Riders can quite often be working far too hard in the canter doing what I call ‘rowing’. This usually occurs with riders on lazier horses but I have seen it happen even when there isn’t a big need for energy.
“Rowing” – excessive forward and backwards movement of the body, often accompanied by movements of the seat usually in an attempt to drive the horse forward.
In canter the riders shoulders will rock slightly but it is quite small amount. Riders that row with their body tend to be trying to compensate for the horses lack of energy and are attempting to ‘keep the horse going’. It is important to remember that the horse should go from your leg aid and then continue going forwards until you tell it to do otherwise. By moving/driving and shoving with your seat you are making it harder for the horse to do the very thing you wish. It is important that you stay as still as possible, upright, and that if you want the horse to go forwards only your leg should get involved. Driving with your seat will only drive the saddle into the horse’s back, cause him to hollow and disengage the hind legs.
Don’t let the horse con you into doing all the hard work 🙂 See my other article ‘Stop Using Your Leg‘
Here is another question you can ask yourself when you ride, the answer to which I will write another article for, is “Do I rock from vertical to forward, or do I rock from vertical to behind the vertical?”. The answer to this question could very well be the difference between a horse being more on the forehand and a horse being in balance!
If you like these articles and would like to support my work check out my latest book Master Dressage Edition 2 which is currently storming up the Amazon best seller charts and is now 2nd to the Valegro book! My book has received over 50 five star reviews and contains a whole section on typical rider mistakes in the ‘Understanding’ chapter.
Read more about it in the link below:
Rowing in Walk
Riders row often in walk too, but this is usually the result of shoving with the seat which I talk about in the chapter on ‘Understanding’