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Painting circles...

riding without stirrups Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

I like to practise what I have learned at Pippsway on my dog walks and jogs. This applies both to how I interact with my dog and my posture. I had previously mastered engaging my core and lifting my ribcage but after my recent lesson on the correct riding posture I realised that the way I have been absorbing the movement of my legs into my pelvis isn’t quite right.

Today on my jog I practised absorbing the movement of my legs correctly and the best way I can think to describe it is that if I had a paintbrush on the side of each hip I would be painting circles. The pelvis doesn’t just tilt, it rolls. This is exactly the same way I will need to allow my pelvis to move when I am riding to absorb the movement of my horse. Only once I have learned to absorb the movement completely can I then hope to communicate with my horse through my seat. Pip says "You have to learn to be a passenger before you can learn to ride". Very often in modern riding we see people pumping with their seat and yet I now know that all this serves to do is restrict the movement of our horses back! The barrel exercise of my last lesson illustrated this perfectly….instead our pelvis needs to be passive and flexible absorbing the horses movement.

Since coming to Pippsway I have also learned how to engage muscles. Given that I have attended yoga and pilates classes in the past it is really surprising to me that I hadn’t learned how to do this correctly before! When we move our skeleton into the correct position our muscles naturally engage. In the past when I thought I was engaging muscles I was merely tensing them which is an entirely different thing! Given that it is vital that our muscles are engaged, but that we are relaxed when we are riding, this has been an extremely valuable lesson.

It is a revelation that without once sitting on a horse I have learned more about riding correctly than ever before! I’m so pleased that I have learned all this without inconveniencing any horses….I hate to think back to what my poor horse had to put up with in the past! But at least I am learning now!


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