Dressage riders place a huge emphasis on our body’s alignment. From the minute we first sit on a horse, we’re constantly told to sit up tall, pull our shoulders back and balance on our seat bones. But what is alignment and why is it so important for our riding?
In this video, I explain why understanding alignment is important and how an incorrect alignment can affect your riding and overall health.
What is alignment?
Let’s picture your car. When you get your car serviced, it’s wheel alignment is checked. This is vital for the car tyres to perform optimally, to improve the handling of the vehicle and to keep your car from pulling in one direction. Wheel alignment reduces the vibration and helps avoid uneven tread wear.
So now picture your car without proper wheel alignment. The tyres become ‘feathered’, where the tread is worn and smooth on one side, and the balance on your road is impaired. You’re also likely to feel a pull from one side making your car more difficult to handle.
Now your body is no different. It’s vital for our hinges and joints to be aligned so that they are working smoothly as we move. If they’re off, just like a car, it’s going to cause undue wear and tear. This can result in pain, injuries, and stress on our those joints.
Add a horse’s movement underneath you and you’re going to create even more stress on your body. The impact and force on joints that aren’t aligned properly can be immense and over time can reduce the length of your riding career.
It’s time to look after your alignment today
My goal with Dressage Rider Training is to help you enjoy riding for as long as you choose. It’s so important to start looking after your joints and improving your alignment so that you’re not subjected to any undue wear and tear.
Correcting your alignment starts with the position of your pelvis. When we’re riding, we want to make sure our pelvis is stacked up correctly and we’re on our seat bones evenly. This will help our hips move freely. If our alignment is off and we’re sitting to one side, we’re going to create more stress in that hip. Also if your pelvis is positioned too far forward it can create vulnerability through your lower back.
It’s also important to make sure our spine is stacked up correctly and we’ve developed a strong core with a neutral spine. Good shoulder posture comes next. If we’ve got a blockage happening in our upper body, it’s going to affect what’s happening with our hands and reins, ultimately affecting how the horse moves and responds.
Good alignment is not just about creating a visually pleasing picture. It’s about making sure you protect and look after your body to allow you to continue riding for as long as possible.
Dressage riding is a sport and as with any sport, you need to practice and improve your fitness on and off the field. It’s important to improve your posture while you’re off the horse as it’s really hard to correct your body’s alignment when you have the force of the horse moving underneath you.
Improving your rider fitness, strength and balance will not only enhance your riding, it will also keep you riding for longer. For more exercises, stretches and workouts to take your riding to the next level check out our dressage rider training online program. These specific dressage exercises are designed to help you take your dressage to a new level. To get yourself started today, be sure to download our free guide here.