"Balance" ... it sounds so basic, but balance is at the very core of developing—and continuing to develop!—all other skills as a rider.
Often, as we gain more riding experience, it's easy to classify balance as just a beginning rider skill. That approach can cause us to believe that we have already mastered it and that balance no longer needs our attention.
I submit that balance is a skill that can, and should, by viewed as something to be continually fine-tuned and improved (along with all other riding skills) as riders move up the levels in their sport. In fact, without further development of your dynamic balance, you may actually be hampering the degree of effectiveness and success you would otherwise have as a rider.
Achieving effortless, dynamic balance (balance through movement) is difficult. It doesn't help that our bodies will lie to us—fooling us into believing that we are perfectly balanced and aligned, even when we are not. Small misalignments cause tension and reduce mobility, sometimes in ways so subtle, that it escapes our notice. However, your horse will notice! These seemingly small balance issues compromise our feeling of the horse, as well as our ability to apply the aids. The communication between you and your horse will be compromised. When this happens, it's easy for the rider to blame the horse when they show resistance, but the source of the problem is actually with the rider.
Correct balance, is effortless. Excess tension is absent. Joints are free to move alone or in coordination with one another. The body is now able to use selective positive tension in order to make the myriad of micro and macro adjustments as they are needed to go with and/or influence our horse—moment, by moment.
Correct balance = correct alignment and allows for fluid motion—never a rigid, fixed, or "posed" position!
When we improve our balance, we also improve the horse's balance. When we free ourselves up to move, we automatically encourage greater fluidity in our horse's movement. When we get out of our own way, we stop inadvertently blocking the horse. When we are able to refine our aids, we reduce the "static" in our communication and directly connect with the horse. This allows for an actual conversation from which all good things come.
BALANCE... It's not just a beginner thing.
Centered Riding concepts can provide the tools that enable you to more easily access the mind/body and biomechanics principals to enhance your skills and help you to become an effective rider—regardless of riding level or discipline. For more information, go to:
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