I've been riding in my Aussie for about a month now, and I was very surprised to learn that there is a certain way to sit and place your legs in an Australian saddle (which embarrassingly reveals the depth of my research, but I promise that the saddle fits my horse). Would you be willing to give me some basic tips on Aussie riding? I mostly trail ride, I'm not heading to any world championships any time soon :), so I'd appreciate "just the facts, ma'am." Thanks, y'all!
I'm not so sure it is true. The DownUnder folks say:
"Riding Position: Adjust the stirrup leather length so when you're sitting in the saddle your thigh runs parallel with the kneepad. You'll ride longer in the stirrup with your feet forward and heels down. You should place 25% of your weight in each stirrup and the balance in the seat of the saddle, this ensures an even weight distribution on the horse's back. If your horse is developing sore spots, you always need to consider two points, saddle fitment and the rider's technique. Is the rider placing the correct weight in the stirrups and the saddle seat? "
I disagree. I think saddles are best ridden with your rump in the deepest part of the saddle and the stirrup straps mostly straight down. That makes gravity your friend. Below are a couple of pictures of me riding in two DownUnder saddles where it feels right to me:
Below is a picture of a genuinely good rider competing in campdrafting:
It basically uses a long legged forward seat. In both of my saddles, I end up with the back of my heel in line with my belt buckle. If I move my shoulders forward, my weight is then centered over the stirrup bars and the horses expect to go fast. If my back is straight, it gives me a more traditional seat and my horses expect a slower pace.
If I shortened my stirrups, I'd be trying for a position like the campdrafter. But Mia is fond of the "OMG Crouch", and she also likes to hop about 4 feet sideways along the trail, just to see if I'm still awake - so a longer leg helps me.
That is my two cents. YMMV. The pictures of me are 1-2 years old, but close enough to what works for me.
I have no idea where DownUnder got the idea an Australian saddle was ridden with the feet next to the horse's front legs. DU makes a decent saddle for the price range, but they have odd ideas about riding. They emailed me once saying the saddle should sit on top of the horse's shoulder blade . I emailed back asking what idiot thought that was a good idea, and the reply email said to send the saddle in and they would adjust the width as I wanted.
I own a couple of their saddles, but I wouldn't put much trust in how they say to ride in them...
I don't know anything about australian saddles but I do know a 'chair position' is a very driving position, as it pushes you seat bones down into the saddle and makes you lean back slightly, and some horses find it uncomfortable. Not saying that it isn't the right way to ride in these saddles just a word of caution if your horse is very sensitive :)
From both my research of other Aussie saddles and talking with DownUnder, it seems to depend on which saddle one has as to the position it seems to put you in or you find more comfortable.
Some Aussie saddles will have the more chair like seat/be more comfortable sitting the chair like seat, while others will sit more like an English saddle and be uncomfortable trying to sit in the more chair like seat.
And a few saddles will be comfortable with either position.
As an english rider I prefer to ride with my heels, hips and shoulders aligned in my Aussie saddles, like you would in an Eglish saddle.
Hi! I don't usually post anything on this forum, but this is something I might actually be able to help with.
Legs should not be out in front in a Stock saddle, definitely go with the more vertical lower leg. Every campdrafting comp I have seen have a general english seat, although they do tend to slouch a little bit but I think that's more us being lazy haha.
I learnt to ride in a proper Aussie (we just call them stock saddles here) and rode in one for 4 years. It was the longer flap, deep seat with mickey mouse ears type. No fenders or horn. In fact I haven't actually ever seen any of those here I don't know if people use them too often?
I was always taught the shoulder-hip-heel line and that if I look down I should see just the tip of my toe. In fact when I used a dressage saddle with the same instructor I was never told to change how I sat.
I now ride at a place that has only english all purpose or dressage saddles and I've yet to have anyone come up to me and say they can tell that I learnt in a stock saddle.
The type of saddle I learnt in
I'm on the chestnut arab, my best friend who rides western now is on the grey arab (this was when were 13??ish)
Me in the dressage (I would have been 14)
Me in an all purpose recently, just for kicks! I know I'm not perfect, just wanted to show how similar the riding is :)
A campdrafting comp I watched recently, gorgeous horse. You can see the slouchiness here but legs are underneath.