Can this muscle affect your riding performance?
The short answer is 100% yes! ✅
This is one big muscle that can have a huge affect on your riding position and biomechanics. It’s called the Psoas Major and it’s main function is to flex the hip, but it also plays a part in holding your posture as part of your core. It can influence your lower back hips and pelvis position when riding because of its attachment to the lower back and thigh.
If it’s tight it can cause your lower back to over
arch , rotate your pelvis forward and flex your hips (seen in picture 2 on the right). You may find your shoulders tipping forward too.
Your pelvis is crucial to control motion in the saddle as it accommodates your horses movements. So if your position is altered from a tight psoas it can affect your ability to find an independent seat, sit on your seat bones and apply leg aids effectively. You may even find sitting trot hard as your position will make it harder to absorb the movements from your horse through your pelvis.
So why did they get tight? Often muscles get tight because they are weak. Overactive muscles can fatigue and tighten, which can be related to a subconscious effort to provide additional stability in the saddle - especially if your core is weak and or uncoordinated. This can frequently be a cause of lower back and hip pain.
If your riding posture to similar to the first picture then don’t panic this is something that can be altered... and your horse will love you for it too!
Check out this video to help you start to stretch and strengthen your Psoas Major: https://youtu.be/uw5AY256NzM