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Your Position

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Your Balance

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Buying a horse property might be one of the most expensive purchases you ever make - so it is vital that you get it right. This book will guide you through the process, wherever you live in the world.

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I wish this book had been out when I bought my first horse property, it would have saved me a lot of anguish. I love the check list and I am using it as we look for our next property. Vicky, Texas, USA

This book has brought up so many points that I just would not have thought about if I had not read it. Thanks a million! Bob, Nottingham, UK

So many great pictures and such a straightforward way of explaining how to work out what is important, and what is not. Kirsty, Geelong, Australia

Our rough itinerary for the next year or so…

Oct 2015 to June 2016

Australia inc. QLD, NSW and VIC (maybe TAS too). Lots of Healthy Land, Healthy Pasture, Healthy Horses talks and some HRM riding clinics scheduled.

June 2016 to Oct 2016

Mainly UK, France and possibly other European destinations.

Oct 2016 to June 2017

Australia

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Learn how to improve your balance so that you feel more secure when riding. This book is the second in this series and it shows you how to increase your balance. It contains 18 lessons for you to follow in your own time.

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What a simple way to improve balance, I now teach this method to all of my students, from beginners to advanced. Fiona, Toronto, Canada

I am now much closer to achieving a truly ‘independent seat’. Feeling secure and confident. Bring on the next book! Megan, Cambridge, UK

This book is very easy to follow and has saved me money. My own instructor is great but she does not cover these fundamental basics. Thank you Jane for making it so easy to improve my riding, Jan. Kent, UK

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Your assistant


Approximately 950 words article


Feedback from someone on the ground is the best way to correct your riding position and balance faults. They can see things that you can only feel, and what you feel is not always correct (sometimes you feel straight when you are not). So there is usually a great benefit to teaming up with another rider (or even asking a non-rider to help), to work through position and balance problems together.

An assistant can help by confirming what you feel. You can describe what you are experiencing and they can describe what they see. This process teaches you to be more aware of what you are feeling.


Ideally you should have reasonably regular lessons (see the article Your coach/trainer/instructor). But many riding coaches do not specialise in this field (this could be because they themselves did not receive instruction that focused on this subject). Therefore you may have a great instructor who coaches you and your horse together and shows you how to train your horse to carry out certain movements for example, but this instructor might not teach the subject of your position and balance. You may feel as if you are not getting any further forward because you have fundamental problems with you as a rider.

By teaming up with another rider you can both gain a lot. Working through position and balance issues together will improve both of your critical analysis skills. You may even find that you have a flair for teaching. By attempting certain position and balance corrections while being ‘taught’ and then, in turn, ‘teaching’ those same positional and balance corrections to your assistant when it is their turn will give you a far greater understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

If you are not able to find another rider who is willing to do this with you then all is not lost! A willing non-riding friend or partner will do if they are prepared to learn how to evaluate you as you ride - you will have to show them what you need from them. If you cannot find anyone to help you, you can recruit a video camera to help you (see below).

What your assistant or ‘eyes on the ground’ can do

Almost anyone can be trained to check your position to make sure you are not riding crooked. They can look at you mounted on your horse, while stationary, from in front and behind (make sure you keep safety in mind if you ask them to stand behind your horse). They should be looking to see if your shoulders and hips are level and if you have equal amounts of your body on both sides of your horse (picture below). They need to check that your feet are level, that your head is straight (i.e. not tipped to one side) and that your back is straight (i.e. your waist is not collapsed to one side).



From the side they can look to see if there is an imaginary straight line from your elbows, through your hands, to your horse’s mouth. They also need to look to see if your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles line up via another imaginary straight line (picture below).



Almost anyone can be trained to take useful photos of you. Ask your assistant to take shots of you mounted while stationary from each side and from in front and behind.

Then they could take photos of you while riding through the various gaits. This will show you what your position and balance looks like when you put it to the test, on a moving horse.

Likewise almost anyone can be trained to take a video of you riding. This is another great way of you being able to watch what happens to your position and balance when riding. Again, ask them to film you both at a standstill and while moving.

By looking at the photos and/or video together afterwards you will both learn more and in particular your assistant will learn how to give you better feedback in the future.

Teaming up with another rider will enable you both the benefit and learn together. You can take it in turns to be the rider or be the observer. Learning to give and receive feedback is a necessary skill if you want to improve your riding.

If you have confidence issues having someone on the ground while you ride can help a lot (see the article Your confidence). Even a friend, partner or family member who is willing to just sit and watch you ride may make you feel more confident. As long as they are not eroding your confidence (by being critical etc.) this is safer than riding alone. Riding alone (although unavoidable for many people) is especially unsafe if you are anything less than confident.

If you have no one to help you may be able to set up a video camera on a tripod to film while you ride. Shoot from various positions around your riding area to check your vertical alignment from each side and from in front and behind. This may take several separate sessions because handling a curious horse and repositioning a camera on a tripod at the same time will be difficult.

Having someone who is prepared to be your assistant will be a big bonus if you plan to work through the lessons in Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 1: Your Position and Horse Rider’s Mechanic Workbook 2: Your Balance (start reading these books now (for free) by clicking the titles above). Your coach (trainer/instructor) may even be prepared to work through the lessons with you and this will in turn give them new skills that they can incorporate into their own teaching repertoire. As many instructors do not focus on rider biomechanics they may be happy to be given the opportunity to expand their knowledge in this area.


We hope this article has been useful to you. If you think it could be added to or improved please let us know (contact us).


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