Saturday 23 January 2016


"Heels down!", "Shorten your reins!" I'm sure we've all had certain instructions that our trainers have told us over and over and over again. What about when you're riding alone? Do you have a mantra you repeat to remind yourself of all the things you should be doing?

I use these kind of mantras all the time. I find it helps me to keep focused. Also the more I repeat something the more I develop the correct muscle memory so eventually I start to do it more automatically.

This week my mantra has been:
"Sit back, hands up, elbows soft, go with the motion"

I find it interesting that the same words can have different meanings depending on how you interpret them. "Sit back" might mean shoulders back to one person and sit deeper in the saddle to another. Whatever words work for you personally to know what you mean are what you can use in your mantra.

For me:
Sit back = Mostly means tip my pelvis back so I'm sitting more on my back pockets. Also shoulders back but don't arch my back.
Hands up = support the weight of my hands up in front of me, part of helping me keep my weight back and in a defensive position so I can stay relaxed if Kachina tenses. Also keeps me more centred from side to side if I bring my hands in.
Elbows soft = keep elbows bent and really think of my elbows being the joint that allows my arms to follow the motion and keep soft consistant contact with the bit.
Go with the motion = when I'm thinking of all the other things to do I can get stiff in my body so I use this to remind myself to keep my hips and joints soft to follow the motion of Kachina's back.

Of course there's a million things I can work on but I find 4 is a good maximum number to focus on at a time. I'll switch up my mantra every few rides based on what I feel is most important at the time. Sometimes they'll be more horse focused like "inside bend" or "keep slow rhythm", but lately I feel my position is what needs correction. So for now, "sit back, hands up, soft elbows, follow the motion"
No related photo so here's just
one of Kachina being cute

What about you, do you have a mantra? What is it?


  1. My mantra for the last few months has been "the horse is your mirror"! I have a tendency to get kind of fidgety with my aids when things aren't going *just so*, so sometimes it's helpful to just think about how the horse is mirroring whatever I'm doing!