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Is there such a thing as a natural (horse) rider?

May 02, 2021
HRM - Is there such a thing as a natural (horse) rider?

Is there such a thing as a natural rider? (meaning someone who was 'born to ride') - not in my book.

Of course, some people have more 'natural' balance/strength/agility/coordination, etc. than others which means that they tend to pick up riding skills more easily than others, but riding horses is not a natural thing in the first place, so it stands to reason there cannot be such a thing as a natural rider.

It is far better (and more liberating) when you understand that there is no such thing as a natural rider

Because saying that there is implies that if you were not 'born to ride' you have no chance of ever becoming a good rider.

In fact, most people can vastly improve how they ride with the right training. Everyone can achieve their own brilliance if they do not measure themselves against others (which is the problem with competitive riding).  I have no problem per se with competitions as long as people do not feel like a failure if they do not win - because we do not all start off from 'a level playing field' in the first place!

Riding well comes easier to some people than others, as I said, some people just naturally have more balance/strength/agility/coordination, etc. than others, but that does not mean that we cannot all ride better. In fact, I strongly believe that having other skills, such as a strong desire to learn and improve is far more important than having 'natural' skill.

So much is discussed and written about how important it is for a horse to be straight, supple, balanced, and relaxed. You need to make sure that you uphold your part of the bargain, by working to be the best rider you can be. Whatever your riding interests, whether you ride just for fun or to compete (or both), it is important that you ride to the best of your ability.

It is a combination of achieving the best position and balance that you can, with the body that you have. Not everyone of course can achieve brilliance but everyone can strive to improve with what they have to work with.

So even if you have previous injuries and/or actual disabilities (which many if not most people do - especially as they age) there is usually quite a lot you can do to improve your riding and improve the welfare of your horse.

Position and balance when riding are extremely important if you want to become the best possible 'passenger' for your horse. This does not mean becoming an inert body that your horse simply has to carry, but instead becoming as fluid but secure as possible, learning how to move with your horse rather than against them.

With the right training, instead of constantly practising riding incorrectly, you will be practising riding correctly. This is a really important point, because the longer you ride incorrectly the harder it is to undo that behaviour and 'muscle memory' (not impossible mind - just harder).

At my riding school (that specialised in adults) new clients sometimes apologised for being 'self-taught' rather than having lots of lessons in the past. I actually saw this as a bonus, most of the time, because unless someone has had the 'correct' training in the past they have usually been drilled to do the 'wrong' things (such as force their heels down etc.) and this takes time to overcome.

Being trained correctly and constantly practising the correct movements makes for a better horse rider

As new habits are formed and the correct muscles develop, the attention of the rider can be switched, in turn, to developing higher levels of skill that will benefit their horse and themselves.

Good training will allow you to focus on what you need to do now to make you a better rider in the future.

So find a trainer who makes you feel positive and keeps you moving in the right direction, but does not make you feel bad in those times when you are not.

Look out for a future article about choosing the right coach.

How can you learn more?

Make sure you sign up for this HRM FREE 23 page PDF checklist 10 Common Position and Balance Checks for Riders. Start learning how to be the best rider you can be.

About the checklist:

''Working through this checklist was enlightening to say the least - really great.'' Sarah Harrison

Make sure you like my Facebook page Dressage Tips and Tricks

Learn more about the HRM approach here or have a look at the Horse Riders Mechanic online Course and iron out all those rider biomechanic problems that are really holding you back.

About the course:

''This course has enabled me to make great progress with my riding, I never knew most of this stuff, even though I have been riding for years.'' Angie Brown

''The value of this course is astounding Jane, for less than the price of a private lesson with you (which was brilliant by the way!) I have been able to work through the whole course in my own time and make rapid improvements. I cannot thank you enough! June Watson

Jane Myers - AKA The Horse Rider's Mechanic