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.


5 poses to correct posture problems while at work.

Ouch! Nothing worse than a rib that pops out of place.

After many days of necessary work done at my computer, I have been spending less time riding the horses and more time flying a desk.

After two days of overlooking incorrect posture at my desk, it got the best of me and now my upper back has had enough. In response to such atrocious posture, my rib has displaced itself.

Our lives and our jobs have a tendency to send our bodies in a forward motion. Hunching over your computers while progressing through a pile of work, walking to your next task, leaning forward in your car while trying to get through traffic and even riding a circle trying to figure out an exercises your instructor just gave you are all examples of this. In our attempt to focus, our bodies tend to cave a bit in that focused intensity.

Forward is good! However, hunching into your forward work is not. As you move forward through your tasks during the day, think about opening up as you move forward. You may find you enjoy the scenery around you as your focus opens up as well.

I have put together a few very simple poses to do in-between desk workouts for you professionals out there having difficulty getting away from your computers.  (I know, I’m clearly not at my office desk. But what good is a picture without a horse in it anyway? Meet my lovely Penelope.  My 4 yr old dressage hopeful!) These poses work best for me when I do them every thirty minutes or so throughout my computer working days. They are designed to open up your upper back, stretch your lower back and legs and remind you to engage those abs!

5 poses to correct posture problems while you sit.

Defeat the desk job slump! Open up while working.