If you and your horse can’t move freely, it becomes difficult to ride him well. When your body moves freely, your horse can move freely too. Imperceptible changes in a rider’s body that release tension significantly alter the stride of the horse.
Before, this rider is sitting behind the vertical bracing against the horse’s motion with his feet pressing downward in the stirrups. The horse’s hind legs cannot come through; his topline is retracted and his base is down.
After, being balanced into neutral (posture) the rider was immediately in sync with the horse’s motion because he had better use of his seat and legs. The horse was then able to stretch his topline and lift his base, telescoping his neck. The rider remarked that the horse had never felt so energetic and light to him before!
Gaited Horse Rider
Before, this rider is leaning back and braced in her legs to ask the horse to go forward. This posture in the rider keeps the horse’s head up and doesn’t allow the horse’s back and legs to function as they should. Note the base of the horse’s neck is down and the horse is on the forehand.
After connecting her body in neutral posture, the rider is supporting the horse to lift his base and back with more push from his hind legs to readily move forward.
Western Pleasure Rider
Before, this rider is slumping behind the vertical. which is disconnecting the horse’s hind legs. The horse is on the forehand and behind the bit.
After, the rider is in neutral posture, supporting the horse to stretch his topline and self-carry.
Before, this rider is behind the vertical and braced in her body. The horse’s head and neck are retracted, the back is down and freedom of movement is stifled.
After, The rider is doing an exercise of riding slightly forward with her back muscles soft and her knuckles pressing into the horses neck. In this way, her hips, knees, ankles, and arches could get springy and allow the movement of the horses back and ribcage to come through her body. The horse could then stretch his topline and move with freedom.
Before & After
4 year-old Paso Fino mare before and after her first ever Connected Groundwork, starting to find balance and a healthy posture. Connected Groundwork and Riding is useful for all horse breeds and disciplines whether you ride dressage, western, gaited horses, endurance…
There is a “look” to Connected Riding that sets it apart from many familiar riding styles. But more than that Connected Riding is about a feeling. It is the sensation of riding from the inside out. It is the feeling of two dance partners in perfect harmony.
The mark of a rider, who is in perfect, kinetic balance, is one who is able to respond to movement. There is a direct cause and effect correlation in the movement patterns of horse and rider. When horse and rider align into functional postures, their bodies connect and move in sync.
Connected Riding teaches the rider to synch up with the horses motion and enables the horse to have a dynamic posture that allows freedom of movement.