Do you get frustrated with yourself because you end up pulling on the reins to balance and control your horse? Replace pulling on the reins with something more effective. Learning to use your whole self as a reference point for the horse requires a refined kinesthetic sense. First you must absorb the horse’s movement through your whole spine, not just through relaxing the lumbar region. Too much lumbar motion is recognized visually with a rider pushing with the seat or “belly dancing.” When the lumbar region is too flexible, the rider stiffens the shoulders in an attempt to stabilize on a moving horse.
Many times a rider in an attempt to stabilize her lumbar region stiffens all the abdominal muscles, “tighten your core.” These are flexors and will tend to provoke flexion in the arms, supporting the pattern of pulling on the reins. Pulling the belly in will also tend to take you behind the movement of the horse. A key to stabilizing the lumbar region is finding a neutral spine, where minimal muscular effort is required to keep the rider’s vertical alignment and absorb the horse’s movements through the whole spine. In riding the curves of the spine remain. This allows the whole spine, lumbar through thoracic, to absorb the movement from a vertical pelvis.
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