Monday, July 16, 2012

Debbie Sams: Looking Down

Part 12 in the “Deep Seat” series

Looking Down

Looking ahead will help you stick to your horse. Here’s how:
When you look down, your whole torso is thrown off balance. The head is very heavy, so its weight pulls your torso forward. To compensate, the spine curves, trying to maintain balance. This causes the chest to collapse and the pelvis to lean behind the motion.
Chin up — Often just repeatedly reminding yourself to keep your chin up will solve this problem. If some of the other position problems persist, see the sections on those topics.
How many fingers — It is also useful to ask a helper to hold up her fingers and ask you to tell her how many she is holding up as you ride around the arena. This will encourage you to look forward. This is especially useful when working over obstacles such as ground poles or jumps.
Look with the eyes only — When maneuvering through an obstacle course and when learning diagonals, you must look down at what your horse is doing with your eyes, but the chin should remain up (Illus. 37).

Illus. 37
Lift chest proud — Often when you look down, the chest also collapses (Illus. 17 and 18).
Illus. 17

Illus. 18

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
Read Part 3 (Deep Seat Problem and Solution) in the "Deep Seat" series
Read Part 4 (Arched Back — Problems and Solutions) in the "Deep Seat" series
Read Part 5 (Torso Leaning Forward — Collapsed Chest) in the "Deep Seat" series
Read Part 6 (Rounded Shoulders, Collapsed Chest) in the "Deep Seat" series
Read Part 7 (Knees and Heels Creeping Up) in the "Deep Seat" series
Read Part 8 (Toes and Knees Turned Out) in the "Deep Seat" series
Read Part 9 (Gripping with Knees) in the "Deep Seat" series
Read Part 10 (Behind the Motion) in the "Deep Seat" series
Read Part 11 (Heels Up) 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.

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