How much weight should go in your seat? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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How much weight should go in your seat?

So, I may have had an epiphany, or I may not have. I'm not sure. I was reading a blog, actually about Thinline stirrup wraps and came across a paragraph by a Dressage rider.

"While I was taking a dressage lesson my seat was too heavy and I was sitting against the motion of the horse. My trainer used the analogy of standing on a trampoline. Of course you would want to do just the opposite: use the trampoline to NOT bounce, but it is true that I was not placing enough weight into my stirrups and was carrying too much weight in my seat thereby not allowing the horse to lift his back. As I began using my feet to carry more and more weight I noticed that I could actually sit the trot better."

Okay, so I have had REALLY bad trainers in the past. many of them said I had too much weight in my feet. I started riding with much of my weight in my seat bones and then letting my hips go with the motion. Cinny has issues raising his back which we have always attributed to other things, bad saddle fit, needs chiro, needs better half pad, etc etc etc. But I come across this and thing I AM THE ONE WITH SOMETHING WRONG.

So, fellow dressage riders. What do you think of the "trampoline" analogy? And putting weight into your legs and using your ankles as springs? Have I really been so off for so long? And have I been hinding it too well from my current trainer who is very reputable and really knows her stuff...a hard program to get in to really.

How do I know I have the correct amounts of my weight in the correct places in the saddle?
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 09:28 AM
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I think that what this rider is saying makes sense. Using your ankles like springs, when your stirrups are so long utterly makes sense to me. I also think it is true that too much weight in the seat equals a hollow back. I was always taught to sit deep, but I don't think they meant pushing my weight down into the saddle. I think sitting trot, with dressage length stirrups would be so much easier done the way this rider says.
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post #3 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 10:26 AM
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What this rider is saying is very true! You should have 60% of your weight in your stirups and only 40% in your seat. This is how my dressage coach explains it to me and that alone improves your horses movement and your riding a great deal.
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 11:29 AM
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I always try to ride "lighter" and more effectively with every muscle in my body. Ensuring my core is engaged every stride, ensuring that I'm thinking "up" with my back, thinking "open" with my hips, and being able to move WITH the horse.
You really have to find a balance; if you have too much weight in your seat, you're going to drive the horse's back down, but you don't want to get floppy in the saddle either if you start thinking about getting out of the saddle. You also have to be very careful, if you're trying to carry more weight in the irons vs the seat, that you're not starting to brace, which is a common fault. If you're thinking about keeping weight in the irons, you have to be very mindful that you're not bracing through the rest of your body.
I'm curious as to Kayty or Anebel's opinion.
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post #5 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 12:10 PM
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I've been confused about this as well but then I found the following article:

Rider Fitness Tip of the Month: Fixing Floppy Legs | EquiSearch
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 12:56 PM
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I think you should be thinking of carrying more of your weight "down" your leg, by thinking of your legs as going around the horse. what that translates to is having as much of your upper leg on the saddle as possible, so that weight is born on your seat and your thighs, with some of going down into your heels. you would never want to think of standing ON your stirrups, because you will end up pushing off from them with the ball of your foot, which tightens the calf muscle and brings your seat bone OFF the saddle. but if you think of it like . . . well, like trying to drag the bottom of your foot, with a bit more focus on your heel, along the ground, then by virtue of your weight going down into your heel, some of it IS born by the stirrup.
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post #7 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 01:30 PM
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If there is weight in the stirrups how is it possible to ride without them?

The stirrups are simply there to provide a platform to stand on a little during moments of difficulty. In normal w/t/c, lateral work, etc.. they are basically not required except to post the trot.

The weight bearing surface of the seat is not just the seat bones, but encompasses the whole area of the bottom and the thighs - from left knee all the way up over to the right knee. After that it is up to the rider to develop in their own body how to move with the horse. If you are ahead of the motion - think about leaning back. If you are behind the motion, think about kneeling into your saddle - press your knees down and bend them a little more.
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post #8 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
The stirrups are simply there to provide a platform to stand on a little during moments of difficulty. In normal w/t/c, lateral work, etc.. they are basically not required except to post the trot.
but stirrups are not required to post the trot. with a little effort and body training, you can post the trot easily without stirrups.
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post #9 of 20 Old 03-02-2014, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Anabel, I was actually going to ask that question next about going without stirrups.

But now I think I have more of an understanding of what everybody means, and it is hard to really describe. I've been doing a lot more work on myself in order to help Cinny and I as a team, and a lot of that is going back and REALLY getting a MENTAL understanding of what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. I think it will not only help me correct myself, but if I know they "WHY" I can better evaluate what a trainer is telling me and possibly keep from getting stuck with a trainer that isn't working for us again, if that makes sense. Not that I am in that situation now, my two trainers are awesome (don't worry, they are friends who work together).

From what I gather, I need to stop thinking of sitting "deep" in my seat as putting my weight into the top of the saddle with my seat bones. Instead round my back a little more (I tend to arch, no wonder Cin does too) to engage my core more, and let the weight go through my seat bones yet continue into the undersides of my thighs and use them for much of the support and "follow" for lack of finding a better word for it. It's not necessarily weight in the actual stirrup however enough weight that some of the center of gravity goes in to the heels...not braced but just enough to lower my center of gravity and creating more balance with my horses center of gravity as well as more stability in the saddle.

Does it somewhat sound like I understand right? Or am I still missing something? Not being snarky, just really want to change the way I ride to go along with the changes happening for the better with my Horse. I will not allow us to backtrack anymore.
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post #10 of 20 Old 03-03-2014, 10:31 AM
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I suspect the difference is that many people that think of having their weight in their seat, begin to just 'flop' into the saddle in an attempt to place all their weight into it.
It's not an overly simple feeling to explain in writing - doing it in a meal break during night shift isn't helping the cause! - but basically yes you want to put your weight into your seat, but still ride lightly. Many people weight their seat and ride heavy. As Anebel said, seat refers to the area from left to right knee, then your core allows you to ride lightly, staying with the horse's back.

Yes you can rise the trot without stirrups - but because you can doesnt mean you should. It encourages gripping of the knee and blocking the seat. Counter productive and essentially a party trick.

Sit deep but ride light, picture yourself sitting with the horse, being an extension of the horse's body rather than sitting ''on" the horse. A 100kg rider can ride lighter than a 50kg rider - it is all about their ability to feel the horse move and adjust themselves to match.
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