Ask Francis: What is the secret to soft hands?

WOW Sponsored rider, Francis Whittington answers a Facebook fan’s question about keeping hands soft.

Q. Francis is known for having very soft hands (which is always so nice to see). I appreciate there is no simple answer to having such a ‘giving’ style but could you please ask him if it came naturally to him or was it something he spotted as a youngster in his pony days and developed ? Marc Melander

A. I was lucky enough to receive training from some amazing trainers when I was younger. They were tough on me and if I got it wrong they made it clear!

One person who helped me with my style of riding for cross country and show jumping was my show jumping trainer. Most will have heard of him as he is the current boss of the British Show Jumping team, Rob Hoekstra. I had a lot of training from Rob as a kid. Starting when I was 6 or 7 years old. Although I don’t see him that often now as he is so busy, his words and advice still play an important part in my riding and understanding of how I should ride. It was important to use body control rather than fight with the hands. To teach the horses to listen to our body and allow the horse the hand when needed. There are obviously times where it is necessary to take a firmer contact and I’m sure you will see the odd occasion at Badminton next week. For me there are three basic points to remember. Rhythm, Balance, Control. You only ever need two of them to achieve the third!

Francis Whittington riding SIR PERCIVAL III

If you have a question for Francis then get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.

About firstthoughtequine

First Thought Equine manufactures original and innovative equine saddlery products, including Flair, the Air Flocking system, and WOW saddles. Our mission is to produce products that will improve and enhance equine performance. We have achieved this through testing, field trialing and prototyping over many years on all types of equines, in all disciplines. http://www.flair.uk.com

Posted on April 27, 2013, in News, WOW Saddle News, WOW Saddles, WOW Saddles and Francis Whittington and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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