Let’s face it, excellent posture, balance and freedom of movement (with control) is tough enough when we are stood on our own 2 feet. Add at least half a tonne of living, breathing, moving animal to the challenge and it isn’t surprising that most of us feel we could do better!
Horses are amazing sensitive creatures and teach us so much. From the way we approach them in the field, to how we sit in the saddle, they are more aware of our body language and physical communication than we are ourselves.
We train our horses for a response to our slightest movements, a tiny shift in weight, yet often as riders we are rarely fully aware of all our movements or the positioning of our body.
Similarly our horses face their own challenges with balance and movement, just as they get it sorted for themselves they have to deal with the addition of weight on their back and whole new centre of gravity. Every horse and rider combination presents a new set of specific challenges.
None of us are totally symmetrical - we have a dominant hand (and dominant foot) and this means that pretty much every task we complete in life will be asymmetrical. This is not our fault!! But it is important to be aware of our bodies imbalances and to work on improving them.
How can we expect our horses to be balanced, supple and ‘straight’ if we are not striving for the same ourselves?
To maintain stability on a moving animal requires core strength, a strength without ‘bracing’. An ability to absorb and facilitate their movement. Indeed our horses require core strength also - to move and maintain balance and self carriage without ‘brace’ or tension.
Our main aim as riders, must surely be, to make what ever it is we are asking our equine friend to do, as easy and as clear as possible. To achieve this we need excellent awareness, control and essentially a body that is unrestricted.
Not only will Pilates help you to achieve a harmonious partnership with your horse, it massively helps to improve your “stickability”! (see below).
Current steed - far from perfect but at least 2 feet on the ground.
Not a required movement.