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Your Frame vs. The Horses Frame

Not everything is perfect in this picture, but sometimes it's easiest to see an exaggeration and talk about it from there. This horse is down in the front, and I am trying to hold my frame "up" to encourage her to come up to me. When I talk about gathering or collecting a horse, I try to encourage people to work on their own frame first. There's lots and lots...and lots, of talk about what the perfect seat is, and biomechanics, etc, and honestly it confuses even me. Yet, I've been complimented by fellow professionals and highly successful people in equitation based disciplines, on how I carry myself while riding. So, I have tried to study what I am doing and when, so I can try and help others. Firstly, I have been blessed to ride thousands of horses at this point in my career, and my number one goal has always been to try and stay out of their way once I've asked them to do something... that, plus a couple (only a couple) equitation basics, is why I look and ride the way I do. Enough about me...Here are the pieces I believe to be important, and I think it's pretty simple; Heels down - this pulls your rear end ;-) into the saddle, important to note there's not a lot of pressure in the stirrups so your knees are stiff, but there's enough to keep your stirrup on the ball of your foot. Square shoulders, usually slightly behind your hips to keep you athletic and your center of gravity low (think about extreme position of a rodeo cowboy) and a "proud chest." I think your shoulders are the most important part of your frame, they are the beginning of your clean, or unclean, lines. If your shoulders are square, your arms can hang straight. If your arms are straight, then your elbows can hang close to your body. If your elbows are close to your body, the line from the horse's bit to your hand is long as you don't "break" your wrists, I try not to do that either. All this said, the straighter and more clean your "lines" are, the more success your horse will have feeling your signals, and staying between your legs and reins because they are consistent. 


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