“Ride From Within” is a unique riding philosophy and method developed by James Shaw. James brings a set of totally unique life experiences and knowledge coupled with a special gift of sight that takes him and his methods into the extraordinary.
James has been teaching riders all over the world in every discipline at every level for 20 years, his methods not only transform people’s riding, they transform people’s lives. James himself does not have a riding background, he does ride and can ride very well but his background is in the applied study of the genius design of the human body in relation to balanced movement and his passion is to help people and horses. There is so much more to the horse and rider partnership than just pure mechanics and ‘Ride From Within’ improves that partnership on every level; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
James Shaw’s knowledge comes from the application of ancient, almost forgotten principles that govern movement. From these principles he has discovered a whole new paradigm in riding, a completely new and fresh way of seeing it that comes from a deeper understanding of rider biomechanics that goes way beyond the widely accepted and popular understanding of how the body moves.
Strength and Leverage vs. Receive and Re-direct
In 20 years of observing riders with his exceptional gift of sight, James has witnessed universally and almost without exception that all riders are taught to KEEP their balance on the back of a horse not BE balanced with the horse, there is a HUGE difference between the two. James Shaw would like to challenge convention by stating that most of us do not understand what being balanced actually is and therefore most riders keep their balance on the back of the horse using the strength of the big muscle groups and leveraging the horses spine rather than using a different approach to BE balanced.
Most riders use strength and leverage against the horse to hold themselves in place over the centre of the horse i.e. on top of the power, rather than receiving the energy of the horse and joining with it to become one. Sitting in this way over the centre of the horse, on top of the power, means that the rider has to be always keeping their balance separately from the horses’ balance which results in lack of connection and lack of fluid movement.
So nearly all riders sit over the centre of the horse, holding themselves in position with tension, tension which results from using the opposing large muscle groups of the legs, abdomen and upper body. That very tension which keeps their balance, blocks the forward movement of the horse. The rider’s tension is absolutely and perfectly mirrored in the horses’ body and that tension impedes its free forward movement and natural balance. The very strength and tension that riders use to keep their balance is the very thing that blocks their true connection with the horse, meaning it keeps them separate from the horse’s energy rather than becoming one with that energy.
This approach to balance leads to using more and more strength to get what we want but our strength fails us because we are pitting our strength against the huge strength of the horse. In other words when the horses’ free forward movement is blocked and our horses stop going forward and we don’t know the root causeis in our own bodies, as our strength fails we then resort to the quick fixes of the spur and whip and the increaseduse of force.
The horse usually provides plenty of forward energy but because the rider has to brace and hold to keep their balance against that forward energy, unbeknownst to the rider they brace against the very forward movement they are trying to create. Because it is unknown to the rider, horses are seen as being unwilling, unable or disinterested in going forward. The opposite of that is the horse which runs away from the tension. In this case, the rider can only increase strength and tension to hold the horse back, usually using strong bits and tack to help. In both cases, the results are extremely detrimental to the body of both horse and rider in the long term.