There are 5 major equitation positional corrections that instructors usually make. They are:
- Heels down – When looking at a rider in profile, the heel should be the lowest part of the foot. This is to engage your calf against the horse’s side as the primary source of getting the horse going. If you have to raise your heel up to get the horse to engage and move forward then your horse is not going forward properly.
photo credit: andreavallejos
- Eyes Up/Head up - Holding your head up and eyes looking forward puts your entire body in the action and part of the riding process. If you drop your eyes down, your head, shoulders and upper body drops down as well. This simple act will destroy an otherwise lovely position and put your horse onto the forehand.
- Elbows bent- Keeping your elbows bent will permit a straight connection from your body to the horse’s mouth. Riding from your elbows permits you to ride from your core and keeps your hands and arms relaxed and in connection with your
photo credit: GollyGforce (swamped season at work)
horse. Mistakes to watch for are:
- straight arms right from the shoulder with out any bend in the elbow
- broken wrists
- flat hands – hands should be almost vertical with palms facing each other and hands a mirror image of each other
- Stiff had hands
- Shoulders back – Keeping your shoulders back helps to keep riders in balance. It is important to keep your shoulders level. Slouching through you rib cage will cause your shoulders to become unlevel. To prevent yourself from slouching, think of the distance from the bottom of your right rib cage to the top of your right hip as the same length as the bottom of your left rib cage to the top of your left hip. Make these distances the same and your shoulders will be level.
- Legs on – This does not mean squeeze the horse as hard as possible. It means keeping your legs relaxed against your horse’s sides so you can have your leg ready and available to give your horse a cue. Unnecessary gripping will result in a tense rider and a horse which becomes dead to the leg.
While riding if you keep these 5 tips in mind your equitation skills will sure to improve!
What is one correction that you need help with? Let us know and we can get some exercises for you.