WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD REMEMBER WHEN TRAINING HORSESAugust 5, 2016
RIDING FORWARDSAugust 30, 2016
THE MYTH OF THIGHS AWAY FROM THE SADDLE
German Cavalry Manual 1937 : "The thigh rests against the saddle; their inner broad surfaces are turn far enough inward to position the knee flat against the saddle....If the thigh is rotated in a way that makes the knee cap point outwards, it results in a hollow or open knee, which does not allow a secure seat"
Thighs away from the saddle, is a concept which I find completely alien to my way of looking at riding. To me it makes no sense in physics, makes no sense to the horse and essentially renders you dependent on the reins for any kind of balance. It also puts all the weight in your seatbones or in the stirrups!
Perhaps it was an overreaction to 'gripping with the knee' which used to be taught a long while back?
The tenets of rider biomechanics, so well elucidated by Mary Wanless BHSI BSc, include the following basic requirements
- The rider should be correctly aligned, should have a neutral spine.
- The rider should be responsible for their own weight in the saddle.
- The rider should provide enough tone to match the forces generated by the horse.
CORRECTING THIGH OUT AND TOE OUT
Now lets imagine taking your thighs away from the saddle, in combination with the other myth of 'Relax'...
WHAT WOULD BE THE CONSEQUENCES?
- All your weight in now down in your seatbones pressing down into the horses back. You are supposed to balance on the single point of your underneath as the horse jumps from one step to the next. This ignores basic physics… it can’t be done, balance or not
- OR Your weight ends up into your stirrups which swings your leg forwards, pushes your seat backwards and upwards, which can then pitch you forwards. Weight in stirrups is the opposite of sitting deep – Newton’s third law of motion.
- Your attempts to ask your horse to be supple and relaxed over the back don’t work because all your weight is down the hollow of the horse back on your seatbones.
- When the horse accelerates forwards, as he jumps from one leg to another, you fall backwards due to the forces and basically have to use the reins to support.
If you have every ridden a powerful athletic horse, with big movement, you soon come to realise that thighs away and no take leaves you at the mercy of wherever your body is thrown about!
Just check out some of our most elite dressage riders, and realise there is not any floppy thighs or floppy riders.
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