Q&A with a BC Rider Biomechanics Coach

girl sits in grey building petting her white horse

Rider biomechanics has emerged as a more effective tool to improve the rider’s position and positively affect the way that the horse goes. Learn about rider biomechanics from BC’s rider biomechanics coach Megan Wright.

BC Rider Biomechanics

What is rider biomechanics? What is the history of it? 

Biomechanics can be described as the muscular, joint and skeletal actions your body has while riding a horse. It is the way all these parts move together or independently while riding. Rider Biomechanics has been a part of riding history ever since Man decided to mount the very first horse. Different styles have been adopted over the years all in the effort to allow the horse it’s best chance to balance, relax and move in freedom while carrying a rider.

What training and experience do you have in rider biomechanics? 

My interest in rider Biomechanics started when I was fifteen years old and I participated in a clinic with Dr.Christian Von Stetton. I went to the clinic in hopes of working on flying changes and half passes, instead I spent most of the ride working on my rising trot! I was not impressed. I went home very frustrated and humbled. After I thought about it for a few days I decided to commit and give Dr. Von Stetson’s ways a try; I have never looked back. I worked with Dr.Von Stetton into my thirties and have enjoyed reading books finding online programs or riding with other instructors with expertise in Biomechanics. One of my favourite books is Rider Biomechanics by Mary Wanless and Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers. Both excellent sources for understanding how important our fascia lines are for riding Biomechanics. 

How can learning rider biomechanics enhance my effectiveness as a rider?

When we ride with good biomechanics we are not only able to stay balanced therefore not to hinder the horses balance we are also able to influence the horses balance, relaxation, suppleness and mobility. We can communicate more clearly with the horse and ride with a better feel. Good rider biomechanics will allow your horse to be more comfortable while being ridden and have a longer healthier riding career. 

How can learning rider biomechanics benefit my horse and its performance? 

Good riding biomechanics allows for you to have better control over your aids and a clear communication with your horse. This allows him to understand you and progress more quickly. One of our jobs as a rider is to stay out of the horse’s way. If we are crooked or unbalanced in our seat it can be difficult for the horse to perform fluid movements such as lateral movements, flying changes, or jumping over an obstacle. If a rider has imbalances in their seat, legs or hands I can imagine it is like a crowded room; there is so much background noise it is hard to focus on one conversation. If the rider is quiet and balanced the horse can then hear the whisper of an aid or signal. Horses are much more sensitive to touch than we are, they can feel every contraction of every muscle in our body. Muscles we are not even aware of. 

Is rider biomechanics difficult? 

That depends. Everyone is different and we all have our own asymmetries. The key to good biomechanics is having an instructor who truly understands fascia lines and which muscles to engage and how to fix imbalance both on and off the horse. Anytime we are correcting imbalances it takes time for the corrections to get imbedded in our muscle memory. We must be patient through this process but once you are taught to activate the right muscles or discover your imbalances the processes to good rider biomechanics can begin. 

Is biomechanics only for dressage riders? 

No, rider biomechanics is for anyone who sits on a horse. We owe it to ourselves and our equine partners to learn how to sit relaxed yet poised, stay balanced and give clear aids. Rider biomechanics helps both us as riders and our horses feel comfortable and prevent injury to both our backs. 

woman rides white horse in the lake

What common problems do you see in riders that biomechanics can fix? 

Rider biomechanics can fix so many things it is hard to list, but I see many riders that collapse or twist their hips which will affect all lateral movements, canter transitions, straightness and supplenesses. I also see many riders that sit too far back or forwards or round or hollow their back which affects the health of their own back and their horses back. 

Do you do work on the lunge line? 

Sometimes but it is not necessary for good rider biomechanics unless the rider is a beginner. 

Do you do clinics? 

Yes, if someone wants to organize a clinic I am happy to come and teach. I also offer lectures and body awareness exercises that can be fun to do in groups. I can also teach using pivo for those who have one. 

horse with black background

Do you have school horses I can use? 

I have some school horses but they are all under 14.3 hh. 

What are your lessons & training rates? 

For anyone trailering in to my facility in Armstrong or on one of my horses my price is $65.00 an hour lessons usually run over at least 15 min. Pivo lessons are $50.00. Clinics start at $600/ day for the organizer plus travel. 

Will you travel to my facility? 

I only travel for clinics and there would be a travel fee. 

How often do you recommend riders tune up their position and effectiveness with a biomechanics lesson? 

I recommend two to three lessons in a row and then giving yourself time to work on the exercises and imprinting them to muscle memory. Usually correcting one to three things at a time will give you better success. 

How can we get in touch with you if we’d like to arrange a lesson or host a clinic?

My email is meganwright740@yahoo.ca

BC Rider Biomechanics Coach

I hope that you enjoyed learning about BC Rider Biomechanics Coach Megan Wright! All riders can benefit from rider biomechanics. Your horse will thank you, too! Megan is based in Armstrong, but travels throughout BC to teach clinics. If you would like to organize a clinic with Megan, be sure to get in contact via email.

I am a BC equine photographer. I specialize in photographing the connection between horse & rider, as well as fine art equine portraits. To see more of my work, click here. I’d love to work with you!

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