What on earth is biomechanics and what does it have to do with dressage?
Dressage riders require strength and stamina that is subtle to the unknown eye. Every single movement of a rider affects the way in which a horse carries itself and how it moves. To be great at riding it requires the rider to be in the right position for the horse to express themselves. If you were to get two horses of the same breeding and put a top rider on one and an unfit, unstable rider on the other, the picture would be very different.
You see the top rider has something that the unstable rider doesn’t have and that is not only the skill in training a horse but you will see their posture and the way in which they carry themselves on the horse is quite different. In order for a horse to be able to become elastic, round, expressive, relaxed and forward it needs to be able to move without tension and without stress. As a rider, we want to ensure our riding isn’t negatively affecting the way in which the horse moves. You want your riding to bring out the best in your horse. This all starts with a strong and stable base so that you can positively influence your horse. This comes down to how well you ride, your position, your strength, your seat and your experience.
The way, in which you position your limbs, how stable you are and how you are able to influence your horse is done through the biomechanics of your body.
“Biomechanics in sports, can be stated as the muscular, joint and skeletal actions of the body during the execution of a given task, skill and/or technique. Proper understanding of biomechanics relating to sports skill has the greatest implications on: sport’s performance, rehabilitation and injury prevention, along with sport mastery,” Wikipedia
Every minute movement is happening in your body, now some horses will notice if your off balance while others won’t care so much. Why it matters to you, however, is that you want to keep your joints, muscles, and ligaments in the correct position while the force of the horse moves through you. How well your muscles work in order to keep you balanced and supple, will affect the alignment of those joints and preventing any undue wear and tear. Read my article here on alignment and why it matters.
Dressage riders require a unique amount of strength and suppleness in order to stay in balance and positively affect the horse. Poor biomechanics will create a poor result in the horse and run the risk of pain and injury to the rider. Great biomechanics will create the opposite.
To improve your rider position and balance it makes sense that you would work on yourself as much as you do your horse. So to get started today, be sure to download our free guide and begin to improve your rider stamina, suppleness and stability.