Riding Discussion Topics

Why do you still have lessons, surely you can ride by now?


My pupils tell me they get asked this question all the time.

My answer is two fold.

First and most importantly it is for the welfare of the horse.  Very few of us naturally sit straight.  Most of us sit off to one side or the other.  Most of us have more weight down one or other rein (and then blame the horse for being one sided!).  It isn’t until someone else, usually our trainer, points out what we are doing that we become aware and can start to correct things.  So even if we have no competitive aspirations, we should have regular sessions with a trainer, be it once a week, once a fortnight or even five or six times a year to ensure we sit in a way that allows our horse to do his job and prevents us developing bad habits that cause our horse physical discomfort.  Having said that if we have very sporadic lessons, while a trainer can point out problems and suggest ways to improve it is up to us to apply that knowledge every time we sit in the saddle.  It is the riders responsibility to actually improve our weaknesses, supported by the trainer, but the trainer can’t do it for us!  If we sit crooked hacking out six days a week, a lesson on the seventh won’t cure the problem.  We have to take the knowledge and use it every time we ride.

Secondly, if we compete, eyes on the ground are essential to analyse the things we can’t see.  And that includes just about every thing as we definitely cannot see the horses legs!  The more we focus on the horse and competition movements, the less we are aware of our own body and how that is affecting the horse.

In every sport it is accepted that our world class and Olympic sportsmen will work with a trainer or coach, so it no surprise that riders of all levels feel the need to work with a trainer and long may that continue, for the welfare of the horse.


Wendy Howes                                             November  2017

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