The posture of upper body and head when riding
Upper body is very important for balance when riding. The ideal posture of upper body and head in dressage and forward seat
The upper body of a good rider expresses elengance and calmness. It balances without apparent effort, vertically and horizontally to the horse’s back. And no matter what the horse’s movements under the rider, the upper body is always part the movement, as if grown there. In the riding theory we can find observation criteria for assessment of the upper body posture. We should be able to draw a perpendicular line through the points of ear, shoulder joint and hip joint. When we look closely, we can see that the upper body is never totally still but incorporates itself into the movement of the horse. Another basic rule says that the hips of horse and rider as well as the shoulders of the two should always be arranged parallel to each other. It means that the rider should always adjust his upper body to the direction of horse’s movement.
In the forward seat the upper body leaves the perpendical line, and is titled forward. The tilting happens exclusively in the hip joint. The spine doesn’t alter its position. Concurrent with the tilt forward, the weight is balanced over thighs and knees. The centre of gravity of the rider should coincide with the centre of gravity of the horse. How far the upper body is inclined forward, and how much contact the seat has with the saddle, depends on individual situation and on the horse. The forward seat is thus a dynamic and adaptable seat, which can adjust very well and very quickly to the most different movements of the horse. Therefore, when developing more speed in the canter, when gallopping or jumping, the forward seat is a must for rider and horse. The forward seat should always have a forward tendency. Getting behind the movement is fatal for the balance of horse and rider.