Issues staying even across the saddle, help!! - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-04-2011, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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Issues staying even across the saddle, help!!

As the title suggests, Iím having some issues lately with remaining balanced across my saddle/keeping it balanced.

A bit of background; my mare is obese from having 2yrs off. Sheís the type to gain weight at the smell of grass, and before I bought an electric unit, Honey had a disrespect for my fencing (she grazes outdoors 24/7 in a Do-It-Yourself kind of farm). Needless to say Iíve been battling her bulge for some time but have had difficulties riding as Iím a partially damaged rider, and spent a lot of autumn/winter unable to ride. Unfortunately my horse is mutton withered also and resembles a ginger barrel right now. My saddle is unable to find a place to stay put so to speak, itís not ill fitting but thereís just no definition to her topline, (because she doesnít exactly have one at present!) that her saddle can shift slightly to one side or the other. And she is naturally girthy/cold backed some times, and so I gradually due my girth up, and do a final adjustment just before trotting commences.

Whilst all these factors contribute, I know itís my own issue that is the main problem. As above I explained Iím a partially damaged rider. A couple of years ago (the reason Honey because a pasture puffball) I fell off in a freak accident and shattered my right leg. It took forever for it to heal and recover some strength in it. Iím still quite weak through it because I have an ongoing knee issue too, but I attend a gym regularly to assist the weight loss I gained and to strengthen my leg for riding. Iím much stronger than I once was, but there are times when Iím in the saddle and I *feel* like Iím putting weight through that leg, but Iím not, or Iím not putting as much as I am in my left leg, and thus we have the equation of Honeyís current weight and lack of definition + my poor balance equalling in the saddle shifting to one side.

I want to state quickly that my mare is not sore through her back or showing any adverse pain anywhere, but she is irked as I would be too, with the shift of pressure. Weíve just started trot work after a few walking only sessions and today I just didnít even realise I was crooked in the saddle, because I felt like I had a lot of weight through my heel/leg. Needless to say I was very embarrassed to look at the photos my non horsey friend took for me. I actually took up my stirrup on my left side cos it apparently was uneven, and still that was the longer side in all the photos.

Iím left wondering what I can do to assist this issueÖ of course Iím aware that the saddle movement is due to several factors, not just my inability to realise Iím uneven. But I just wonder if anyone has had similar problems, where they felt like they were even/putting equal amount of weight through both legs, and actually werenít. Are there any exercises I could do in the saddle? Iím at a loss and rather than hurting my horse, Iíd like find a way to assist her. I am limited by what ways I can ride her (I canít do bareback and I use this specific saddle because it helps with my leg than any other has and it has the potential to fit well after she loses the weight as my saddle fitter assured), but I know the only way that weight is coming off is by ridden work and 1-2 lunging sessions a week.

Thanks in advance.


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post #2 of 6 Old 09-04-2011, 03:04 PM
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Can you ride without stirrups? Normally I'd say to ride bareback because if you get uneven, you'll simply fall of, so it is a great teacher in that respect. But riding stirrupless is second best. Or just ride without the stirrup on the side that you tend to put more weight on. My trainer had me drop my right stirrup and boy did I feel how off center I was when we started cantering!

"He doth nothing but talk of his horses."
~William Shakespeare
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-04-2011, 05:26 PM
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I've found the most is revealed by dropping alternating stirrups. It becomes very quickly apparent which one is doing all the work when you alternate dropping them.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-09-2011, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I've been without internet during this period. Thank you both for your comments.

IslandWave; haha stirrupless riding frightens the hell out of me, but I have been trying a little at the walk. I already do know which stirrup I'm putting more weight into and have messed with the stirrups to fix it. In my last ride I was even the entire time and the saddle barely moved, which was relieving. However I do want to strengthen my right leg to the point that I don't have to have one stirrup up another hole etc. Will have to give your suggestion a go!

MyBoyPuck;
Thanks heaps. Again I'm very aware which one is doing all the work. In my last ride, I realised everything was harder for that leg to deal with. I just need to find exercises to strengthen that leg.

Thanks again everyone XD


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post #5 of 6 Old 09-10-2011, 02:18 PM
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I think many of us are uneven: you are like an exaggerated example. But many of us, especially as we get older, need to deal with "sitting crooked."

It's not only the legs-- I believe it starts with your torso. If you let your legs simply hang, are the seat bones equal in weight? Try to ride WITHOUT using your legs at all. Yes, it can be done. And you can school your horse to follow your seat more carefully, not rely on leg aids at all.

Every now and then I test myself: I hang onto the front of the saddle and at a (slow!) walk, I close my eyes. Try it-- it can tell you a lot about what your body is doing.

You can also do upper-body movements, like touching your horse's tail with alternating hands. Twisting and moving around will make your body more independent, your seat deeper, and perhaps you will not feel like you need to rely so much on your legs. You don't want your strong leg to try to compensate for the weaker one.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-10-2011, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beling View Post
I think many of us are uneven: you are like an exaggerated example. But many of us, especially as we get older, need to deal with "sitting crooked."

It's not only the legs-- I believe it starts with your torso. If you let your legs simply hang, are the seat bones equal in weight? Try to ride WITHOUT using your legs at all. Yes, it can be done. And you can school your horse to follow your seat more carefully, not rely on leg aids at all.

Every now and then I test myself: I hang onto the front of the saddle and at a (slow!) walk, I close my eyes. Try it-- it can tell you a lot about what your body is doing.

You can also do upper-body movements, like touching your horse's tail with alternating hands. Twisting and moving around will make your body more independent, your seat deeper, and perhaps you will not feel like you need to rely so much on your legs. You don't want your strong leg to try to compensate for the weaker one.

Thank you very much for this.
I have read
Centred Riding
by Sally Swift, and got up on my horse and closed my eyes. It was an amazing feeling, I really ought to practice all that more often!
My stronger leg is definitely compensating. I'm pretty sure that entire side is working harder than my right side is. I need to remember about my core too.
Thank you again, this has been wonderful motivation and something I definitely need to become more aware of again!


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