Last week we had a very interesting clinic on Stigsberg Gård that focussed on the whole equipage. The clinic was a cooperation between Cajsa Ericson, physiotherapist on both rider and horse, Jimmy Inserte, a specialist in saddle fitting and myself (Mari), skilled in working with the rider’s seat. We worked together with two rider-horse combinations, one showjumping rider and one dressage rider. Around 80 motivated riders attended the clinic.

First step was to investigate the rider’s balance, symmetry, strength and flexibility by using a few simple tests. Both riders (Filippa and Viveka) managed to perform the exercises quite well. Jimmy talked about saddle fitting and the importance that the saddle fits first the horse but also the rider. After this, Mari and Cajsa worked with the rider-horse combinations. We started by checking how well Filippa could adapt to her horse’s rhythm by standing two strides and sitting one in posting trot. This is an exercise that also shows if the rider places herself over the horse’s point of gravity. The equipage also worked on transitions between walk and trot on a straight line and sitting trot and canter on a circle. We could clearly see that Filippa was more confident when working in the right rein compared to the left.

Viveka made nice transitions between walk and trot and trot and canter. We could however see that she needed to use her core a bit more to get a steady position in the saddle. And she also needed to relax her hips and thighs to make her horse move more relaxed and freely when riding in sitting trot.

The take home message
I believe that the “take home message” was that when an equipage runs into problems, it is often the rider that is the problem. It is however common that riders tend to blame the horse or the equipment. So, we all need to work on our position in the saddle and on our rhythm, balance, symmetry and flexibility both on and off the horse. It was a very nice evening with a motivated audience that had lots of questions.

Mari Zetterqvist Blokhuis