GRACE AND FOOT FALLS
To move in a graceful way with our horses, whether it be next to them or on their backs, our bodies must stay in motion with no parts that are static, braced, or held. This is a tall order and the epitome of “staying out of their way.” To do that, we must be in harmony; in concert with our horse’s footfalls. Again, this will be exaggerated at first, but we will refine it as we get more connected and comfortable with the movement.
While every horse’s motion is his own, there are certain commonalities with all horses. For the finer details, you will have to feel, and it surely helps if you have some trained eyes on the ground.
This work should be done on every horse you ride, and often, just to notice changes in you and in your horse’s movement as our bodies change. And change they do! As we get more educated, as we change horses, change equipment, as we get older, grow, or have pain, injuries or new levels of fitness and awareness.
I’ll call our arms our “front legs” and our legs our “hind legs”. The goal here is to get our front legs in time with our horse’s front legs and our hind legs in time with his hind legs.
Now I promise you, this is another one of those uncomfortable places of not understanding yet, and it will be equally as uncomfortable if those watching you don’t understand why you are moving so much; they’ll want you to be still.
Truly, the way to stillness is through movement.
It’s just that your stillness will be through movement, and so connected to your horse’s movement, that you will look and feel like one being rather than like a horse and his rider.
From Chapter 7 in the upcoming book – Unbridled The Heart of Graceful Horsemanship