Welcome to RidingByDesignTM!
Our goal is to develop a horse’s poise, by helping him to build a stronger back, in order to improve performance.
Horses are designed bio-mechanically for what they need to do to cope in their natural environment. It is our introduction of unnatural lifestyles and the physical demands of riding/driving that impose additional stresses which make it crucial for us to have the attitude, ‘Do No Harm’. We want to minimize the stresses so that we do not just cope in our chosen areas of interest with the horse, but actually excel in them! There is nothing like the joy of beholding a mentally and physically healthy team during their performance, whether in the back yard, at work or in a competition.
“Riders and trainers who appreciate the responsibility they have to ‘Do No Harm’ when they ride or drive horses, are eager to develop the skills and gain the knowledge needed to train the horse well. Training him well to carry a rider means helping him to discover levels and qualities of poise, strength, flexibility and adaptability that he rarely needs in a natural (untouched by humans) state”.
–Lesley Taylor, BALANCE International
Bodies are an engineering marvel. They are designed for movement. That is the purpose of having so many joints and the huge number of possible articulations. Bio-mechanically correct movement works with the design of the body so that it is used in its most efficient and least stressful way. Bodies can move in many ways that are not consistent with their design, but repeatedly doing so causes stress and damage.
Strength is only developed once there is suppleness and suppleness is not compromised in the building of strength. Suppleness is achieved when each body part is allowed to do the work it is able in a bio-mechanically correct way. It may seem that we have to go backward to find a place where suppleness is possible. If that is the case, then that is where we start. We build strength from there by doing the movements only in a supple way. Moving repetitively in only a supple way then developes into an ease of doing the movement which is strength. This process is repeated for every advancement. At first it seems like a bit of going forward and then back but, the ease and strength that are the foundation of the simple movements then start to show their leverage. They are a powerful foundation for more advanced work of any type provided, it too, is developed in the same way.
The environment of the horse needs to support the ongoing soundness of the whole horse and the individual structures. The environment of the horse includes the interaction of the rider and the influence of the saddle. It also includes anything with which the horse and rider comes into contact. A negative environmental influence is one that has a detrimental effect on the horse or rider. A supportive environmental influence is one that allows the body to heal itself and keep a state of health.
Another exciting aspect to this work is that even when we do not see any major impairment in a horse, if the same principles are applied, it is almost stunning how much better the performance can be. It is a case of readjusting our expectations and raising them a few notches because we can go there. And yes, the horses can be that good!