Braced Posture In the Saddle and What to Do About It

BracedGraphicHorseback riders know upright posture in the saddle helps them ride better. But being able to get there without becoming rigid can be tough.

When riders first come to my Alexander Technique practice, I often notice they have braced posture rather than a slump. They’ve been told to “sit up” but haven’t been instructed how to get and stay upright without strain, rigidity and pain.

Have You Noticed…?

  • An exaggerated curve in your low back
  • Pain or strain in your low back

Beneficial vs. Harmful Curves

Gentle back curves are beneficial and act as shock absorbers for the spine. An exagerrated low back curve (when you see yourself on video, for example) rolls your pelvis forward and energetically cuts your torso in two. This makes it hard to move in sync with your horse.

Tip: Spine Roll

You’ll need:

  • A chair, such as a kitchen chair with a firm seat

This technique won’t work as well with a soft upholstered chair because it’s harder to feel your seat bones.

  1. Sit on the chair with your feet flat on the floor and your arms dangling at your sides
  2. Feel your sitting bones underneath you
  3. Starting with your head, let your spine roll down, vertebra by vertebra
  4. Your back will curl into a C-shape as your spine continues to roll forward
  5. With your seat bones still on the chair, let your head and arms hang down toward the floor
  6. Enjoy the gentle stretch of your back
  7. Breathe out the stale air in your lungs through your mouth
  8. Close your lips and let the air return through your nose
  9. When you’re ready, start rolling back up, vertebra by vertebra until you’re seated upright
  10. Notice your seat bones in contact with the chair, imagine your neck lengthening and your head floating up off the top of your spine

What do you notice now?

Does your back feel freer? Perhaps your pelvis is more upright instead of curved forward. Try the Spine Roll before you go to the barn or after you get home. It feels great!

How to get help

If you’re looking for individual posture help or back pain relief, contact us for a chat about your situation and how we can help.

About Emily Clark

Feel free to use this article in your newsletter or on your website or blog. Just make sure to include the bio and link below at the end of the article.

Emily Clark, of TheSuppleRider.com, is an Alexander Technique Certified Instructor who teaches horseback riders of all disciplines to eliminate pain and improve their posture so they can ride as one every ride.

She’s worked with equestrians for over 11 years. She loves working with riders because they’re so passionate about what they do.

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