"Chair seat"
 
 

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"Chair seat"

This is a discussion on "Chair seat" within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Horseback riding chair
  • Chair to Ride horses

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    10-20-2012, 04:29 PM
  #1
Foal
"Chair seat"

Is it really that bad? Does it matter in a non-judged environment?

As a long time dressage rider I've had the whole "You should never see your toes infront of your knees!" thing drilled into me. Yet as I find myself moving into eventing I see quite a few very good rides who adopt a chair seat for their cross country phase. (Many of them have a slight chair seat in dressage and jumping phases too)

One of my friends is an endurance rider who also does some very scary trail riding. She rides in an Austrailian stock saddle with a definite chair seat. If she can post in a chair seat for 100 miles and pass every vet check, is it really that hard on a horses back? (When done well?)

Would love to hear people's thoughts on this. Do you ride shoulder-hip-heel or with a forward leg? What discipline? What do you think are advantages or
Disadvantages to either style?
     
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    10-20-2012, 09:40 PM
  #2
Trained
I personally would not experiment with a chair seat long enough to see if it really hurts my horse's back. I figure there's a reason why saddle seat horses go around with hollow backs and giraffe heads. I would say it is important to ride in correct balance for just that reason...balance. Without it you cannot be an effective rider. I do find that most chair seats are due to saddles not really fitting the rider well and not any type of rider position flaw. In that respect it's easy to correct.
     
    10-21-2012, 12:30 AM
  #3
Trained
Australian saddles are designed for a bit of a chair seat. No, it won't hurt the horse's back.



It isn't good or bad. It just depends on what you are doing and why. I find my mare tends to calm down a bit when I adopt a bit of a chair seat (pic below). It is good if you anticipate quick stops, or unexpected stops.



For a tight turn, heels under hip works better.

Jump saddles normally put the stirrup bars a bit farther forward than a dressage saddle. Below is a picture of Gen Patton in a 'military seat' for jumping:



The picture below was taken from a George Morris book where he used it as an example of good riding:



Notice if you drew a vertical line at the stirrup, almost half of her weight would be in front, so she is balanced just slightly behind the stirrup.

Here is how I figure it - and I'm not a trainer or instructor or an anything, so take it FWIW - I think the stirrup strap should be vertical and your rump at the lowest part of the saddle. If you do that, you are riding the saddle the way it was designed to be ridden. If you anticipate any unplanned stopping or just want to stretch your legs, stick your feet out a little. It will help you get your heels down, too. If you want to spin or make a tight turn, bring your heels under your hips so the horse is free to pivot under you. If you want to excel in a particular sport - jumping, dressage, reining, etc - do what your teacher says, or what the folks who are champions do.

Oh - and western saddles are really designed, in most cases, for a chair seat:

     
    10-21-2012, 08:32 AM
  #4
Green Broke
The straight up and down position, as well as dressage was originally designed around fighting with a sword and lance from the saddle, not necessarily covering ground.
     
    10-21-2012, 03:18 PM
  #5
Weanling
I consider it my Emergency Seat.

If my horse is getting out of control I tend to hunker down and my short legs go forward. I feel more secure. I was initially taught in the "military" way.

So I'd say it favors security over influence. (Can't use your legs when they're out in front!)

As for hurting a horse's back, I believe it depends on where your balance/weight is, not where your legs end up.
     
    10-21-2012, 06:25 PM
  #6
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
I personally would not experiment with a chair seat long enough to see if it really hurts my horse's back. I figure there's a reason why saddle seat horses go around with hollow backs and giraffe heads.
AFAIK it's because saddleseat people think it's pretty.
     
    10-21-2012, 11:03 PM
  #7
Weanling
I'm so happy this post was made! I was going to make the same one!

Riders in slight chair seats seem more secure. If that's the case, I want to ride in a slight chair seat 95% of the time. I'd rather be safe and 'glued to the saddle' than have a perfect alignment for... what? Who said that was "correct"? I like the military riding... there had to be a reason they rode that way.

Feel free to enlighten me.
     
    10-22-2012, 12:12 AM
  #8
Weanling
I think people who ride gaited horses tend to use the "chair" sitting because it helps the horse gait correctly. I tend to ride in a bit of a chair seat because I am more secure, and we ride some pretty rough trails. I'm not trying to be picture pretty perfect, I want to be safe and in unison with my horse. Don't care what others think is "correct".
     
    10-22-2012, 12:13 AM
  #9
Yearling
I grew up, till around the age of 13 to 14 learning to ride with a “chair seat” it wasn’t called a chair seat, it was just how you rode; but then I originally learned the good old ozzy style of riding. When I learned to ride a horse properly I learned, from the person who taught me to ride properly, to refer to that way of sitting in a saddle as “sitting like a busted a@# ringer (ringer is Australian for cowboy)” or alternatively “sitting like a sack of sh%^ in the saddle”. And during my time spent working on cattle stations around Australia I saw some pretty extreme examples of it. Probably the most extreme I saw was the manager of a huge cattle station near Darwin who rode like he was sitting in a recliner chair, like a lazyboy, he had his feet so far forwards if you stood in front of his horse you could see the soles of his boots, it was as if he was marking out for a bronc ride or something. And the other thing that usually goes with it is that people tend to ride with their lengths at least two or three holes too short. The main reason I was always taught to do it was so that you could jam your legs under the knee pads of the saddle and so be constantly wedged in the saddle in the event that it bucks or shies at something. The main criticisms I would have of it it that it puts you in an unbalanced position in the saddle, and you can't sit on your pin bones, but actually back on your backside, also it prevents you from getting your legs wrapped effectively around the horse (but then when I first learned the good old busted a@# ringer style of riding the idea of using leg cues was unheard of so I guess that didn’t matter so much); and it is much harder to relax and actually move with the motion of the horse when you are jammed in the saddle like that all day, hence why some people probably find it can give their horse a sore back.
I will say here however that I am totally bias and think the traditional Australian bush stile of riding is a total load of rubbish and I would recommend you sit with your heels as close under your hips as you can.
     
    10-22-2012, 12:14 AM
  #10
Yearling
I grew up, till around the age of 13 to 14 learning to ride with a “chair seat” it wasn’t called a chair seat, it was just how you rode; but then I originally learned the good old ozzy style of riding. When I learned to ride a horse properly I learned, from the person who taught me to ride properly, to refer to that way of sitting in a saddle as “sitting like a busted a@# ringer (ringer is Australian for cowboy)” or alternatively “sitting like a sack of sh%^ in the saddle”. And during my time spent working on cattle stations around Australia I saw some pretty extreme examples of it. Probably the most extreme I saw was the manager of a huge cattle station near Darwin who rode like he was sitting in a recliner chair, like a lazyboy, he had his feet so far forwards if you stood in front of his horse you could see the soles of his boots, it was as if he was marking out for a bronc ride or something. And the other thing that usually goes with it is that people tend to ride with their lengths at least two or three holes too short. The main reason I was always taught to do it was so that you could jam your legs under the knee pads of the saddle and so be constantly wedged in the saddle in the event that it bucks or shies at something. The main criticisms I would have of it it that it puts you in an unbalanced position in the saddle, and you can't sit on your pin bones, but actually back on your backside, also it prevents you from getting your legs wrapped effectively around the horse (but then when I first learned the good old busted a@# ringer style of riding the idea of using leg cues was unheard of so I guess that didn’t matter so much); and it is much harder to relax and actually move with the motion of the horse when you are jammed in the saddle like that all day, hence why some people probably find it can give their horse a sore back.
I will say here however that I am totally bias and think the traditional Australian bush stile of riding is a total load of rubbish and I would recommend you sit with your heels as close under your hips as you can.
     

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