Between Facebook and Instagram people have been really excited about this picture.
check me out, embedding stuff on my website
Apparently you love my posture. I'm by no means a posture expert, but I thought I would share some of the things I think about to improve how I look on a horse. In that picture I would love to see my heel drop a half inch so that it is level, that would in turn tuck my behind under a bit and give me a straighter back. It is actually a touch too arched, works for posting but that ain't going to absorb any bounce in the sitting trot. Instead of just thinking 'lean back' I like to break my body down into several smaller parts. To keep my shoulders back and chest open I think about my boobs as headlights (thank you Mary Midkiff). Can't see the road if they are aimed at the ground can you?
To keep myself stretching taller (a big challenge when you can't actually reach 5'4" on a measuring stick) I think about a string coming down to my head attached to a sky hook. Basically it is just pulling me up towards space or at least to what ever level of the atmosphere you people who can reach into top cupboards exist in. Not only does it keep me stretching up it helps contribute to a sense of lightness as well as keeping tone in my muscles.
I really work to keep my hip angles open. This again keeps you taller, as well as stretching your leg down into that nice long dressage position. The more comfortable you get with that open hip angle the longer your stirrups will get, eventually. This really stretches and feels great, once you get past the pain of your hips literally screaming at you. To open that hip angle I push my seat a little closer to the front of the saddle and then try to aim my knee down. If you are on your own two feet and do some lunges the leg that is behind you will get a similar stretch. You can think about both legs being behind you when you are in the saddle. While you don't actually want them there (see bucking picture above), thinking about it will help you get to where you do want to be. While opening your hips you will have to tuck your behind under you. I can't comment for those of you with not so much junk in the trunk, maybe you don't have to consciously do that, but I do.
As you can see from the pictures I obviously still need work, but hopefully some of these little mental images will be useful to you guys. To help with the leg stretching down the horse I use the image of a pine tree growing upside down (thank you Sally Swift), the trunk comes out of your hip and grows towards the ground. That said, you don't actually want your leg so straight that you can't cue your horse. So I add in thinking about hugging the horse with my legs. I want to walk like an old bow legged cowboy when I get off. Are leg bones bending into the shape of my horse's side? Even better.
The last posture item I will mention for the day is hand and arm placement. I think we all tend to let our hands get too close to our laps and legs from time to time, I mean why carry our arms when our legs can do it for us? I like to think about carrying a giant beach ball in my arms. This does so many things. It keeps your hands up, your elbows bent, your arms unbraced and your shoulders back, thumbs up to keep that ball from rolling away.
Obviously I'm tipped forward here and that beach ball would not actually stay put, but at least my hands are decent.
Oh, I almost forgot! Brought to fame by Alyssa and Aimee, this how to stop looking down (which I obviously need help with in these pictures). Pretend there is that certain part of male anatomy (that they tend to be wildly proud of) in between your horse's ears, because as Alyssa says, 'Ain't nobody want to be caught looking at that!'