Lifting the Back

One of things we strive for as riders is getting our horse to engage his hind end and lift through his back.

If you’re on his back it’s your job to make this as easy as possible for him. 

To allow your horse to lift it’s back you need to be off his back. However it’s not really traditional to ride around standing up in your stirrups for the whole session.

That means your seated position needs to be conducive to him being able to do this with your bum in the saddle.

That is why good alignment with all your joints stacked on top of one another -Shoulder-Hip-Heel (It’s technically ankle bone but it’s not as catchy!)

 If  you are in more of a chair position,  your weight is behind your legs where your bum is and therefore all on your horse's back-gravity is not your friend here as it’s literally pulling your weight down onto your horse's back. 

This makes it much harder for him to lift it.

If your joints are neatly stacked, the weight is held more down your thighs and you are supporting your own weight. This gives your horse the freedom to lift his back. 

Once you have mastered this you need to be able to support him at the front end, as very often I see the energy be created in the back but then throw the horse forward onto the forehand at the front.

You also need to be able to support him at the front end. So as you’ve encouraged the lift from the back you need to be able to absorb and maintain that in your core through to your hands. 

I know this sounds like nonsense but I’ll try my best to explain how this is done!

A stable but breathing core, with relaxed but stable hands.

Your hands need to be up and in front of you with enough stability between them and your torso that you can keep that energy up at the front rather  than sending it to the floor-i.e forehand.

If your horse starts to drop his head, don’t be pulled forward with him, stay straight and stable letting him explore the position. If you are stable enough to be there to support him when he get’s there he’ll find the right spot eventually. If you go with him and therefore drop him you’re back on the forehand. 

Energy up from behind and forward through his ears!

Yep I’m still talking in mythic riddles i know! 

Honestly, it is kind of hard to explain as I think you need to be able to feel it so here’s my tips.

  • Good Alignment-Stack your Shoulder, Hip and Ankle Bone in a line.
  • As you work around the arena imagine lifting your horses bum with your bum, like theres a sucker on it. Lift it up!
  • Then send that energy through your middle into your hands-which is why they need to be up and in front of you, not down by his withers. Send that energy forward!
  • Keep breathing throughout, this both stabilises you and stops you becoming tense.

The thing with this sort of stuff is it does work -I promise! However you have to have the body control and stability to be able to hold it, if you don’t have the seat or shoulder stability to hold your position it’s going to be much harder.

If that’s what you’re struggling with that’s where you’ll need to start. 

Work on stabilising your seat -Glutes, Hips, Legs and Core alongside your Back and Shoulders.

This is what we work on in my 121 Training, my classes and Online Programme, so if you want some help I’m sure I’ve got an option to suit you.

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