Do you think about the position of your head much when you ride?
I have a little per hate of the amount of riders I see looking down, although it’s slightly hypocritical as I have a tendency to cock my head to one side-it’s my concentrating pose!
However your head has a huge impact on both your own posture and therefore performance and wellbeing. Your head can weight around 4.5-5kg, add to that your hat and you’re probably looking at 6kg-that’s just shy of 1 stone!
If you are looking down you are transferring that weight to your horse, which often has the effect of pushing your horse onto the forehand. If it’s tipped to the side you are unbalancing your horse on that side.
In terms of your riding this is an important point to take notice of.
With regards to your own bodies overall performance and wellbeing this puts a lot of tension on your neck and upper back. As I have mentioned before, being out of neutral alignment does not allow your body the best chance of absorbing the movement of the horse underneath you. This puts extra strain on the joints and muscles surrounding the neck as they take the load instead.
I use a technique that has foundations in both my Equipilates™ training and the Franklin method.
Take your fingers to the base of your skull and find the two indents either side of your spine. You should feel a little dip and also the neck muscles –which may feel quite hard if they are tense.
This area is the equivalent of your horses’ poll. Now keeping a little pressure on those muscles begin to flex your poll (tilt your head forward) and then extend your poll (tilt your head back) Think Rolkur to Nose in the air! Just do this gently and slowly several times, you should start to feel the muscles relax. Once you stop you should feel like you have re set your head directly on top of your spine-Magic! Now remember this feeling and try to maintain it as you ride-I know if you have a concentration tilt like me this is super tough!