Horses move pretty well on their own. Add a rider and they have to carry us AND balance themselves. Add a rider who is crooked? And you start to see it reflected in your horse.
Some horses are more forgiving than others. My Trakehner, Kroni, was a horse who insisted that you ride him correctly. My trainers always joked with me that they knew exactly what I was doing wrong, because he showed them. I didn’t always appreciate being ratted out, but he did make me a better rider.
Freedom always makes me look good because he’s very sensitive and he’s tuned into the way I ride him. That doesn’t necessarily make me a good rider, just a consistent one. I’m lucky, too that he’s so balanced. It covers a lot of flaws.
Zelda is somewhere in between. She spent a good deal of our first few months together teaching me how she likes to be ridden. However, she has a tendency to get one sided, and that asymmetry shows up in how her saddle fits. Right now it’s slipping a bit to the right, which means 1) I need to be extra careful on how I balance, 2) I need to shim the saddle very slightly, and 3) I have to build up her right side so that she’s more symmetrical.
These nifty diagrams and explanations were posted by trainer Niall Quirk on his Facebook page.