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What is a good position!?

We are all working towards the illusive ‘Good Position’ but what is it good riding position!?

The easiest way to think about this is to break it down into sections:

  • The shoulder/hip/heel line. This is a vertical line through your ear, shoulder and heel as shown by the red line in the picture above.

  • Look ahead - I feel like I'm told that every day of my life and still don't do it enough. Its important to make sure that you create space using your eyes. Shown here with the yellow line.

  • Elbows soft, with a slight bend, I always say elastic elbows, they can move, but they are still bent, maintaining a straight line from your elbow down your arm along the rain to the bit. So this is what's shown by the blue line here. And it's actually not bad in this photo for me. Although you can see my wrist is slightly wonky. You will often see people with one hand that will have a thumb that will turn over, and believe it or not that does have an impact on the contact and can create different weights in the rein.

  • Sitting equally across both seat bones - So that's the movement from side to side, And I will say that you should feel like you can move, that you feel like you're an extension rather than sat on top. So you feel that your hips and your seat can move with the horse that you're not trying to hold it too still, know that your knee and thigh should rest lightly against your saddle.

There are of course variations on all of these as shown in the picture below, some times you can end up in front of the line (yellow) and sometimes you can end up behind it (red).

  • We all have 2 seat bones, which everyone will be able to feel in some shape or form. These are the Control Centre to the hind legs, and its important as we move up the levels that we sit equally on them so that the horse can push equally. Often riders can feel one more than the other , or the perch off them by tipping forwards which I like to illustrate with the gym ball theory.

Imagine the gym ball as your horse, you want to keep it underneath you, but if you tip forwards it will fall behind you and if you sit back it may come more in front of you. This can also be effected from side to side too! See the photo below:

  • Which leads me nicely into your ribcage,- Are your springs level!?

Imagine having a spring on each side of your rib cage – is one stretched or compressed.

Check in with your seat bones (gym ball) if your springs are unlevel it is highly likely that your seat bones may have moved from central.

  • Last but not least a thought about your legs - Think about how you are using your legs and how that effects your position. Our position is said to be most effected when we are trying to get the horse to do something which requires more effort, e.g lateral work or getting them into the corners. For example your knees may start to grip, and the lower leg start to swing back, as well as the upper body starting to tilt forwards. My top tip here would be to think about what question you are asking with your legs and make sure you are clear with this without compromising your position. Think of allowing the knees to bounce down and back, which will allow the weight down the back of your leg. Think about how you use your leg and what reaction you want - I always say calves are for suppleness and heels are for impulsion.

Bottom line here is that we are all striving to be better for our horses but in my experience awareness is the first step and key to improving your position, but make sure you pick one thing at a time to work on, and do that well rather than doing 6 things badly.

Don't forget there is the 7 steps to a better position challenge and 'What is a good position?' online course which delves into all of these subjects and much more! Which can be found here or on the app under courses.

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