Monday, May 7, 2012

Debbie Sams: Deep-Seat Problems and Solutions

Part 3 in the "Deep Seat" series

Each week during this series I will present a rider problem that interferes with a deep seat and rider stick-to-it-itiveness.

Stiff rider: Not breathing

Illus. 7, 8

When you notice that a rider is sitting very stiffly and not moving in sync with the horse, it is often because she is not breathing. Your horse will also indicate that this is the problem by acting uncomfortable and losing rhythm or wanting to stop. This will cause the rider to bounce (Illus. 7).

Breathe regular steady breaths (Illus. 8). Next, try this exercise:
  • First, hold your breath for a few strides, then breathe for a few strides. Repeat this at the walk all the way around the arena. Think about the differences you feel in your body and the horse’s body when you breathe as opposed to when you don’t breathe.
  • Make small circles and reverses during this exercise. Ask yourself what you felt. You learn better when you verbalize what you feel.
  • You will find that the horse is more relaxed and steady when you are breathing. He will also stop less. You will bounce less and find it easier to steer because your muscles are not stiffening. Your body will be softer and more relaxed when you are breathing. This soft relaxation will allow you to move with your horse.
Read Part 1 (Sticking to Your Horse with a Deep Seat) in the "Deep Seat" series 
Read Part 2 (Deep Seat versus Light Seat) in the "Deep Seat" series 

Debbie Sams teaches English and Western riding with an emphasis on dressage. At her Springer's Stables in Broadalbin, New York, she also teaches drill team and vaulting. Her farm gives pony parties and holds horse camps for scouts and local community college and elementary school youth programs, as well as for the Sacandaga Bible Conference and Retreat Center. Debbie has been teaching drama and drill team on horseback since 1979; in 1985 she became a Certified Horsemanship Association Instructor. She is the author of 101 Drill Team Exercises and has also put her horse knowledge to work in writing for such publications as Practical Horseman, Equus, and the Northeast Horseman’s Journal.

1 comment:

Sue Weaver said...

I love this series!