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Riding the Anky way

Olympic dressage gold medallist Anky van Grunsven explains how you can improve your riding position

A correct seat is important, but a lot of the time riders are placed in an unnatural position, with the lower leg too far back. This is why many riders look stiff.

You need a relaxed seat. I used to be asked by teachers to put my lower leg further back, but if I do that, then I can’t sit on my bottom and use my seat properly. There is no way I could ride eight horses a day if I wasn’t comfortable.

The lower leg should be lying relaxed against the horse’s side, heels down – but not forced down – with toes in and the rider sitting on his bottom, not taking his weight on his thighs.

I only put my leg on the horse to ask him to do something, so my lower leg normally hangs a little bit away from the horse’s side.

The lower leg should only be moved further back as an aid for specific movements and the normal leg position needs to take that into consideration.

  • Don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine’s exclusive series with Anky van Grunsven, which began last week (issue dated 24 January). To purchase a back issue contact (tel: 020 8503 0588).
  • Read the latest edition of Anky’s diary in today’s Horse & Hound (31 January), or click here to subscribe and ensure you never miss another issue.
  • Click here to read more about Anky.
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