Here is a great video by Randi Thompson about fixing leaning and weight habits! In therapeutic riding we talk about how some riders have a strong and weak side. I think that this actually happens to everyone in the world to some extent. We all have strong and weak sides.
This video highlights a recreational rider’s strong side and leaning habits, and Randi’s fixes. She asks the rider to drop the stirrup on the strong side, so she cannot lean on it for support. The rider has to relearn her balance, says it feels different at first, and has to keep readjusting herself in the saddle. The transformation over the video is great. Note that our therapeutic riders may take longer to transform and with more verbal reminders, or may not physically be capable of finding perfect alignment, but the process is similar.
I love how the rider mentions that it feels like she’s leaning to the weak side now, but just because she’s been leaning on the right side for so long. When your body gets used to a particular posture it comes to feel that as normal, regardless of whether you are correctly aligned or not. It reminds me of a game we played as kids: lay on your back or stomach, your friend raises yours legs a few feet (you keep them straight and bend at the waist) and counts to 60, then slowly SLOWLY lowers them back down to the ground. It really feels like your feet are falling through the ground, until your legs touch the ground and you’re so surprised! (Seriously go try it!) Your body got used to the other position, so straight ended up feeling bent. Riding can be like this. You get used to an incorrect position, so when you switch to correct it actually feels like you’re over correcting.
I have one rider who this happens to a lot, she has limited lower body mobility, and spacial insecurities. When we put her on the horse, if she is slightly off her body takes it as centered, and when we readjust she says it feels off balance. I always explain to her what I discussed above, ask her to try riding this new way for one lap and see how she feels after that. She always readapts. It has been really neat to see her come to understand this about her body. We often have to go through it all over again when she has a growth spurt.
Anyway, here is that video. Enjoy!
“Is your saddle shifting to one side? Amazing technique that will improve your riding position!” By Randi Thompson
(If you can’t see the video above, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noVQnjc6KbI)
Click here fore more videos by Randi Thompson! Randi Thompson Live
Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgment!
Thank you for sharing this Horse and Rider Awareness video. I have been browsing through your website and see that you are making difference for people and riders everywhere. You make a difference. The horse world is better because you are in it. Keep up your good works.
Thank you so much, Randi! I love your videos and think they’re one of the best resources for instructors out there who are looking for a model of how to teach balanced riding. You keep it up too!