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36/ JULY 2017 THE RIDER


and that will only add to your fear. When you are in control, you can overcome your fear! The key to improving


The video and social community for horse people just like you! Wherever you live and however you ride www.barnmice.com


www.facebook.com/Barnmice twitter.com/Barnmicepinterest.com/barnmice Palm Partnership Training™ Building a Partnership with your Horse


“Beat Fear with Proper Form and Balance


By Lynn Palm It is only natural for a


rider to feel fear at some point in her riding years. Usually that fear is based on the concern for being out of control of the horse and coming out of the sad- dle. If this has ever been an issue for you while pursu- ing Western Dressage, or at any time during your riding endeavors, you’ll be encouraged to know that one of the best ways to stay in control of the horse and stay in the saddle is through proper rider form and balance Proper form is how


the rider positions her body to follow her horse’s movement at all times without interfering with the horse’s movements and reactions. It is important for the rider to learn proper form and balance, and proper function of her form.


Proper form lets the


rider: 1. Achieve a state of bal- ance that allows her to feel relaxed and in command


of her body. Only when she feels in command of her own body can she feel in command of her horse. 2. Use the parts of her body to communicate at will with her horse. This is critical to riding because without


the ability to


clearly communicate with the horse, the rider cannot transmit her orders to him. Also, the horse cannot un- derstand the rider’s re- quests and respond well to them.


To achieve proper


form, a rider must under- stand the proper position- ing and function of each part of her body. I see many riding problems rooted in incorrect rider form. Even experienced, confident riders can bene- fit from improving the ba- sics.


The Importance of the Rider’s Upper Body Po- sition Picture


yourself


mounted on a horse. The position of your head and eyes, and your thoughts and facial expression are


all important to how well you function as a rider. Your head should be re- laxed and coming straight out of your neck. Your chin should be level and not tipped up or dropped to the chest. Your eyes and your


“eye contact” are one of the most important ele- ments of riding. Your eyes should be looking straight ahead at least 10 to 12 feet beyond the horse. This helps keep your head aligned. More importantly, this type of eye contact opens up your peripheral vision to 180 degrees, let- ting you see from the front of the horse to his sides. Because you are looking up, you see where you are going. You have control and time to think about possible upcoming prob- lems. You can react and properly time the applica- tion of your aids to ask your horse to do some- thing. It is instinctive to want to look at your horse to control him. However, if you do this, your horse will have control of you;


your riding form is looking up and ahead with your eyes. If you are looking ahead, with a confident look and relaxed face, you will align your back straight with your shoul- ders square and down. This enables you to stay straight and better absorb the horse’s movement which keeps you more se- cure in the saddle. In re- turn, your horse will move more freely and respon- sively because you are moving with him. If you look down, you


will cause your back to round and shoulder to hunch up and yours arms to tighten up. Your horse will feel this, and he may stiffen his back and his gait in reaction to your incor- rect form. It will be harder for you to follow his movement, and you will feel less secure in the sad- dle.


teach a rider is not to look down.


The hardest thing to It is the easiest


way, however, to get your- self out of balance! Start today to ride with your eyes looking up and in front of your horse to stay in control, and you will be on your way to conquering your fear! Learn more in my book, Head to Toe Horsemanship, an excel- lent resource for improv- ing your balance, which is available through our web- site.


We love to share our


dressage backgrounds and knowledge with you and would love to have you come ride with us. You can join us at our farm in Ocala, Florida, or at one of our Ride Well Clinics on our USA Tour at a location near you. If you would like to


train with Lynn & Cyril at home with Western Dres- sage, take advantage of the following supportive train- ing materials: Books: Head To Toe Horsemanship Western Dressage—A Guide to Take You to Your First Show A Rider Guide to Real Collection DVDs: “Dressage Princi- ples for the Western Horse & Rider” Volume 1 Parts 1-5 “Dressage Principles for the Western & English Horse & Rider” Volume 2, Parts 1-3 “Let Your Horse Be Your Teacher” Parts 1&2 For more information


on these training materials and more, as well as clin- ics, please visit www.lyn- npalm.com or call us at 800-503-2824.


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