Feeling secure and confident in your riding is what all riders aim for, and good flatwork is super-important to help you achieve it. Check out Pippa Funnell’s advice for boosting your basics
The first thing you might think of when you hear the term ‘confident rider’ is somebody storming round a cross-country course, but actually a confident rider feels comfortable in any situation, and this starts on the flat. Plus, many of the skills needed for jumping are established from correct flatwork, so it’s super-important to master it.
Having a secure position in the saddle not only means that you’re able to give your pony clear aids, but it also helps you to feel more stable when you’re riding. It’s easy to blame your pony for problems with your position by thinking, ‘his bouncy trot pushes me forwards’ or, ‘he falls in, which tips me to the inside’, but most of the time the problems come down to your core strength and balance, as these are the two main things that help you maintain a strong position.
Concentrating on your core strength will help you stay in balance with your pony as you’ll be able to support yourself rather than relying on him to carry you. Remember to always sit up tall, look ahead, and pull your shoulders back and down to allow you to open up your chest and engage your stomach muscles. Doing this every time you ride and maintaining it will naturally help you strengthen.
Find out more top tips from Pippa in May PONY magazine – on sale now!