Does your trainer ever tell you to try and feel your horse’s hind legs? And you look blankly at them and wonder what powers of equestrian sorcery are you expected to have to do such a magical thing!? Well, this week’s video is here to tell you that you CAN possess this sorcery! This video I’m going to show you an exercise that will help you be able to feel your horses’ hind legs AND our expert equestrian physiotherapist Stephanie is here to explain WHY that exercise works and also explain some of the anatomy of the seat and the pelvis in the saddle.
In the walk motion, there is a side-to-side and a forward-back motion. In order to feel when the horse’s hind is off the ground, put both your reins in one hand and raise your other arm above your head. When you feel your hip drop on the side with the arm raised, that is the moment the horse’s hind leg leaves the ground.
When you’re on the ground, if you try and stand on one leg and lift the other one up, you feel your pelvis drop on the side where the leg is raised. The same is true for the horse and this drop is what we are feeling.
Why do we raise the arm in this exercise?
When the arm is raised, the weight of the arm creates extra downward pressure that accentuates the feeling of the pelvic motion. The aim of this exercise is to learn this feeling. Eventually you will be able to feel the motion without needing your arm in the air.
When thinking about finding your seat in the saddle, classically we are taught that when sitting in the saddle you should feel the tripod of bones (two seat bones and the pubic bone), but not all pelvises are created equal. so it’s unreasonable to expect that everyone can feel all three.
Don’t aim for the tripod feeling, aim for neutral spine, and whatever bones are in contact with the saddle for you in neutral spine are the ones you need. The most important thing is that the two seat-bones are in contact with the saddle.
If you’re finding that anywhere is rubbing to the point of discomfort, always check your saddle fit with a saddler and a physio who specialises in equestrians.
Have a look at this video for a demonstration of this exercise and let me know in the comments if you can feel the drop in your hip and if you find it helpful!
Thanks for watching!