Slowing/regulating the pace with your seat? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-21-2012, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Slowing/regulating the pace with your seat?

I'd like to ask some advice as per the thread title really. I had a lesson on a friends horse yesterday who does beautiful flatwork and I was horrified to discover that I tend to 'hang on' to the inside rein too much. He was a fantastic schoolmaster who just refused to go until I let go so it was very apparent when I was making the mistake. My instructor also kept telling me to use my seat to slow the pace.
Transferring what I had discovered to the mare I ride regularly I'm beginning to realise I'm causing the issues we're having such as inactive hind, tension and generally not wanting to maintain a contact particularly in the transitions. I tried very hard tonight with this in mind to ride inside leg to outside hand with soft inside hand just asking for flexion then softening as soon as she gave it. My stumbling block was trying to use my seat to slow her, basically nothing I tried seemed to work and on a softer, longer contact she just got faster in trot till I ended up using the reins again to stop which again caused the head to fly up and we fell into walk rather than forward into walk.
I realised no one has actually told me what I'm supposed to be doing with my seat to encourage the horse to slow and it is very likely I'm doing the exact opposite of what you should do.
Can anyone help me on this, I'm horrified about the inside hand issue now its been made clear to me but unless I get the hand of slowing with the seat I resort back to it.
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-21-2012, 07:27 PM
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For starters, aren't school masters the best for learning?? I rode one once who wouldn't budge a step if any part of me was in front of the vertical. It was sit up straight, or we're standing still.

I wish I had a good way of describing how to use your seat, but it's a very elusive concept to explain and is a hit or miss lightbulb moment thing for new riders in terms of finding it. It does have to do with engaging your core muscles and using various levels of core resistance to affect the horse's tempo. It's along the same concept lines as the half halt.

For me, it was easiest to learn by playing with different levels of core resistance at the walk creating longer and shorter walk strides, and then attempting to transfer it to the trot. Hopefully some of the more dressage-y experts will weigh in with better info.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-21-2012, 11:59 PM
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Pretend that you're connected to the horse's spine. You need to sit deep because you're connected to his backbone, right? Feel every stride, almost like you're floating on small waves on a surfboard. You never are disconnected from the water. Remember that the horse follows you, you don't follow it, so don't just sit in for the ride. Control the ride, and FEEL the horse's strides. If you want the horse to slow down, (while keeping the activity, of course) then deepen your seat, MAKE YOUR SEAT SLOWER, and keep your butt softly connected, every movement, every 'wave.' Ugh, hard to describe, but hope this helps. It does for me :)

Last edited by louvre; 02-22-2012 at 12:02 AM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-22-2012, 03:29 AM
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That reminds me of a thread I started a while back on exactly, and I mean exactly, a person does to achieve this frequently said < "deepen your seat".

In any case, I like your saying that you ride the spine, and that you bring the horse to follow you, not you follow it.

However, while learning to ride, we must first learn how to follow the horse's motion in order to then be able to mold it into following us. We have to know how to ALLOW the movement through our seat in order for us to slow, disallow or increase it by seat.

That's why I like Pucks ideas to work on moveing with the horse at walk, then seeing if you can bring the horse to and with you as you slow the walk, by disallowing it to move as much forward, then open up your hip and core and allow the movement,

The better the horse can feel the difference between you allowing and disallowing, going with and not going with , being "on" and being "off", the more effective each position will be. sometimes the problem can be that the rider is not ever "off" enough so that being "on" doesn't feel much different to the horse.

So, building both the ability to go with the horse, really , (this is being "off"), and make graduated change in your body to the "on" position , such that the difference between the two is sharpened by you, the rider, being better at both of them.

ETA, I dont' think I was very clear, but by "on" I meant actively applying a/some aids. And "off" meant accepting the horse's repsonse to the aid and basically coasting in nuetral until the application of the next aid. IT's being quiet.

Last edited by tinyliny; 02-22-2012 at 03:33 AM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-22-2012, 03:41 AM
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I have the inside rein problem too on the left hand side- I broke my shoulder and don't have full movement, and it makes me very stiff!

You know what my trainer did.. took my reins, undid them, and brought my inside rein to the other side of the horses neck and made me ride like that, with both reins in my outside hand.. you soon learn that the inside rein is beneficial for 'direction' so to speak.

Try riding with your inside hand fore all the time, loose rein, and contact with the outside rein, inside leg. Its easier said than done, but practise and be really aware of it at all times.

Slowing the work down with your seat is another one. Whilst rising, slow your rising down.

Your half halt on the outside rein should be in time with the inside hind leg coming through and under the horse- if the leg is on the floor, you can't make any change or effect to it then. Slowing your rising helps as a mental image, and leave your legs long.

You want to make sure when you slow it down, you don't loose the impulsion from behind- another reason as to why the horse may throw its head up, as you're loosing the connection and what is driving the connection. Try to think in your head that your calf muscles are lifting the horse's trunk.

Good luck.
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