Assessment and a good kick up the bum!

Well the title sort of highlights my recent lesson with Russell Guire from Centaur Biomechanics. Russell is very knowledgable around the biomechanics of the horse and was involved in the testing of the Fairfax Products. I took my 10 year old horse Boomerang. He is working at Medium/Advanced competing at Elementary. I have had quite good success with this horse. We won the Area Festival last year and came 3rd at the Elementary Winter Regionals. We qualified for the National Championship but were unable to attend due to Boomerang not feeling quite right.

After investigation we found inflammation in the hind suspensory and therefore rested him for a period with treatments. Since then I have probably been riding him less gung-hoo shall we say and inevitably he has become less sharp from my leg. This was highlighted at a recent competition where he just was late to my aids.

With this in mind and the fact he can lack suppleness my objective with Russel was to see how we could improve. So it was an interesting session, as he puts you in a jacket that has lines on it so we can look at the alignment with you and your horse. He videos you both in motion and then shows you it on a big screen, he slows it down as well so it analyse's your every move!

The feedback was positive in that I am straight from behind and he said "you are doing a good job". However when it came to us warming up and then starting to pick the horse up it became very apparent very quickly how behind the leg he had become. We talked about slowing him down getting him to sit more and bringing his back up. Bringing his back up was something I had worked really hard at with him, but I realised I had sort of abandoned it for a while as I had become so fixated with his back legs etc. etc.

So it was a good reminder to me thats "it is so important to slow the horse down to give him time to flex the joints and bring his back up by using his core muscles" The thing is when you get this right the impulsion then comes and you can add a bit more power back in when the back is swinging and not just the legs running.

Russel also highlighted that where we sit on the horse is the most active part of the horses back, so if you aid properly through your seat the horse will listen. I have a tendency to lean back when I feel the horse get heavy in front, we discussed how this is not a good thing for the activity of the back either. Our horses back are so precious and so getting the saddle right and then us is just so important.

I would recommend a lesson with Russell if you are keen to look at improving your position. His knowledge on the Biomechanics is fabulous, and having attended many of his lectures I would really recommend them to.

The image is of me and Boomerang in Horse & Hound today. We won an Elementary at Cobham Manor Equestrian Centre.