Horses were not created to carry humans on their backs
Free in pasture the horse moves unrestricted and as nature intended. Its movements are influenced by interaction with other horses as well as geographical situations and climate. Today many horses have the role of being partners for humans, riding and/or competition horses and this greatly influences their lives, habitat and conditions. When training and riding horses it is vital to keep in mind that they have not chosen their destiny nor to carry humans on their backs. When the rider mounts and rides his horse he is disturbing its natural balance and movements. Due to this fact it is vital that the training and riding of the horse aims towards helping it regain its balance as well as strengthen the body. This will ensure that the horse can last a long time and become healthy and strong. The training should teach the horse to move in a correct form and use its body in a constructive and positive way. In order for this to happen the rider must have certain basic knowledge and skills to train and ride the horse correctly.
© Helga Thoroddsen
Balance is the perquisite for good riding
In order to ride horse well the rider must be able to sit on it in good balance and without using the rein to support himself. In other words he must be a good passenger for the horse. If the rider is in good balance on the horse he does not need the rein to stay on its back and/or to influence its movements at least to a certain extent. Good balance also minimizes the need for unnecessary rein aids, pressure on the horses mouth and/or severe bits. When riding the horse the rider influences its whole body, not just the mouth and neck but also back, belly and hindquarters.
Riding the horse and training it cannot be separated from using bits and bridles. There are many factors in addition to bits and bridles that influence the training and riding such as conformation and temperament. This the rider must know and understand when choosing riding equipment as well as training methods. From this it can be seen that it is a complex interaction between various factors that influences the movement of the horse with a rider on its back.
The movement of the horse is influenced by the following factors
- Skill and balance of the rider
- Training methods
- Tack, saddle and bridle
The goal with all riding and training should be to form a strong, clear gaited, supple and content horse. In order to achieve these goals the rider must be aware of the fact that it takes a long time to train and develop physical and physiological strength so that the horse can perform at maximum output, and then only for a short while. Most of the training must focus on basic work in correct form as well as increasing endurance and strength since these are prerequisites for maximum output such as in endurance rides, competitions and shows.
Good balance and correct form both with horse and rider are perquisites for training a healthy and strong horse.