A featured entry in the "Deep Seat" series

Looking Down

Looking ahead will help you stick to your horse. Here’s how:
Problem
When you look down, your whole torso is thrown off balance. The head is very heavy, so its weight pulls your torso forward. To compensate, the spine curves, trying to maintain balance. This causes the chest to collapse and the pelvis to lean behind the motion.
Solutions

Chin up — Often just repeatedly reminding yourself to keep your chin up will solve this problem. If some of the other position problems persist, see the sections on those topics.

How many fingers — It is also useful to ask a helper to hold up her fingers and ask you to tell her how many she is holding up as you ride around the arena. This will encourage you to look forward. This is especially useful when working over obstacles such as ground poles or jumps.

Look with the eyes only — When maneuvering through an obstacle course and when learning diagonals, you must look down at what your horse is doing with your eyes, but the chin should remain up (Illus. 37).

Illus. 37

Lift chest proud — Often when you look down, the chest also collapses (Illus. 17 and 18).

Illus. 17

 

Illus. 18

Debbie Kay Sams

Debbie Kay Sams has written for Practical Horseman, Equine Journal, and Instructor magazines. For many years she has organized and led drill-team riding for all… See Bio

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