Bit against the grain but have you tried shortening your stirrups? I have an AP saddle that puts me in the most awful chair seat until I shorten my stirrups to jumping length and then my position is acceptable.
Thanks for the very interesting suggestions! I hadn't thought of most of these, but it makes perfect sense.
I have the forward-flap A/P because the trails I ride have a lot of obstacles over steep, rough terrain, and we do a lot of centering and some light jumping over obstacles. I spend a lot of time in 2-point, and I find I can do a very balanced 2-point in this saddle (plus I'm really comfy in it, and so is the horse). That would make sense. If it's designed for a good 2-point, the sit-down position might not be quite optimal. I should try to get a pic of myself in the 2-point on it to compare.
I had never thought of shortening my stirrups. That seems counter-intuitive, but it certainly isn't difficult to try!
I can tell my next ride on the wide-body is going to involve a lot of experimentation. This will be fun. I think I'll learn a lot. Good thing my mount is a patient boy.
I ride western and I get all sorts of things with my wide body!! Chair seat, legs sticking strait out on sides. I asked my husband after looking at pics he took of me, I said OMG! What is wrong with my feet? They stick strait out, omg my posture is horrible. He was the one that pointed out that my horse is a tank and its just him. LOL!
Chair seats happen bc you need to work on your should-hip-heel lineup, and shouldn't be affected by the width of your horse. I owned "Trogdor" (2004, RIP) AND "Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP) and rode them both frequently. Trogdor (TWH)was 16'2hh and had a wide back. Corporal was a slim, 15'1hh Arabian. My seat didn't change.
Here is how to fix it.
Pretend that you are a Native American on your war pony and riding a saddle that you stole from the US Army, but the stirrups aren't there. Seriously, THIS is the natural riding position. Let your legs hang down and your toes point naturally down, too.
Practice riding in the arena without stirrups and work on a VERY DEEP SEAT. After about 1/2 an hour you should start feeling heavy in the saddle.
When you pick up your stirrups again watch your TOES. If you can see your toe than it is too far forward and you are riding with a chair seat, your weight behind the vertical. Keep checking your toes. They should slip backwards just behind the point where it can peek forward for you to see.
It's ALL in the practice. Happy practicing!! =D
I think a certain amount of chair seat is unavoidable if the horse is so wide that it would force your hips into a very unnatural position to try and force the leg to be more vertical. That's why when people look at a wide horse and say , "he must be really comfy to ride, he looks like a pillow" , they are wrong. A really wide horse is often much less comfy to ride than a more narrow horse.
You look fine on him and if he is not objecting, then just ride.
Chair seats happen bc you need to work on your should-hip-heel lineup, and shouldn't be affected by the width of your horse...Seriously, THIS is the natural riding position..."
A lot depends on the rider, horse, and saddle. The natural riding position is one that doesn't fight gravity. That means your butt should be in the lowest part of the saddle, and your stirrup straps vertical.
With my western saddle, that WILL mean a chair seat. With my jump saddle, it means a mild chair seat - although it is my favorite saddle for 2 point. With my Aussie-style saddles, it also puts me in a mild chair seat - about heel-belt buckle alignment. I don't own a dressage saddle, but I would like to try one someday to see if it puts me in a hip-heel alignment. I'm guessing it would - on a narrow horse.
When I took up riding at 50, I always had a chair seat. 40 years of daily jogging gave me such tight hips that no way - no how would my heels ever align with my hip. 4 years of regular riding has loosened me up some.
But on a wide horse, with MY body, trying for hip-heel alignment would force me to squeeze with my knees. I do enough of that already! And that is, IMHO, a much worse fault than a chair seat.
The only horse I've ridden bareback put me in a chair seat as well. Based on ancient Greek art, I don't think I"m the only one...
JUST MHO, bsms. Take it with a grain of salt. Re: your examples, the first is Ancient Greek, ~500 BC and it an artist's depiction with poetic license with the human and the horse. The 2nd is an Ancient Roman frieze (sp?). If you straighten that one out, you will see the shoulder-hip-heel that line up correctly, as the Romans didn't ride with stirrups, and prided themselves on their illusionist artwork. Stirrups happened after the Mongol invasion bc they invented the stirrup. The 3rd is probably an ancient Roman or Greek coin. I'm thinking that the rider's leg had to line up with the body of the horse so that there were fewer pieces of precious metal sticking out that might break off. Therefore, the bent leg. Coins were minted from gold and silver mostly then, and truely worth their weight.
I don't care if somebody wants to ride with a chair seat, unless they are my riding student.
I've worked very hard on my own seat to get rid of the tendancy which I think most of us have.
I don't think using a dressage saddle "puts" you in the right alignment. You still have to work at proper positioning. Doing the warrior pose stance helps stretch the hips and thighs and really got my hips to open up without killing me all the time.
Actually, you would have to tilt the roman horse into a 45 deg nose dive to get hip-heel alignment. The ancient world wasn't concerned with scientific accuracy in art, but I'd be hard pressed to find any examples of them riding in "the natural riding position". Which, if it was truly natural, is something we wouldn't need to work toward.
If I sit relaxed on a fence rail, my heels would come under my hip, and my toes would be aligned (mostly) with the fence rail. If I try to straddle a 50 gal drum, my thighs will go forward, my feet hang under my knees, and my feet will probably be turned out. That happens when I switch from a skinny horse to a very wide one also.
I don't think using a dressage saddle "puts" you in the right alignment...
I meant it in terms of saddle design. If the stirrup bars are too far forward of the lowest part of the seat for an individual's body, then gravity will keep pulling their feet forward. Jump saddles tend to put the stirrup bar further forward, because they are most concerned with balance when a faster moving horse is jumping. All other things being equal, a dressage saddle should have the bars closer to the deepest part of the seat, to encourage a hip-heel-shoulder alignment.
One sees the same thing in western saddles. A cutting saddle tends to have the stirrups hang forward, forcing a chair seat. A WP saddle would keep the stirrups closer, to encourage heel-hip alignment.
My youngest daughter insists on riding a western saddle that is way too big for her. As a result, she has a huge chair seat that prevents her from posting discretely. Her posting is like a jack-in-the-box, but that is forced by the too large saddle she insists on using. A smaller saddle with the stirrups set closer to the deep part of the seat would do wonders for her riding - but what does a Dad know? Compared, I mean, to a 14 year old girl?