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Body position on the downhills

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  • Body position on the downhills

    O Coth gurus --
    When we school dressage, I know what I'm supposed to do with my fat tum, but on downhills, do I let my midsection rock with the horse (she likes to really waddle and flop down hills sometimes, though she is perfectly capable of marching down them in a nice strong smooth stride when motivated). I keep my shoulders and head strong and quiet, seat flowing with the horse and deep, but everything in the middle is rocking and rolling like a boat in the ocean. I feel like a belly dancer. Is this what I am supposed to be doing (we're talking longish, steepish hills, at the walk)?

  • #2
    Good question - I'm curious of the replies.
    My pony is pretty steady going down hills, so I sit up straight and still as possible.
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    • #3
      Like in dressage you want a little 'positive tension' mid section so that you're not wobbling around enough to throw balance off but you are allowing your seat to move.

      It feels weird because obviously the seat moves a ton more down hill then on the flat.
      I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


      • #4
        I would also worry about maintain your balance, don't allow yourself to wobble enough to get off centered. A steep descent creates an opportunity for you to come out of the saddle. Most saddles really are designed to keep you in on the flat. Too high of a cantle or Pomell and you would be uncomfortable mounting or exiting the saddle.

        Stay centered, imagine that your horse is going to disappear out from under you at any moment and you want to land on your feet. Help you horse to get collect up and get his hind legs under him


        • #5
          Get out of the saddle as much as you can.
          Let the horse round its back up under you, as the HQs reach under.
          Same goes for going through tricky footing, like mud or rocks. Also for going uphill - but here, get more into jumping position, grabbing mane if it's steep.

          Be as light in the saddle as you can be, in each of these situations.


          • #6
            Dowhill Riding Position

            I usually just pucker.. and close my eyes :-)

            Paul N. Sidio
            Spokane MO


            • #7
              Originally posted by Painted Horse View Post
              I would also worry about maintain your balance, don't allow yourself to wobble enough to get off centered. A steep descent creates an opportunity for you to come out of the saddle. Most saddles really are designed to keep you in on the flat. Too high of a cantle or Pomell and you would be uncomfortable mounting or exiting the saddle.

              Stay centered, imagine that your horse is going to disappear out from under you at any moment and you want to land on your feet. Help you horse to get collect up and get his hind legs under him
              I concur. you will need to adjust your body and keep your core as close to the center of gravity in your horse. The steeper the hill the more you will need to adjust to keep your weight distributed evenly and more towards the rear (as it changes in the horse) to help free up the front. I dont let my horses flop or plop down a hill on thier own accord, I encourage them to use thier rears and hocks for this and encourge a better foot placement and body control to thwart a trip or heavy decend that could put me in jepordy of falling. Of course this is something taught over time and I recomend beginning with gentle hills first.
              Take time to stop and smell the flowers.

              Don't poke the Bear!


              • #8
                On a horse who knows his job, I put just a little more weight in the stirrups than I usually have - allowing the horse to move his hind end freely, but still holding myself with legs and core - i.e., not bracing against the stirrups.

                Basically, you still need to follow the laws of gravity - your body will remain vertical, while the horse changes under you.

                So, pretty much what everyone else said!

                A green horse will often require more support - a bit of collection coming from your seat and leg sucking them up under you - in order to not rush down the hill. Sometimes they are just anxious about it. It takes a while for them to learn how to use themselves wisely and maintain a rhythm on a steep hill.
                Publisher, http://www.endurance-101.com
                Blog: http://blog.seattlepi.com/horsebytes/


                • #9
                  Years ago, we had a judge come out from Missouri to judge a foxtrotter show. While he was here in town we took him for a trail ride. We went up and down a side of the mountain, that I just never thought twice about. He freaked right out. He was a very knowledgable horseman, But he came from flat land and had no experience letting the horse do the work on a steep grade.

                  A year or two later I saw him judging a Competitive Trail Ride in Colorado, He was watching the riders go down a steep hill. When we arrived at the starting point, he recognized me and said, " Just go do what ever you want, I know you know how to go down steep hills"

                  This is a short grade, but you can see the horses with their hind ends up underneath the, as the slid down the hill.