I do clinics and 121 sessions with riders analysing their position and looking at ways to help them use their bodies more effectively when they ride.
This is great but unfortunately this isn’t always an option for people. However there are still some things you can do to improve your riding without having access to a biomechanics trainer on the ground.
Firstly, video yourself. I do this alot. I just have a fairly cheap tripod for my phone, set it up before I get on, press record and yes I record my whole ride. Then when I’m done I edit it to cut out all the time I’m not in shot to take off irrelevant chunks and then maybe take off any bits I don’t feel need looking at say the first walk around or cool down at the end etc. Then I can go back and look at the bits I’m really interested in. For example what happens during transitions, what am I doing differently when the horse comes into a contact-did I change something when I lost it?
I find this really useful to do on my own and once you’ve got the hang of video editing-(I use iMovie) it doesn’t take that long.
Have a friend watch you. I also do this alot. They don’t have to be an instructor they just have to “say what they see”.
Perhaps ask them for feedback on things like.
Am I sat straight in the saddle?
Are my Shoulders, Hips and Heels in Alignment?
When my horse does x what am I doing?
This can be really useful as often something seemingly inconsequential can have a huge impact. For example I was watching my friend ride and her horse can throw her head around and become very strong in the Canter. I said “Do you know that you lift your outside hand up when you go into Canter usually just before she throws her head?” She tries again and keeps both hands down…….yep head flinging stopped! This was just an observation, I didn’t give her any great riding wisdom I just told her what I could see happening.
The same then happens for me and those bug bear Canter transitions. My friend “do you know your heels are by his hips and your leaning forward?”......No but now you mention it perhaps that’s where I was going wrong-yes that was were I was going wrong!
You can ask a friend to take pictures of you sat normally from the front, back and side and have a look at them later. The same with a video, ask someone to video you doing the thing you struggle with and when you watch it back don’t focus on what your horse is doing look at what you’re doing.
Ask yourself whether you are balanced & symmetrical or are there areas for improvement.
You only have to address the basics however quite often it’s the basics that are missing that is creating the problem.