The first goal of the rider must get is balance. The development of balance is prerequisite for any equestrian education
Riding is a balance game of horse and rider. Two living beings are supposed ideally to find a common balance so that it appears to an observer as if they have grown together. The quietly and smooth sitting rider represents the ideal aesthetic picture of riding. But movement is not a fixed picture. To stand ‘still’ is impossible, you are constantly balancing anew on your horse. Therefore, posture doesn’t mean keeping still but rather balancing according to movement of the horse.
We must balance when riding, in the dressage seat as well as the forward seat. Balance is therefore not a definite and constant condition, but a very mobile dynamic activity which repeatedly reacts and needs to be created over and over again. This activity is defined as the minimum of movement and tension that is necessary to maintain a stable balance.
Theoretically, almost all riding mistakes can be classified as balance mistakes. Each riding fault leads to a disturbance of harmony and balance can no longer be correct. Horse or rider, one or the other, is out of balance. In order to find the right realignment, it is important to recognize where and why balance is lost.
Balance can be lost in all possible directions: to the front or back, to the side, opward (when being thrown out of the saddle) or downward (when falling off…).
To feel of one’s own body is not an objective measure. Many riders think that they are sitting straight, and only when they see themselves in a photo or a video they realize with great surprise that they hang over backwards, that their legs are pushed out of the front, an so on… To control our balance with the help of an istructor or a video is important for the development of a correct feel for our own balance and the ability to correct our posture when riding alone.
To sit in balance, while using a minimum of movement and strenght to stabilise the seat, opens the way for a subtle and sensitive application of the aids. To ride beautifully without using strenght and in lightness is a rewarding goal also for sake of the horse!
tracks taken from Susanne on Dietze ‘Balance in Movement’