A good sitting and riding posture is essential, riding asymmetrically (slipping to one side) is not uncommon given that we are left or right sided dominant. The important thing to note here is that the extent of this riding asymmetry can have adverse and progressive effects on the horse’s health and performance. These weight shifts may confuse the horse, as not only is your weight lopsided whilst on its back the force put through the stirrups is different too. Interpreting these weight shifts can challenge the horse to apprehend what is meaningless and meaningful.
How can you quickly check for an asymmetry in yourself?
Body weight squat
- Start standing barefoot with your feet shoulder width apart
- Squat as deep as you can (you may put your arms out to the front)
- Look for if your feet turn out, one knee moves inwards, one hip ‘hikes’ or ‘shift’ etc
- Simply stand as you normally would
- Look for if your feet are turned out, one shoulder higher than the other etc.
If you notice an asymmetry your body has already compensated for this, potentially if this asymmetry continues to be unchallenged then it could lead to health issues (in your back, hips, knees etc) but don’t forget that you will also be most likely be riding with this asymmetry!