Fran Griffith – Rider Biomechanics Coach
Master Instructor ISRB
Rider Biomechanics can be divided into 3 distinct components, the biomechanics of the human, the biomechanics of the horse and finally the biomechanics of the horse and human combination – rider biomechanics.
Biomechanics of the Horse
All horses are asymmetrical. They are born left or right footed and are naturally crooked and front heavy. This isn’t a major problem if the horse is never going to be ridden but in order to carry a rider without undue strain, the horse needs to develop a strong back, be equally strong and supple on both sides and learn to carry more of his weight on his hind legs. Therefore the horse needs to be taught how to improve both its balance and straightness – its biomechanics, without the hindrance of a rider. This is achieved by working with the horse on-line, in hand and lunging.
Biomechanics of the Rider
All humans are asymmetrical. We are naturally left or right handed and as we grow older our asymmetry increases. Most of us collapse more on one side, stand with one shoulder higher than the other or place more weight on one foot than the other. In addition to our asymmetry, all too many of us are overweight and lack muscle tone which exacerbates the asymmetry. To remain healthy and certainly to become better riders we need to take responsibility for our own bodies, become aware of our posture, and work to improve our suppleness and balance. This can best be achieved by Pilates.
Biomechanics of Horse & Rider Combination
Finally we look at the horse and rider combination. We look at how the rider’s body can influence the horse’s body, either intentionally or unintentionally and how the horse’s body can affect our position. Horses mirror their riders, so if we can ride in self carriage – then self carriage can be achieved by the horse, if we block the movement of the horse’s back our horse cannot collect. One of the simplest ways of seeing how your body can affect your horse is by having a Posture Assessment session on PI.
Conversely, the reverse is also true, if the horse is hollow backed and tense it will have a major impact on the rider’s position and make it much harder for the rider to find true alignment.