For the last few months I have been riding a very sweet young Andalusian mare. One of the things she has taught me is to ride with a much looser leg.
Why would you want to do that and won’t it create less balance you are asking?
I am not talking about keeping my leg completely off, but rather keeping the whole leg soft and draped along the horse. The advantage is that I can feel her much better. I can feel if she gets tight on her sides, if she hollows under my inside leg in the turn, how her body moves. She in turn moves much more freely and relaxed, the softer I can keep my legs. It allows me to keep them more quiet as well. The more tension there is, the more my lower leg will bounce around.
What about balance?
Actually I think it creates better balance in your seat since your body weight works much more efficiently that way. Every time you grip anywhere with your leg – be it your upper thigh, your knee or your calf – you literally push yourself out of the saddle and away from your horse. Keeping deeper in the saddle also gives you much better feedback if you start to lean a little to the left or right and you will be able to correct it quickly and with minor effort.
No, it is not easy and if you own a big moving horse you might find it very difficult, especially in the trot. By the way I do this in the sitting trot, I think in posting trot some more contact with the leg will be hard to avoid. Try it in the walk and if you feel safe in the canter. If you have not read my blog about breathing – do so, you will find it essential to allow for those looser legs. Then start enjoying a more relaxed horse and a more relaxed you.
Let me know how it goes J