Oh, to ride like Mr. Zeilinger

I’ve just spent some of my morning watching Rudolf Zeilinger clips. Anytime I can watch him ride, I do! He is the quintessence of an effective rider. Because rider bodywork is all about supporting the body’s effectiveness on the horse, it seems watching Rudolf Zeilinger ride from time to time is a must.

Here, Rudolf is riding the dark bay along side a student:

One attribute I admire about his riding is his supportive use of the body. In this instance, the use of his upper and lower back stood out.

As you know, I have spent some extra time posting poses that open the upper back and help to stabilize this area of the body. Developing stability in the upper back allows the rider easier access to the use of their lower back while in the saddle.

How does this work?
When engaging that upper back, opening the front body and pulling the shoulders down and back, we automatically align our spine which makes it that much more stable and effective in using the rest of our body.

Why does this matter?
Because the use of the lower back gives the horse a great deal of information. It also give the rider a great deal of stability.

An overview of benefits of an open upper back that connects well with the lower back:

  1. Clearer communication with the horse
  2. Stability in the saddle
  3. Effectively keeps the horse in front of the leg
  4. Allows for effective use of the aides

Here is a sequence of 3 poses that serve two purposes. Taken from the Sassy F.L.A.B. handbook.

1. First, to open and stretch the front body

2. Second, to strengthen and stabilize the upper back

Pose for stabilizing the upper back.

Great sequence for stabilizing the upper back.