suggestions or insights on half-seat? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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suggestions or insights on half-seat?

My instructor has me working on my half-seat at a walk. She says it's good for balance and getting used to the horse, and I understand it's necessary for jumping and can be helpful for cantering too.

But oy! I am having trouble with it!

Is there a trick to finding your balance? Is it one of those things that suddenly starts to work and you don't go back, like riding a bike or posting a trot? Or is it just something you get after lots and lots of effort?

I get up off the seat and I either feel like I'm pitching forward (instructor says this means my legs are too far back) or I'm bumping my butt back into the saddle (she says this means my legs are too far forward).

And I go between these two extremes. Forget about steering the horse while I'm at it, I'd just be happy if I could properly hover over the saddle!

Will be deeply grateful for any good suggestions, visions, shared experience, etc.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 06:02 PM
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You just have to play with it and find your center of balance. Don't get too frustrated. It's actually pretty difficult to do at a walk. Once you get it a few times, your balance will come more quickly. One tip I have is to really feed your heels sink down as if they weighed a ton instead of trying to force them down. Just let it all fall down naturally and the rest will come.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-26-2011, 02:26 AM
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I love your posts! Oy! haven't heard that in a while.

I think some of it is just leg and core strength,so the stronger you become , the easier it is to maintain this position. I still don't do this so well, but I ride mostly Western these days. Your instructor sounds like a good one! You are on the right path!
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-26-2011, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
One tip I have is to really feed your heels sink down as if they weighed a ton
I agree. With a lot of weight in your heels, it's hard for your leg to slip too far back, it will usually stay in the correct (or near correct) position. If you were to put most of your weight in your heels and your leg did slip back too far, you would fall forward completely onto your horses neck.
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-26-2011, 01:16 PM
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You have to find balance over your feet. If you aren't balanced over your feet, you wont get it. Your saddle also has to beable to aid you in this, not hinder you.

Feet must be under you. Legs long, no gripping or pinching - allow your bodies weight to flow down into your heels. Your seat tucked under you slightly, activate your core, strait lower back, tall upper body, chest opened as though you are lifting your heart. Head up.

If you look down and you can see your toes, your legs are too forward. If you look down and can see your heels, your legs are too far back.

It's all about balance.

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post #6 of 9 Old 05-26-2011, 08:16 PM
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one thing that might help is to stand straight up in your stirrups for a few seconds. you can do this at the halt at first and even hold a little mane. this will get your lower leg in the correct position. then you sit back down [with out moving your lower leg] and then go in your half seat from there. also, never be afraid to hold mane until you build your strength !

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post #7 of 9 Old 05-26-2011, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! Got another lesson tomorrow, and I'll be thinking of this advice, see how it goes.

@Gypsygirl - my instructor tells me not to be worried about using his mane too! She said that if I have a big handful it will not hurt him, just be sure not to grab little bits of hair. I was worried this was "cheating" but now that I've had the recommendation from someone else, too, I won't worry about that too much.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-26-2011, 10:56 PM
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Definitely don't worry about holding mane, that's probably the only thing that allowed me to find my balance when I was learning to do a half seat. I was the same as you, legs shoot forward and I lean back or legs flying backwards and I would topple forwards! If you're holding that mane you can balance yourself when necissary (which at first for me was pretty much constantly ;) ) but whenever you feel like you're in a blanced position make sure to relax your elbows so they move with the horse and you aren't ALWAYS relying on the mane otherwise you'll be dependent on it and the whole point was defeated. You'll find that over time you need to balance yourself less and less with the mane. And of course everyone elses advice is extremely important as well, grabbing mane is just a back up as I'm sure you know!
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-27-2011, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys! I had a MUCH easier time with the half-seat today. Instructor was really impressed, too!

Letting my weight pour down the heel, the occasional touch-down to the mane, and really focusing on not pinching with my came together very nicely!

It is so silly. It's not so much keeping your heels down as it is letting your weight sort of pour down the backs of your legs (which causes the heels to drop). That makes SUCH a difference with that half-seat, and with posting...I can't believe how difficult it is to keep that in mind 100% of the time.

I am hoping that with practice and repetition, it will become automatic (or at least, that I will be able to put things into place when I get in the saddle and at least not have to think of it every second I'm on the horse). Then I would be able to worry about other stuff, like not letting my hands fly around.:roll:
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