Horse Rider’s Mechanic – Your Center (Centre) of Gravity
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Horse Rider’s Mechanic – Your Center (Centre) of Gravity

October 21, 2019


The subject of rider biomechanics focuses on the rider in detail. A rider wants their horse to be ‘straight’, ‘supple’,
‘balanced’ etc. but a horse cannot be any of these if their rider is hindering rather than helping them due to their own position and balance problems. Please be sure to give this video the thumbs up and if you would like to become a better rider make sure you subscribe to this channel, and hit the bell to be notified when a new video becomes available every week! This video is about why you need to get in
touch with your inner centre of gravity! Both yourself and your horse have what is
called a centre of gravity (CoG). The CoG of an average human is around their navel. This means that if you were made of cardboard and someone stuck a pin in you at that point they would be able to spin you around easily! It is the centre of your weight mass if you
like. Your CoG differs slightly depending on your body type, so a typically shaped female with hips wider than her shoulders will naturally have a LOW CoG – which is a plus point. If she also has a large chest then that negates some of the benefit. A typically shaped male with shoulders wider than his hips will naturally have a higher CoG (which is a disadvantage). So, to have a lower CoG is better. Your horse’s CoG is underneath where you sit. It used to be thought that the CoG of a horse was lower and further forward than it actually is. The picture shows a more accurate approximation of a horse’s CoG. Again, a horse’s CoG differs depending on
their conformation (body type), so a Quarter Horse, that is typically lower in the wither
(or ‘built downhill’), will naturally have a CoG that is slightly forward of this
point and a dressage bred Warmblood, that is typically higher in the wither (or ‘built
uphill’), will naturally have a CoG that is slightly further back. Training will alter the CoG of a horse to
some extent if that training changes the horse’s balance. So a horse that starts out ‘downhill’ (with a CoG that is forward) will end up more ‘uphill’ (with a CoG that is further back). For most riding disciplines (other than some of the Western disciplines such as ‘cutting’), it is better for a horse to have a CoG that
is further back, which means that the horse will be reducing the weight carried on the
front end (the forehand) and increasing the weight carried on the hind end (the hindquarters). If you have ever ridden a horse that has a
wonderful canter, a canter that felt ‘light’ and ‘balanced’, that would have been because the horse was NOT ‘on the forehand’ but instead was able to engage and use his or her hind end properly, something a horse can only do when they have learned to carry a rider and themselves properly. A horse is already able to carry themselves properly of course, before a rider gets on their back, but they have to learn how to
do that when they have a rider on board. That is what good horse and rider training is all about. Back to the rider – good rider training teaches the rider to keep their CoG LOW and as CLOSE to the CoG of their horse as possible.
So a rider needs to: Sit in the correct part of the saddle – in
the lowest part – not tip forwards, which puts too much weight on the horse’s forehand and makes it even more difficult for the horse to carry themselves (and their rider) properly, and not sit towards the back, which puts too much weight on the weakest part of the horse’s back. Keep their weight LOW and learn how to distribute their weight properly between their seat and their feet, in this way a rider ends up surrounding the CoG of their horse. A rider who can do this is far more secure
and far easier for their horse to carry than a rider who cannot. This does not mean however that you should be clinging to your horse with your legs wrapped around them, far from it, it is balance that keeps you on your horse, not grip. Surrounding the CoG of your horse is also
by far the most comfortable (and safest) place to be. Think about how it feels to sit at
the back of a bus (well away from the CoG of the vehicle) and how much bouncier it is, than if you sit in the middle of the vehicle (between the wheels and over the GoG). So next time you ride your horse think about where you are sitting. Are you in the middle of the saddle, upright and balanced, with
your head above your torso, your torso above your hips, with your ankles directly below
your hips in a balanced upright position? If your horse were to disappear ‘in a puff
of smoke’ would you land on your feet with your knees slightly bent (correct) or would
you fall on your face or on your backside (incorrect)? Remember, if you are leaning forwards or backwards you are not correctly balanced. You will be more difficult for your horse to carry and
you will be using unnecessary energy in order to ride. This means that you will tire more
quickly and you will become even more difficult for your horse to carry! A downward spiral
of events… Unfortunately you cannot always tell by feel alone whether you are sitting upright – so ask an assistant or your instructor to tell
you what they see. Failing that, ask someone to take a video of you as you ride and see
for yourself if you are upright. You can send a video or picture of yourself riding to the HRM Facebook page or HRM Facebook group for feedback if you like. The key is to learn how to sit upright and
balanced so that you can ride as effortlessly as possible. You can then continue to improve your riding and help your horse to go as well as possible – an ever-increasing upward spiral of events! By the way – your saddle plays a LARGE part in helping (or hindering) you to sit in the correct position so make sure to look out
for the video on that subject by HRM. Improving your position and your balance are at the heart of The Horse Rider’s Mechanic books and Horse Rider’s Mechanic online course
– why not have a look? You can read the first chapters of each of
these books on the website… see the links below… If you have enjoyed this video please give
it the thumbs up and you would like to learn more about improving your position and balance make sure you subscribe to this channel and hit the bell so that you get a notification
when we release a new video every week. Please share this video with your fellow riding friends and please leave a comment below with what you found interesting.

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  1. Hope you enjoy the video – please subscribe to our channel and hit the bell so that you get a notification every week when a new video is posted, also please leave a comment below 😃

  2. This is really helpful, hopefully will help my posture and keeping my feet in the stirrups! Also a good idea to get someone to film me so I can see what I'm actually doing!!

  3. WATCH THIS! the horse rider's mechanic is full of unique and incredible information. It's like unlocking the secret to the reason why I found certain things difficult to advance to when riding. Thank you.

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