Old Habits

My worst habit as a rider is leaning forward. Maybe sometime I can blame saddle position, or my background in huntseat, but mostly what’s to blame is a bad habit of defensive riding.


The very first time I came off a horse it was because the horse reared and I went over backwards. That left a lasting impression and a defensive habit of hunching forward — which, we all know, doesn’t actually help.

However, more recently, I may have found something that actually scares me more than going over backwards, and that is a horse tripping and falling on me. I’ve had several close calls and one outright trip, fall, and lawndart me. And now I’m starting to wonder if it’s not the horses but me, if my habit of riding too far forward is overweighting them on the forehand. Granted, some have been repeat offenders, but I can’t help but wonder if I contributed.

(Probably a “by he grace of God” thing that Mimi, for all of her daisy clipping, has actually not been any of the close calls.)

It’s going to takes lot of work since this is a lifelong habit — when I’m centered in the saddle I actually feel like I’m leaning back, and what feels centered is actually tipped forward. And it’s also lazy riding — properly centered really engages my core. Guess I’m going to develop those core muscles one way or another.

I’m the worst when I’m holding a horse back — lazy core, so I brace my legs and against the reins and end up hunching forward, versus being effective and strong via the core muscles.


This is probably one of those times when going to a trainer or taking some lessons would end up being useful, just so I can have other eyes on me to remind me to do all of those proper things.


As one former instructor used to colorfully, indelicately describe a rider hunching forward: “You look like a monkey screwing a football.” (Since I was all of 10 years old at the time I was riding with her, fortunately she never actually directly used that descriptor to/with/at me.)

Blunt, but effective.

Maybe I should tape a little football to the top of my pommel pack as a reminder?


One thought on “Old Habits

  1. oooooh, me too! me too!

    We call it “pre-emptive pillbug crash position” and for me it’s the residual left from ridding Mr Untrustworthy for thousands of miles combined with crummy core strength and lousy posture.

    And my solution was/is twofold: the Dragon has always been Trustworthy, if nothing else. And I spend winter months in lessons. I’m not fixed yet but I’m better.


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