Riding with my seat, not my hands.

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Riding with my seat, not my hands.

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  • Dressage how to lighten my seat
  • Riding with the body not with the hands horse

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    05-27-2009, 10:40 PM
Riding with my seat, not my hands.

Read Title: My BIGGEST problem. It's not too bad, but it's what I want to start working on asap.

What are some things I can do to accomplish this? And better yet, how exactly should I ride with my seat? I know to slow down a posting trot I can slow my posting and whatnot, ha ha. And I totally understand the concept of it, and have some of the basics of it down. But I kinda just need an explanation... you know?

My horse has a tenancy to be very forward moving and likes to GO. He does have breaks though.
I just want to be able to slow him or stop him with as little rein use as possible.
How can I do this?

I will be getting a dressage trainer, and I will be picky about this trainer.
I don't want to be learning the wrong or incorrect way. But until I find the right trainer I want to start working on this on my own. Any suggestions,tips, or explanations?
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    05-28-2009, 05:27 PM
Your first question: Tips on riding with your seat, not your hands?
Little half halts, or small but frequent squeezes of the rein will help keep your horse's pace slower and more even. You know the basics: sit all the way down, good posture.

Your second question: How do I slow/stop my 'forward' horse with as little rein as possible?
Again, try half halts. When you yank, he will fight back, and want to go even faster. To slow him, do little tugs again, he'll want to listen to you more because your movements will be subtle but clear when doing half halts. If you are doing a dressage test, and have to completely stop at a letter, you will get points off if he takes awhile to stop or takes extra steps. So lean back and down, squeeze the reins and of course, as always, keep your thumbs on top.

Hope that's what you meant and that it helped, good luck!
    05-28-2009, 05:38 PM
    05-28-2009, 06:26 PM
I'm lurking on here because I have the same problem and didn't have any intentions of posting but...ponygalmaddy--would you care to elaborate?
    05-28-2009, 08:44 PM
I agree. What the point of posting if you're just going to post "......"?

And lefty, I do and can use half halts, and they're effective. I'm just looking for something that will help me learn how to slow him without having to pick up contact on my reins at all you know? Ha ha. It is definitely great advice and something I can continue working on. :] Thanks!
    05-28-2009, 08:54 PM
Originally Posted by Gillian    
Read Title: My BIGGEST problem. It's not too bad, but it's what I want to start working on asap.

What are some things I can do to accomplish this? And better yet, how exactly should I ride with my seat? I know to slow down a posting trot I can slow my posting and whatnot, ha ha. And I totally understand the concept of it, and have some of the basics of it down. But I kinda just need an explanation... you know?

How can I do this?

I will re post what I told someome else and maybe it will help.


Sitting trot is my nemesis...

Have you ever watched the sport of rowing ? Way back when the oarsman would sit in a conventional static seat and used his shoulders to pull the oar through the water to propel themselves forward.

Then someone came up with a brilliant idea and constructed the seat that they sit on so it would slide. This sliding motion was more in tune with the motion the oarsmen were using and gave the person greater power over the motion of his upper body.

Think of the horses back/saddle as two sliding seats. The horse has a diagonal motion when they trot with each set of diagonals going forward alternately. What this does is move the muscles on each side of the horses spine forward and then back alternately in rhythm with the diagonal trot. What you have to do is think that you are sitting on that oarsman's sliding seat in an alternative motion....NOT and up and down motion. If you allowed each side of your seat bone to follow that sliding seat the horse offers you will also find that your legs will touch the horse in an alternating motion also.

The problem with losing the stirrups is that most riders are trying to ride an up/down motion when it is actually an up forward down back motion. If you lightened your seat and opened your pelvis,sitting very slightly behind your pelvis and allowed your legs to accept the forward back motion ( it feels to your legs like the horse's belly is swinging left/right) then when the belly swings to the left side...your left leg will close on that belly (not griping) and gently push it back to the right side with the right leg doing the same. So now your legs have a job to do and the funny thing is once you make an effort to give them a job they seem to do just fine....all by themselves.

Start slow to get the feeling then add speed a bit at a time.
    05-28-2009, 08:56 PM
David O'Connor gave a great clinic not that long ago teaching his clinitians how to use their seats to obtain rhythm control gait control and how to be functional.

He rode a clinitans horse, and was able to bring the horse from a canter to a trot all just by using his seat and then from the trot into the walk all just by using his seat. And finally to the halt.

It is about over exaggerating your seat to the fullest.

Ok, so when you are at the canter. Allow your seat to slide, or shammy your saddle with your horses motion. And now start to slow it down. Breathe out, relax. Rock onto your seat bones, lean behind the verticle and think sloooooooooooowwwww.

Eventually your horse will start to grasp what you are doing, if you are doing it correctly - and will move to the motion of your seat.

Now at the trot - while posting. Really over exaggerate your rise. I mean, to the point of standing up in your leathers and crotch over pommel on the up, hold it for a split second, and then when you back down hold it for a split second. Start to slow that motion down, still while over exaggerating your movement - think sloooooooooww. Breathe out, relax.

Your horse will move down to you slowing your seat.

Then at the walk. Allow your seat to rock with your horses motion, slooowww it down though by thinking sloooowwww.

When you accomplish this - trust me, it'll take a while - but when you do, now you've figured out how to use your seat. Then you can apply that, to daily riding.

That isn't the be all and end all solution, but while on your own - you'll have that huge stepping step taken, ready to move forward. You'll get great dressage tips from others here!

I do this when I ride Nelson - it is allot of fun!
    05-28-2009, 08:58 PM
Great post Spyder!! You must of posted while I was.
    05-28-2009, 09:14 PM
That's a really interesting idea, Spyder! I've been lurking here too, cause this is my biggest problem too!

Excellent post, as always, MIEventer.
    05-29-2009, 07:57 AM
Great posts you guys! I totally get what both of you are saying and I'll give it a go the next time I ride. Thanks!

It helped to have the explanation.
Kinda confirmed what I thought was the way to go with this.
I love all the good advice on this forum.

PS... Zeus will be home today!
So hopefully I'll get to ride tomorrow.
As long as the rain stays away that is!

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