This week I attended The Mary Wanless Ride With Your Mind Demo Day. If you are not familiar with Marys’ work she places great emphasis on rider biomechanics and how we as riders can affect our horses’ way of going. She was years ahead of her time!
One of the things Mary spoke about was the power of a handshake. You know how particularly in Corporate Settings your handshake will give the other person clues about your personality, well every time we get on our horse we give him our own hand shake…………..except it’s a “Bum Shake”.
When you are in the saddle your horse is learning important things about you.
Do you sit heavy or very light?
Are you sat equally on both seat bones?
Do you follow his movement quietly, slide around in the saddle or are you merely perched on top?
Do you sit up near his withers, or back towards his quarters or in the middle?
He is noticing these things and in turn they will affect his way of going for you.
Try to imagine (or actually doing this is really powerful) you are walking carrying a rucksack.
- The rucksack is very heavy-how does your walk alter to deal with this? Do you lean forward and pull from your shoulders (or perhaps I should say do you go on your forehand…..)
- The rucksack is very light-how do you walk now? More briskly perhaps-maybe you break into a little jog?
- The rucksack has a shorter strap on one side so it is pulling one way-how do you walk now? Do you have to alter your posture to try and counteract this? Or maybe you start to drift as you walk?
- The rucksack is moving around quite a lot-how does that feel? The rucksack is very light and very still-can you still feel it there, are you still noticing its presence?
- The rucksack is sat very high up on your shoulders-how does it feel? The rucksack is down on the top of your bum-how does that feel?
You are your horses’ rucksack. Except in your horses case the rucksack also has limbs attached that wrap around his middle and attach to his head so he can feel every breath.
Next time you ride your horse think about the bum shake greeting you give him and then ask what kind of rucksack you would be?
If you aren’t convinced you are good load to carry it might be time to do some schooling on yourself.