Practice Being Your Horse

How much do you attend to carrying yourself well when you are not on your horse? Do you know that you have choice in your postural state every moment? If you practice a dynamic yet easy daily posture, rather than a held-in-place or slouchy posture, you will take this postural state with you into your riding and your horse will automatically respond with better balance.We use the term “well carried” to describe efficient and elegant organization of posture and coordination. A well-carried rider is a well-coordinated rider—in balance, in control, secure and supple. These qualities transfer to the horse, and this is one reason why a horse will go better for an experienced rider than he will for a rider with a less secure seat. The well-coordinated rider uses the right amount of postural tone, distributed evenly throughout the body. Too much tone means over-effort and tension; then rider (and horse) become stiff. Too little tone means not enough muscle is used; then rider (and horse) become sloppy and un-balanced. Most of us have too much tone (tension) in some parts and not enough in other parts, just like our horses. When the “just right” amount of postural tone is evenly distributed, free flow happens for both rider and horse. Durchlässigkeit in the horse is needed in the rider too!To become a well-carried person, with the “just right” amount of postural tone for the task, you must release excess effort, tension, or held places in the body. But not so much that you sag or collapse. Also your mind can’t be too worried and full or too drained and tired, or your body won’t come into balance. Balance is a Whole Self thing, it is the way you are being you.Try this—
As you walk across the street give yourself some extra time to walk/halt/walk at a crosswalk. In a state of curiosity and playfulness, imagine you are your horse. How do you want to “go”? Freely forward with an easy head/neck joint and springy back? Or rigidly holding yourself in a position of chin up, shoulders back? When you halt, what happens to your jaw? Do you clench your teeth and draw down into yourself, or remain open, at ease, and aware of your surroundings?”
As you walk forward again, sense your lively back, floaty head, and swinging limbs. Allow your head/neck joint (click here to review where this joint is) to be free of tension as you begin. See your environment at the same time you are sensing yourself within.

As you can imagine, there are many opportunities in a day to practice self-carriage as if your were your horse.
For instance, as you walk across a room, or down the barn aisle.

As you practice de-compression of head/neck/back while off the horse, along with full breath and a quiet mind, you will find that it gets easier to bring that same state of being to your riding.

As you become a well-carried person, you become a well-carried load for your horse. Your horse will be positively influenced by this balanced, strong and supple way of being.

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