The Horseless Riding Lesson


Intellectually, most riders "know" their balance and position affect their horses' balance and ability to move in self-carriage. But knowing this in your head is very different from experiencing these changes kinesethetically, with your entire body.

How do you determine how profound is the effect of your postural habits on your horse? As a rider, do you have any notion how holding your breath affects your horse's balance and ability to move easily and freely? What about riding with an arched back or dropping a shoulder? How do you refine your alignment, both side to side and front to back? With the help of your instructor, for sure. But your horse is an even better teacher, if only you can develop the subtlety to listen.

Wouldn't you like to refine your ability to feel these hints your horse gives and practice a variety of responses with a "horse" who can give verbal feedback? That's what the Horseless Riding Lesson is all about -- giving riders of all ability levels the chance to experience postural and balance changes from the point of view of the horse. And to receive verbal feedback, because the "horse" in this exercise is a person.

What can you gain from participating in a horseless riding lesson?

  An understanding of the level of contact, clarity and balance you can maintain with intention and practice, and how important those are to horses.
  More subtle cues for bending turns, lateral work, collection.
  An understanding that holding a horse in a frame differs profoundly from working with a horse in balance and self-carriage
  An appreciation for the challenge our horses have to interpret and respond to the mixed signals our bodies are likely to be giving.

Experience Horseless Riding Lesson Exercises as part of a
RideAware Rider Body Awareness clinic.

See some more photos of riders partnering to increase their understanding
of their bodies' effects on their horses' movement and comfort.

"I have been riding and training horses and people for 20 years and this is the best method for developing beginning feel, fine tuning advanced feel, or fixing unhealthy habits I have ever come across. It is amazing to become aware of the subtle things the “horse” can feel and respond to even when you are not officially riding them. This work will undoubtedly save many a horse’s mouth and back, not to mention his mind. It is an amazing revelation!"

Tammy Wilbur, RPh
Dressage, Hunter/Jumper and Combined Training Trainer/Instructor
Birmingham, Alabama

  Riders can work together on the ground to explore balance and stability in the saddle
  Alan and Diana explore the connection between horse and rider by mimicking the movement of a rider's hands following the horse's head motion.
  Riders practice posture and balance on the ground with human feedback
  Now"rider" Diana takes up the reins and gains insight into how her postural changes might affect the way her horse experiences that contact.



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