Improve Your Horse Riding: Why Your Horse’s Posture Matters

horsepostureIf your horse is resistant, spooky or unbalanced when you ride him then take a good look at his posture. How he carries himself (his frame) affects how he feels physically and mentally as well as his ability to perform well.Horses naturally carry themselves in 3 postures. Looking along the spine from croup to withers, the back is either Level (relatively straight), Round (slightly lifted) or Hollow (dropped or concave).

Healthy Postures Level and Round: Both of these frames benefit the horse because his core muscles are activated and strengthened. Just like our core muscles, they give more support to the back. The further the horse’s hindquarters reach underneath his body, the more his back is naturally lifted and supported by his core muscles and the less strain there is on his spine, joints and muscles.

Unhealthy Posture Hollow: When the horse braces and drops his back, his neck is up and his hindquarters trail behind. Instead of pushing with his hind legs, he pulls himself forward with his front legs. His movements are awkward, stiff and unbalanced. There is increased stress and strain on his spine, muscles, and joints. This physical stress negatively affects his mental state and he becomes more reactive, spooky and difficult to ride.

Nervous Riders & Hollow Backed Horses: When you have tension in your seat, back, legs or arms, your horse responds by dropping his back and bracing his neck, poll and jaw.

If you are a nervous or less experienced rider, when your horse hollows his back you will find it difficult to maintain your position, balance, and confidence. So, an endless loop of stress, tension and imbalance is created between you and your horse.

What You Need To Do To End the Loop:

You and your horse both need to go back to basics.

For your horse: Focus on ground work exercises that help him lengthen and stretch his back, build his core strength and engage his hindquarters. Avoid using gadgets that force the horse to keep his head low. Force does not create relaxation and suppleness. Instead, set up a playground of poles and small cavalletti) that you can walk your horse through slowly and calmly.

Once your horse can comfortably negotiate these obstacles from the ground, try similar exercises while riding.

For you: Develop a secure, independent seat by taking lessons on a quiet, steady horse. Lessons on the lunge line are great for helping you become a more balanced, supple and aware rider. When your body and mind are tension free you truly open up two way communication with your horse.

You and your horse will both feel more calm and confident, when he has a healthy posture and you are relaxed and balanced on his back. That’s a true partnership.

The Bottom Line – The absolute best way to develop a true partnership with your horse is by building your confidence and trust in each other.

You can get your Free Instant Access to my report “The 3 Most Important Skills You Need to Develop Confidence With Horses” when you visit

Brought to you by Anne Gage of Confident Horsemanship ~ Putting you and your horse in good hands.

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