5 reasons why the judge and your horse appreciate good equitation. (Part 1)

been more moti- vated in those drills.

sentials of cor- rect

The es- rider

position cross all disciplines, and there’s a great reason behind every essential.

1.Your horse will thank you for going easy on his back. R e -

By Lindsay Grice, Equine Canada coach and judge.

I learned equitation

fundamentals to the repeti- tive tune of “head up, heels down!” trotting around and around the riding school ring. I acquired the “whats” of riding in those early years, but didn’t get good answers to my “whys!” It’s a shame – if I’d grasped the logic and the science behind the skills, and how I’d use them in the future, I’d have

searchers now have cool tech- nology to read

all pressures, bumps and shifts a horse actually feels while being ridden. After studying this, I’m more in- tentional than ever of the signals I’m conveying as I ride.

Dr.Hilary Clayton, re-

searcher in equine and rider bioechanis, says the amount of force we apply to a horse’s back depends on how we ride and what gait we’re riding. For example, peak forces at the trot are twice a rider’s weight, and they increase to 2 ½ or three

times the rider’s weight at the canter. Clayton says. Any

weight on an equine back can cause hollowing, but you can reduce these risks by not overloading the horse, riding with a soft, balanced seat, and sitting closer to the front of the sad- dle.

In addition, Clayton

says novice riders are gener- ally less in sync with the horse than advanced riders and more likely to bump against the saddle.

2. The judge will reward a strong, balanced seat. Aside from a low equi-

tation score, an unbalanced seat leads to “weightier” deductions on the score card as they affecting your horse’s performance – left- behind over jumps, left- be- hind in reining spins or late- behind flying changes. Needless to say, rider flop- piness detracts from “the look” in a rail or flat class.

3. A secure seat keeps a lids on the mixed messages sent to your horse. A strong, stable foun-

dation from which to be pre- cise with your leg and rein aids.

But there’s a balance

between strength and stiff- ness. Many riders try too hard –confusing posing with poise. A rigid or overarched back can’t follow the horse’s movement and ab- sorb shock. The AQHA rulebook for instance,states that a flat, yet relaxed and supple back is to be re- warded. Your seat controls the

length and tempo of the horse’s stride. A seat which flows with the stride is used as an aid to influence the stride, similar to the motion of a playground swing. A locked lower back causes the seat to bounce in the saddle.

4. Your horse will perform better if you ride with a balanced seat Clayton notes that

horses must adapt to the “the unpredictability of the novice rider’s weight shifts.” Dr. Katrina Merkies, from U. of Guelph, observed that rider asymmetry worsens as

a horse’s speed or move- ment increases (goes from walk to trot, for instance). A rider with his ear,

shoulder, hip and heel in a line perpendicular to the ground is in balance and isn’t likely to fall forward or backward. Picture the bal- ance needed to stand in the back of a pickup truck, driven over a bumpy field. It’s common to see riders with their legs too far for- ward. Glance down - you shouldn’t be able to see your toe poking out in front of your knee. Stirrup leathers (or western fenders) should be perpendicular to the ground.

5. Seat exercises are easy to work into your riding time.

In lessons, I give my

students a variety of short drills targeted to any posi- tion problems they may have, working on them in three minute segments, like commercials in between other work we are doing. This avoids muscle fatigue that could lead to sloppy

practice, developing another bad habit en route to cor- recting an existing one. An example: Try switching up posting rhythms. For example, rid- ing five strides in two point, five strides of posting, then five strides of sitting trot. Or instead of conventional posting, try rising up for two beats, touching down in the saddle for only one beat. This takes a lot of concen- tration and upper body con- trol. Core strength will help you to influence and regu- late the rhythm of your horses stride with your hips.

Next issue: why the judge and your horse will appreci- ate your “good hands”! Lindsay Grice Bio: Coach, judge, speaker

and equine behaviourist, Lindsay Grice has trained hundreds of horses and rid- ers in her 25 years as a pro- fessional. “I love to help riders

solve their horse puzzles based on the science of how horses think and learn,” she says.

“Is it me or my horse?”

Lindsay shares insights into how horses tick for equine associations, riding clubs and at private farms, creat- ing thinking horsemen of her students by teaching the “hows” and “whys” of rid- ing.

Lindsay has taught

Equine Behaviour classes and seminars for provincial equine associations and courses offered by Univer- sity of Guelph. She teaches clinics on

showing, training and judg- ing for horse clubs and pri- vate farms. She is an Equine

Canada and AQHA special- ized judge and a Provincial Hunter/Jumper judge as well as a certified Equine Canada coach. She and her students

have won at major shows in the United States and Canada. For more information, her

visit site

Dinner Music Movie

A documentary in development about the animals, and for the animals

Please donate to to bring awareness to the sentience and plight of horses

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68