As a former beginner rider I understand that it can be difficult to have and keep the correct riding positions. I have compiled different problems or faults you may have in your riding position with easy solutions to fix those problems.
Problem 1: Looking down & head tilting forward.
- What you want: Head balanced and looking up.
- Fix: Look ahead where you want your horse to go and think of lining up your ears over your shoulders.
Problem 2: Can’t keep chest up and shoulders back?
- What you want: Shoulders wide and back with chest up.
- Fix: Look up above your head with your chin pointed to the sky. Keep your chest and shoulders in the position this puts you in as you bring your chin back down looking ahead with ears over your shoulders
Problem 3: Legs too far forward and in a chair position?
- What you want: Ankles positioned under hips.
- Fix: Take your legs up and away from the horses sides and bring them backwards and then lightly back down on the horses sides. This exercise also helps to loosen your hips. Note: Some horses are more sensitive than others and some horses may react differently. What I found is most common in sensitive horses is that they may jerk or scoot forward when your legs come back down. So use discretion with the kind of horse you are riding.
Problem 4: Hands turned sideways, A.K.A. Piano Hands.
- What you want: Thumbs on top with pinkies on bottom.
- Fix: Turn you hands the total opposite way with your thumbs pointing to the outside. Ride this way intentionally for a little while to get used to the new feeling. Then ride with thumbs on top imagining you are balancing a ball on the top of your thumb and index finger.
Problem 5: Can’t keep fingers closed.
- What you want: To keep your fingers closed but not balled up in a tight fist.
- Fix: I have a couple things you can do. Imagine you are holding a small animal in your hands. You don’t want to hurt them but you don’t want them to get away. Another one is put small rocks in your hands. If you do not keep your fingers closed the rocks will fall out of your hands. So the small rock is a reminder if you need it. And lastly think about your pinky and pointer fingers always touching your palm and thumb touching the middle joint of pointer finger.
Problem 6:Unstable loose swinging legs.
- What you want: Legs that are stable and secure, draped lightly against horses sides like a wet cloth would cling.
- Fix: Check your stirrups they may be too long. If that is not the problem then I suggest the standing, sitting exercise. This will help to stabilize your lower leg and get it into a more correct balanced position. Basically just stand up in the stirrups, move your legs around until you find a position for them where you feel the most balanced. Then sink back down into the saddle. Every few strides change position from sitting to standing. Note: Be careful to come down controlled and softly so you don’t slam down onto the horses back.
Problem 7: Leaning to far back in the saddle.
- What you want: You want to sit up straight in the saddle with ear, shoulder, hip and ankle all lined up.
- Fix: I have two exercises to help fix this problem. The first one is the teeter exercise. Lean too far forward then too far back, keep doing this back and forth until you feel yourself find the middle where you are sitting up straight and feel the most balanced. The other exercise is simply going back and forth from sitting straight to jumping position.
Problem 8: Not able to feel seat bones, or not sitting on seat bones.
- What you want: You want to sit on your pubic arch and seat bones which forms a triangle.
- Fix: Take your legs away from the horses side and hold this position. You should now be able to feel your seat bones. Make sure you don’t lean too far back, engage your core and sit up tall.
I hope these exercises help you overcome some of your riding position faults. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO WRITE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW IF YOU KNOW ANY OTHER FIXES TO RIDING POSITION PROBLEMS! FEEDBACK IS MUCH APPRECIATED.
Cheers and God Bless!