Improving your posture off your horse has the potential to dramatically improve your dressage riding and your connection with your horse.
As I’ve previously explained, good posture is not just about creating a pretty picture when you’re riding. It’s about nurturing your alignment so your body can work efficiently while absorbing the movement of your horse.
As riders, we tend to focus on improving our alignment and neutral spine while in the saddle, but it’s important to work on correcting our posture off the horse too. If we correct poor alignment in our everyday lives, when it comes time to get onto the horse, keeping a good posture will come naturally.
Understanding your environment
The first thing to think about when improving your posture off the horse, is to think about how you spend most your day. Are you an office worker and sit behind a desk for long hours? Do you spend most of the day on your feet moving or standing still in the one position? Perhaps you drive for a living or maybe you’re riding a lot of the time.
Understanding the environment you’re living in most of the time is the first place to understanding how you can correct your posture. This is because it gives you valuable insights into how you move, and what areas are tight or are showing restricted movement. It’s your environment that is influencing changes in your body.
If you’re someone who is sitting in a desk chair for long periods of time, you’ll notice your hip flexors can get quite tight or that your posture hunches as you bend over to work on a laptop. Likewise, if you’re are standing and leaning over something or moving the majority of time to one side, your body’s natural alignment will be compromised leading to poor posture.
Improving your posture in your everyday
In most cases, we can’t change our environment, but there are modifications you can make to improve your posture and alignment.
Think about when you’re sitting in a desk chair. What things can you do to correct your alignment? Can you shuffle your bottom to the edge of the desk chair so that you can set up your neutral spine and remain there?
When you’re in a standing position, consciously put your body into that neutral spine position – the posture that you’re trying to achieve when you’re riding.
When we’re riding, we want to have that good stable, neutral spine. We want to be in the saddle with good posture, shoulders back, a smile across the collar bones and with a good stable pelvis, riding with our core switched on.
This is what you want to be trying to achieve in your everyday environment so that when you get on your horse, it is second nature to you. That’s one less thing to have to think about what you’re riding!
Improving your rider fitness, strength and balance will not only enhance your riding, it will also keep you riding for longer. For more exercises, stretches and workouts to take your riding to the next level check out our dressage rider training online program. These specific dressage exercises are designed to help you take your dressage to a new level.