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A barrel of laughs...

Herd of horses cantering in 12 acre field Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

Today at Pippsway I enjoyed a group lesson on correct riding posture. After ensuring we all knew how to attain the posture correctly whilst standing, Pip took us up to the menage and asked each of us to sit astride a barrel. We assumed our correct riding positions and Pip came around and made our barrels sway whilst we practised absorbing the movement beneath our waists. Once we had managed that Pip then told us to revert to our ‘old’ riding position. It was amazing how unstable it was! Much slipping and sliding ensued!!

We alternated between the correct and incorrect positions whilst Pip moved our barrels and this highlighted how we were able to balance through a far wider range of movement when in the correct position. In the incorrect position even staying upright was difficult and it was easy to see why leaning on the reins is such a common problem.

Then Pip asked each of us to come and move the barrel underneath someone else. This revealed how easy moving the barrel is when someone is in the correct position versus how very difficult it is trying to move it when they were in the wrong position. The difference was astonishing! None of us could quite believe it! It was a fabulous way to illustrate how when we are not seated correctly our horses movement is very restricted beneath us and yet when we are in the correct position his back can move far more freely.

As you can imagine we all had rather a giggle doing this and yet the lesson was such a valuable one! Because it was such fun I am confident each of us will remember all that we learned well into the future.

I was keen to be able to do this exercise regularly but I don’t have room for a barrel in my house. Pip pointed out that we could repeat the same exercise on a fit ball and that it would in fact be even better as the ball would be less stable than the barrel. Suffice to say I got home and ordered one. Now even sitting down can be a time to improve my riding!!

As I didn't have any photos from the lesson I've instead shared one of the herd of geldings here at Pippsway having a gad about, with Pip's wolf dogs, in their 12 acre field.....always a joy to see!

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