Home | Up


Home • Long-Term Soundness • Horse's Balance • DAP • Links

Harmony is born out of a genuine empathy for the horse and a compassionate awareness of the mental and physical impact of the work on the horse.

Riding Basics  

by Tonja Dausend © 2006


The first priority in riding well is to preserve and extend the useful life of the horse. In order to improve the horseís condition both mentally and physically the rider must be able to maintain a balanced, relaxed position, give clear, effective aids and have a thorough understanding of the horseís correct gymnastic training.

To some degree, every rider starts out tense, bouncy and out of balance, often with hands and legs that involuntarily ricochet. This causes the rider to be unintentionally rough and abusive. If the rider is not corrected the horse will get confused and upset and his training will degenerate. Furthermore, this unintentional abuse creates tension in the horse, which can be both physically and mentally harmful and is often seen in the horseís expression. The horse can only perform its best with a rider who has sufficient strength, suppleness, position, balance, coordination, relaxation, and poise to give clear aids without upsetting the balance of either the horse or rider. Ideally, the riderís entire physique should operate as a single entity with the horse.

On a lunge horse the rider can focus on the feel of a balanced, relaxed position without having to worry about guiding the horse or maintaining the tempo.

A rider with poise, who knows exactly which aid to use, in the smallest amount, at the exact time, to get the maximum balance and stress-free performance that each horse is capable of can be considered an artist. As an added bonus, the horse performs for an artist with enthusiasm!

A juggler can balance a stick topped with a plate and a monkey in the palm of his hand. As long as the objects remain in balance they will not fall. For example, if the monkey stands poised, the juggler can balance him with ease. It is not necessary for the monkey to be stiff, but it does help if the monkey is poised. Poise implies a stretched steadiness to the posture - Itís the same stretch that is used when balancing a book on your head.

Now, if the monkey were to wiggle around, the juggler would have to work harder at keeping the monkey from falling.

The horse faces this same predicament when asked to carry himself in balance with a rider on his back. Imbalances in the rider contribute to tension and imbalance in the horse. The horse can carry a rider most efficiently when the rider himself is poised and balanced.

So, before the rider can address the horseís balance most effectively he must first address his own imbalances.


 © 2002 By Tonja Dausend All Rights Reserved. May not be used without the express written permission of Tonja Dausend.




2000 - 2008 © Tonja Dausend  - Terms of Use

last updated April, 2008