View Full Version : a back question
1st Apr 2002, 08:22 AM
While sat, walking etc... does my back have to be verticle or can it be bent slightly forward? Does my back have to be move forward or more leant back? HELP Any advice to straighten up my back?
1st Apr 2002, 08:25 PM
Generally speaking, your upper body should be nice and vertical. If your body is balanced vertically it's easier to allow your hips and pelvis to swing along with the horse's movement.
Leaning back is not good - it makes you stiff and heavy (the awful "driving" seat that achieves absolutely nothing); there will be times when you need to tilt forward slightly - in rising trot, for example, or going uphill - otherwise, nice and straight.
It's amazing how many people feel they're upright when actually they're leaning one way or the other. It's always useful to get someone else to check for you!
1st Apr 2002, 08:57 PM
When you are standing on the ground and about to move forward, the first part of you to move is your head. So I generally suggest riders be prepared to allow their upper body to go a little forward so they don't get left behind the movement of the horse.
Likewise in trot, if the body is too upright in the sit phase, then the rider will be playing catch-up as they try to swing forward into trot.
Find your balance by practicing standing in the stirrups at walk then trot, with ankles, knees and hip joint acting as shock absorbers.
A good exercise for this is "7s" - rising for seven strides, standing for 7 then sitting for 7 (at trot) Helps to stabilise the lower legs, too.
Another suggestion is to imagine your head like a helium balloon, so it is gently reaching up, this seems to help riders achieve a natural curve in the back without becoming stiff.
1st Apr 2002, 09:57 PM
I'd certainly agree with you about rising trot - trying to stay upright means you're probably going to bump back down in the saddle as you sit and get left behind. However, in walk and canter, where you're sitting in the saddle and not having to make any effort to rise out of it, I'm not sure that the same logic applies as when you're walking. I see what you mean, but walking on your own two feet requires that you create your own impulsion, whereas when riding, the horse creates the impulsion and you just sit quietly and allow yourself to follow. I wouldn't have thought the speed of the pace, even at canter, would create any degree of "drag" that might force you to tilt foward?
Perhaps you use it more as a remedial tip? But even then, isn't there a danger that riders might overdo it?
With regard to the back itself, I like the balloon analogy! I also think of the piece of string drawing me up from the top of the head. Whichever picture you choose, I think you have to allow for your own natural shape to a degree. I used to try not to hollow my back, but as I'm naturally hollow-backed that just made me stiff! Sue sorted that one for me on Heather's Equisimulator!
1st Apr 2002, 11:32 PM
Hi Ros - yes I agree this isn't a precise science and you do have to watch that it isn't taken to extremes. I don't mean LEAN forward, just be prepared to move forward into the horses movement. Riders who are in balance will do this without thinking about it, but beginners often go out the back door at a halt to walk transition, if they are not prepared for it. I have had to work with so many chair seats (hangover from previous instructor!) that I find it useful there, and for little boys especially who sit on their hip pockets!
And yes I agree, canter is a different category, I wish I had a formula (other than an equisimulator) to make it easier for folk. Can't see my RS funding one of those, unfortunately.
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