shoulder position in hunt seat?

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shoulder position in hunt seat?

This is a discussion on shoulder position in hunt seat? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Positioning a hunt saddle on a horse
  • Hunt seat horse shoulder placement

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    09-02-2011, 01:50 AM
shoulder position in hunt seat?

I am currently giving riding lessons to a young lady (14 ) whose background instruction so far has been lots of group lesson in huntseat and jumping. I have her riding either in Mac's western saddle, or more often in his dressage saddle, but either way my approach to riding is closest to a dressage foundation.

Anyway, today while she was circling for me at the canter and doing one wee little crossrail (this was her reward for all the hard work I had her doing earlier) , I kept see her canterin in half seat and sometimes two point with her upper body twisted somewhat to the outside and her inside shoulder advanced over the outside one, markedly. She was moving nicely with the lateral movement of the horse's inside hip, but I kept having to remind her to turn her upper body to line her shoulders up with the horse's shoulders.

That got me to wondering if in hunt seat, when cantering in a circle around to line up and approach the jump, are you not taught to have your shoulders line up with the horses'? Or do you keep your inside shoulder advanced? Is this her error or is it hunt seat training that I am not aware of?
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    09-02-2011, 11:05 AM
That's definitely a rider's error. She is collapsing her shoulder, which will weaken her position and make her loose and unstable on the horse's back. Her shoulders should be back and square, with a flat or slightly arched back. The perfect shoulder position is when you shrug, and then let your shoulders come down and relax. This position should be held, not stiffly, but securely.
    09-02-2011, 11:00 PM
That is true, but in this case her shoulder werent rounded forward so much as the upper body, like her boobs, were pointind outward of the circle. So, as the horse was circling right, her right shoulder was advanced and her left shoulder back and her boobs pointing more outward.

I told her to think of her boobs like headlights (ala Sally Swift and her eyes in the middle of her chest) and keep her headlights pointing out in front of her direction of movement.

But she looked so natural and comfortable riding with this twist in the upper body I thought that maybe she'd been taught to ride that way in 2 point and that it was "correct" for hunters.
    09-03-2011, 06:33 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
That is true, but in this case her shoulder werent rounded forward so much as the upper body, like her boobs, were pointind outward of the circle. So, as the horse was circling right, her right shoulder was advanced and her left shoulder back and her boobs pointing more outward..
'Boobs as headlights'? LOL

I find it a little strange that she was pointed towards the outside of the circle; usually riders tend to point towards the inside of the circle. But anyways, if anything, she should be twisted ever so slightly inwards with her hips to encourage the turn, while keeping her upper body pointed forwards. :)
    09-03-2011, 06:50 PM
I'm probably reading your description wrong because I'm slow after an all-nighter, but do you mean she collapses her inside shoulder?
I collapse my inside shoulder too, and my trainer says it's a fault. I don't do it over jumps though, I do it on the flat through corners and on circles.
My trainer told me that I'm not riding a bicycle, so I don't need to lean through turns.
I have to do the "boobs as headlights" thing too, though I didn't think of it that way haha. I round my shoulders so I have to constantly remind myself to stick my chest out!
But anyway, I ride hunters (not hunt seat, I'm not really sure what that is, or if there is a difference Dx), but I don't think that twisting your upper body or collapsing a shoulder is desirable in any english discipline (I don't know a thing about western).

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