Position of the rider and imperceptibility of aids
- #work in flat
The importance of the rider’s position in Classical equitation: pills from L’Hotte ‘Questions Equestres’
The rider should be one with his horse – in harmony – and should let the horse execute the movements.
It is especially important that the rider be in harmony with his horse during changes direction. He should neither precede nor follow the horse when he changes direction. He must accompany him.
The riders who practises Classical equitation must understand that these nuances will result in a greater harmony between him and his horse. The rider’s seat must be almost welded to his saddle and, thus, to his horse.
Movements of hands and legs must be imperceptible. No spectator must ever be aware of the use of his aids.
In other words, the rider must never bring attention to himself. It is the horse who executes the movement, who is the showpiece. The rider must merely harmonize with the showpiece.
The horse uses his neck the way an acrobat uses his balancer to restablish his balance. A horse, above all when executing a difficult movement or when he jumps a fence, must be given total freedom of his neck. His instinct alone guides him in a difficult endeavour.
When inexperienced riders are involved in jumping, instead of lowering their hands they usually raise them, for fear and stress. The rider, when approaching a fence, must follow three words: seated, legs close softly to horse and hands low and gentle.
One of L’Hotte basic principles is: ‘Calm, forward, straight’ which the author feels should be underscored for the benefit of each and every pupil.
The horse’s forward movement must be free and positive.