Teaching feel to a rider is hard. Very hard.
Teaching the proper mechanics of position is also hard, but not as hard. And since trainers have to teach you something because “just ride better” frankly doesn’t seem to cut it for most people, it makes sense to start with equitation and hope that somewhere along the line you put the piece together and figure out how to effectively communicate with your horse.
I mean, I get it. But that doesn’t mean that I like it.
And judging by the people who are succeeding at the top level of the sport, this whole position charade might be, well, just that—a charade.
Here are my top 10 reasons why I think I should just ride however the heck I want because it doesn’t seem to be hurting these fine folks.
1. You keep telling me my leg position in the air is crucial but…
2. Short reins you say?
3. Thumbs on top, schmumbs on top.
4. If you don’t want me to grip with my knee why do breeches have grippy knee patches?
5. Tell me a single thing wrong with chicken wings?
6. If Kent Farrington doesn’t need to keep his weight in his heels, then neither do I
7. YOU stop rounding YOUR shoulders.
8. Maybe I should lean up my horse’s neck, ever think about that?
9. Looking where you’re going always seemed overrated anyway.
10. About that leg…
Now, when you mention these obviously very valid points, you’re trainer is probably going to counter with something along the lines of, “When you ride a fraction as well and Meredith, Maikel or Kent, you can sit however you like!” But that’s just them being lazy. And/or right.