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A British Dressage Accredited Trainer
Sitting Straight (click on "training tips" above for more)
Do you have problems with your horse not bending well to one side or drifting against your leg, perhaps into a circle? These problems, and many more, can be caused by the rider not sitting straight and even in the saddle. This can be caused by simple things such as your stirrups being different lengths or your saddle having slipped to one side. Alternatively they can be caused by you being crooked in how you sit. None of us are absolutely straight or even on both sides - and neither are our horses. However, we need to identify how crooked we are, and which way and look at ways to make ourselves straighter. You need someone with a good eye to watch you carefully - including from in front and behind - to check for you leaning or collapsing one way or the other. Having a video taken of you while riding can also help. You then need to work out a "feel" which makes you sit straighter; examples of this include - stretch one side, lengthen your waist on one side, push one seat bone more into the saddle, lift your rib-cage on one side, lift one ear, put more weight into one stirrup, make the distance between your head and feet as long as you can, etc etc. Initially you will need to be reminded to refresh this "feel" frequently and the un-nerving thing is that once you are straightened you will probably feel squint! This feeling will gradually disappear as your body learns to hold itself straighter. Lunge lessons are also a good way of working on your position. Straightness is something that we all need to be aware of and get help in sorting, as it can make a huge difference to how your horse goes and how it feels to you.