Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who knew?

I've noticed that horseback riding is an Olympic sport. I've realized that people devote decades of training to improving their skill at riding. However, knowing that, I still didn't think horseback riding was all that hard. I'm not amazing at very many things, I consider myself more of a jack-of-all trades, but the one thing I was always confident in was my ability to ride a horse. I've always been told I "have a good seat," and I can get most horses to happily do what I want when those same horses argue and fight with most riders. I've trained horses, and did a pretty awesome job.

This class I'm taking, Animal Science 268, Advanced Balanced Seat is, no doubt, kicking my ass. Riding in this class is not just sitting in the saddle and pointing the horse's head in the right direction. It's moving both legs and arms constantly. Squeezing and releasing with lower heels, keeping your inside leg at the girth and the outside leg behind, pressing and releasing as a specific hoof lifts off the ground. It's ten different ways of holding and moving your seat and each rein and leg and a thousand different combinations, and each one means something different to the horse. It's constantly moving with the horse, keeping him moving actively, even when he wants to move about a half a mile an hour for 75 minutes straight.

We ride twice a week and have a class lecture once a week. Some of my notes below.


Fall Management/Impact Force

momentum = velocity x mass

force = feet/seconds squared

Crash Management Strategies

The strongest tool is maximizing duration of impact. If you double the duration you quarter the force. So. Do that. Make the duration of impact last longer as you're falling off a horse. Don't be thinking what I usually do, "Crap! Crap! Oh, this is going to hurt! Ohhhh. It DID hurt."


How to get a horse to take longer steps? You need to tap the horse on the barrel, back from the girth. This activates the perniculous reflex. The perniculous reflex causes a horse to kick at his belly (in nature this happens when there is a bug on his belly), but in this case when your heel taps that area.


How do you get the horse, "on the bit?" (Traveling with his head perpendicular to the ground, exactly 90 degrees, although his head carriage is not totally the issue here.) Do you tighten up on the bit to pull his nose down?

Leg at girth = horse steps further up under the belly = increases carrying by pushing with the hindquarters = horse lifts and rounds back (rider has an active seat which facilitates this) = horse extends bit (reaches for the bit) = Creates more contact = Leg connection = Horse on the bit.


What four things determine a horse's value?

1 Training
2 Phenotype
3 Genotype
4 Personality


Interesting huh? Maybe not. But it is to me.

I guess this takes some sort of skill.

1 comment:

Tricia and Michael said...

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