[RIDER’S POSTURE TIP] Make gravity your BFF

Rider's Posture Tip - Connection Down for stability - ©2016 Emily Clark TheSuppleRider.comI show riders how to create effortless, free posture in and out of the saddle. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at the Oregon Equestrian Trails (OET) Statewide Roundup. The first point I mentioned was the importance of gravity for stability.

Gravity and stability

This comes as a surprise to lots of people, because most of us think of gravity as a bad thing, especially in terms of our bodies—”giving in to gravity” and “letting gravity take over” both sound negative. We’ve been taught to sit up “ramrod straight”, but free and easy uprightness isn’t possible without a connection down to the earth.

I was reminded how important this is when I heard from one of the OET audience members, Wendy Kerns, a few weeks later:

“When I was riding my horse the other day, I was really concentrating on my center of gravity and my horse tripped and fell down to his knees. I was centered and didn’t move an inch out of my saddle! It was wonderful, I wasn’t even jarred when he tripped!”

“I always thought I needed to squeeze in my stomach to be balanced and centered but you taught us [to bring attention to our] center of gravity. It was wonderful so thank you so much!”

Connection down for stability

What Wendy put into practice kept her safe. Here’s how easy it is:

  1. Locate your center of gravity (COG)
    When you’re sitting in the saddle at the walk your center of gravity is your solar plexus. Find it by putting a finger on your breast bone and following down to where your rib cage ends and there is a soft hollow. (Your center of gravity moves slightly depending if you’re sitting or standing, but for now think about your solar plexus)
  2. Focus lightly on your COG
    Remember that your center of gravity is inside you, not on your front or back, so bring your attention to the point inside you at the level of your solar plexus. For women a good point of reference is your bra line.
  3. Use your mind to connect down
    Think of your COG spot connecting you down to the ground. You can imagine a plumb line going from your COG to the ground if it helps. Next, allow the connection to get even stronger by imagine the plumb line going down below the top soil, through the all the layers, down to the center of the earth.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do. Just bring your attention to your center of gravity for a few seconds, and remind yourself to come back to it as you ride. Pretty soon it will become second nature.

COG standing

If you want to find your center of gravity standing, find the spot inside you 2 inches below your belly button. Just imagine the connection down as you did before to the ground, the basement of the building you’re in, and the center of the earth.

If you want individualized help with posture, pain or stiffness, you can connect with me here. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

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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