ourselves as
horse trainers when we embark in this sport, any time we’re on a horse, we are training.
So we want to do our best to communicate effectively, which comes very much from that position,
where our knee down, is reserved for that communication. Our other straight line is
going to be from our elbow all the way on through to the horse’s mouth. We want to hold
our reins. We’re choosing to use a two handed method today. In Western riding, we train
and school our horses, most often, in two handed riding. Some of the sports go on to
continue with that, barrel racing, team pinning, ranch sorting, junior horse classes in Western
pleasure or other breed shows but once the horse reaches five years old, in a lot of
competitions, we would go to a one handed method, as well as, in cutting and reining.
Today we’re going to look at the straight line that comes from the two handed method.
Knowing that we want to communicate all the way through that straight line, holding our
reins correctly, thumbs on top, hands in, what we call a mirror image, so that we can
create that fine tone and articulation that comes from that position. With all these things
together, this rider’s ready to go on out and begin her performance.

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