Maintaining your balance and your breathing are two keys to successful riding, clinician Peggy Brown told the Culver Academies Horsemanship honors class during her visit last week. Using the Centered Riding technique, Brown helped students fine tune their techniques for controlling a horse through a relaxed body and other non-verbal cues.
The goal of Centered Riding is provide the purest and least complicated way for a rider to connect to a horse. Brown said it is important to understand how the brain and the body are connected, and how that connection is translated to the horse.
The steps include:
- Balance: Aligning your body for improved balance, sitting straight in the saddle, and moving easily.
- Centering: The importance of finding your center of gravity and maintaining it at the lowest possible point. It is similar to other athletic activities and the martial arts in providing strength, harmony, and power.
- Breathing: Using deep breathing for correct posture, relaxation, and energy.
- Soft eyes: Viewing the landscape like a horse creates visual and physical awareness, especially better peripheral vision. Humans and other predators have “hard eyes,” designed to focus on one detail. But focusing on one detail can cause the body to stiffen, which the horse can sense.
Centered riding not only helps the rider and horse make a better connection, but it also more comfortable for both, Brown explained. This makes riding and training easier and more enjoyable.
Brown met with several classes during her three-day visit and did a special evening presentation for the Lancers and Equestriennes. She is the wife of Ben Brown, a 1972 Horsemanship graduate of Culver Summer Schools & Camps.
For more on Centered Riding technique, go to Anatomy in Motion.