Co-ordinating With The Balance Point Of Your Horse: The Nervous System In Movement

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We’ve been working through a movement arc series in JoyRide that explores the difference in how the body moves between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, and how it is we can create intention maps for movement that allow us to best harmonise with our horses when we are riding.

The possibilities for your horse in movement exist only within the range that he is balanced; our job as riders, then, is not only to facilitate balance in them in order that they can carry us without compromising themselves, and to ensure that our balance point matches theirs.

The balance point at any one moment in time is related to your centreline, and finding the balance together involves understanding where and how your horse’s centreline moves in space so you can coordinate together in movement. This is what the essence of the movement arcs revolve around.

This is a photo of Merc doing a movement called a neck rein turn, which is something you see often in the school of Legerete. Here, the flexion is to the left, but the direction of travel is moving right, with Mercs head and tail moving on the same line, within the same arc, like a dial turning.

The position of the head and tail informs which arc we choose to shift the centreline on, and in this particular instance, my intention is to shift the centreline on the transverse plane in a best effort to sync up with Merc’s balance point.

In the movement and riding practices I teach, we work to the principle that the structure of the body and how it organizes itself in movement is the domain of the autonomic nervous system and thus outside of our conscious control.

What is in our conscious control, however, is the intention we have for the movement, the taking of the action, and the observation of that action.

So as I perform a movement with my horse I have:


  • Clarity on the movement pathway I want my body to take
  • I create the intention for the movement
  • I allow the movement to happen (again, without controlling HOW the body does the movement)
  • I observe how far away the outcome was from my intention


This process is the essence of how the brain learns; a process of endless action, observation and course correction that is an alchemy of conscious and unconscious processes.

In this way then, every movement is a success. As long as I am clear on what I am trying to create, I cannot control the outcome. I can only allow myself and my horse to explore the process with the understanding that our efficiency and proficiency will increase as our brain draws us our intentions and our outcomes closer and closer together.

An endless adventure of curiosity.


❤️ Jane

In JoyRide we are actively exploring the Movement Arc practices that allow for greater harmony and ease in the saddle (and get you out of the fight/flight reflex patterns so many of us are stuck in!). Click here if you want to read more about it!

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