Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
Great thread. Here is my perspective. When you are learning to ride, the way that you sit the horse is not a natural seat. The horse, unlike sitting in a car, shifts your weight constantly. The first (human) reaction to this movement is to pull your knees up, pull your head downwards, curl your back as if you're reaching for your toes, pulling your arms inward--basically, curling into a fetal position, a little or a LOT. ANY of these things make your "seat" (which is actually the way your entire body is placed on the horse) insecure and this makes it easier for you to lose balance. If you don't tackle all of these problems NOW, you will be fighting them for years. Teach your body NOW, and you will be able to use your arms independant of your torso independant of your legs, and your horse will become more responsive.
You sound serious about improving. I suggest (RE: stirrups) to learn to readjust them while sitting the saddle. To do this most of us pull our leg in front on that stirrup, then pull out to readjust, pull the stirrup leather buckle to the stirrup bar, replace any leftover leather into the guard, then put your foot back in. A lot of us pull the mounting leather longer to mount a tall horse, THEN readjust the leather to the match the length of the off-side leather while mounted.
Many instructors let their students adjust their leathers to what is comfortable length for YOU. You may find that sometimes they will be shorter, sometimes they will be longer. Remember, TOO, if you are riding in leather, rather than synthetic stirrups leathers, that the mounting side leather stretches, so you will need to switch the leathers periodically to the other side--trade sides, if you will.
My 2nd suggestion is to spend some time riding (in a safe place on a safe horse) without stirrups. If you could ride an entire afternoon, even in an arena, without stirrups, you would REALLY FEEL what a deep seat feels like. Start at a walk.
I've always said that anybody could cram for a test on correct riding, and pass with an "A", but NOTHING replaces feeling this.
BTW, a good seat is same regardless of discipline or riding sport, or saddle. Hope this helps! =D
Last edited by Corporal; 09-27-2011 at 02:03 PM.