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Relaxation Through Balance

Tension is the sum total of missed opportunities for relaxation

Our number one job as a rider is to help our horse to maintain a soft, relaxed body and frame of mind. Tension is a vicious cycle: tension in the mind creates tension throughout the body, tension anywhere in the body creates tension in the mind. We can help our horses to be relaxed by encouraging forward movement and overall balance. They need harmony

throughout their body, left to right, top to bottom and back to front. When we can influence their body, we can also influence their minds. Changes in stride, speed and posture require the horse to recruit different muscles, at varying rates of effort, and make it very difficult for the horse to become stiff. Because of the interconnectedness of the horse’s muscular and skeletal systems, relatively simple, yet strategic maneuvers can have far-reaching effects on his body. By asking the horse to continuously change his body, you help create energy in the hindegs and a lightness on the forehand so he becomes softer and more easily balanced. If you maintain a secure, balanced, independent seat, you can use changes of weight and simple stepping exercises to directly influence how your horse moves around the arena. As you affect your horses balance on each leg, you also affect the balance of the overall horse. The old masters spent many hours both on the ground and in the saddle helping their horses to find balance and relaxation. We can use these same techniques now to achieve the same results with our horses regardless of age, breed, discipline or level of training. These techniques are part of the foundation of my training program and have helped many riders and horses to have a better relationship in which they are both relaxed and balanced, physicallly and mentally.

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