The Biomechanics Of Balance In Dressage
Being a good dressage rider requires an incredibly unique combination of the right sort of strength and lightness. It requires balance and alignment while at the same time flexibility within the normal functions of the human body. It needs the ability to be able to absorb the horse’s movement correctly and allow the horse to shine beneath us.
It’s not about being incredibly strong or being able to balance on a tightrope. It is about being balanced and aligned within our own bodies so that we don’t block the horse below us. So that our tightnesses and weak areas aren’t inhibiting our ability to train our horse and give it clear aids. We need to have proper flexibility and mobility within our hips, back and pelvis to be able to shock absorb the horse’s movement and remain balanced upon the horse.
You see our bodies are designed to be evenly balanced on the left and the right, but it is our day to day habits and environment that we put our body into over the years that create certain areas in our body to become tight and restricted. This can be simply shown through putting to much weight into one sit bone in the saddle through to collapsing through the ribs on the opposite side.
Any restrictions within our body and in particular our bodies pelvic function can affect the efficiency of your bodies core control and therefore your ability to balance within the saddle. This can then be highlighted once you are truly asking the body to absorb the horses movement efficiently in sitting trot.
So we need to create optimal balance within our bodies to be able to develop more core stability and control. So the key is develop practices and habits within your day to day life that improve alignment, flexibility and strength. You need to install habits that enhance the building blocks of good basic function and to develop proper strength around them. Optimizing the normal function of the human body instead of inhibiting it.
Start to pay attention to the positions you put your body into each and every day. Do you sit at your desk square, can you stand more, be aware of how you sit when you drive. Imbalances, flexibility issues and range of motion around normal hip motion can block the horses movement. When we sit all day we only encourage this behavior more. So look at ways to break up your sitting, can you spend 50% of your day standing or moving.
Look at ways to bring more mobility and flexibility into the body to help encourage normal range of motion. Its not that we need to be super flexible as riders, or be able to run marathons its just that you need to have healthy functioning evenly balanced hips with normal range of motion and a good level of fitness. So this requires some time put aside to care for your body off your horse.
Try out this simple yoga routine here and bring some more mobility and balance back into your body.
Learn more about how you can balance your body, improve your core strength and take your dressage riding to a new level with our dressage rider training program. Learn more here.