"Proper" Way to Ride in a Western Saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 78 Old 04-24-2013, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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"Proper" Way to Ride in a Western Saddle

Now I haven't had any actual "training" on how to ride a horse. I've just been riding the way I've been riding since my mother put me on a saddle and taught me how to make a horse go and taught me how to steer. I just trail ride and I've had no issues with the way I've been riding. But I would love to know what I would know if I had gone to lessons. What are some things I should do? Just random pointers like how I should sit and where I should position myself with the different speeds (walk, trot, canter, gallop). Just some pointers. Videos would be great as well. I just want to better myself as a rider and a horse owner.
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post #2 of 78 Old 04-24-2013, 10:35 PM
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I think the best way everyone could help you is pictures of videos of you. That way you're not overloaded with information.

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post #3 of 78 Old 04-24-2013, 10:37 PM
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post #4 of 78 Old 04-24-2013, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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I will see if I can get one this weekend.
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post #5 of 78 Old 04-24-2013, 10:44 PM
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It's really too vague to answer. I guess one thing that comes to mind is that sitting on a horse should be closer to the position you have while standing very balanced, as opposed to the position you'd have sitting on a chair at the dining room table. You want to be balanced on the horse's back so that if your horse magically disappear from out from under you, you'd fall to earth and land on your feet, so well balanced you wouldn't fall backward onto your tush.

there's a good 'tip" for ya!
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post #6 of 78 Old 04-24-2013, 10:51 PM
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Gotta disagree with tinyliny on this one. Western riding does not have any requirement to keep your heels under your hip, or even under your center of gravity. Nor is it hard on the horse, IF the saddle is designed right (like many western saddles are) and you move with the horse.

Jack Woffard of the Shoe Bar outfit flanking the trail herd. Shoe Bar Ranch, Texas, 1912


As a general rule, I agree with Littauer that "...there are only two criteria of your position; a) are you in fluid balance and rhythm with your horse or not? b) does your seat enable you to control your horse efficiently?"

Emphasis on fluid balance and rhythm.

That said, I'm a nobody - don't show, don't compete, and no one takes lessons from me. However, I suspect I'm one of the few on the forum who have tried riding with an approach similar (although not as extreme) as the guy in the picture above. It works fine, as far as I can tell from my horse's reaction.
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post #7 of 78 Old 04-25-2013, 07:46 AM
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Why is it that so many think you need lessons to ride a horse?
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For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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post #8 of 78 Old 04-25-2013, 08:02 AM
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I think so that if you have a bad habit instinctively, it can be fixed before you have a bigger problem to fix, if that makes sense.
I'm totally okay with people doing "backyard riding" but lessons every once in a while are good.
I haven't taken lessons in four years
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post #9 of 78 Old 04-25-2013, 08:41 AM
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just ride, ride the trot and canter, if it feels wrong it probably is, the more you do it, the more natural and balanced you feel. play with stirrup length and balance, eventually you'll get in a groove, ride with one hand straight up, then the other , then both, Long as you are keeping the saddle between you and the horse, and the horse between you and the ground it aint all bad.
I have also had my horse magically disappear out from under me on numerous occasions. Dont think I have ever landed on my feet yet. But I am like BSMS, I'm just a dude, I learned to ride watching Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny, pretty much only know YAH MULE and WHooooooooo mule. then hang on as appropriate.
There is no better trainer than a wet saddle pad.
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post #10 of 78 Old 04-25-2013, 12:34 PM
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Now why would somebody make a bunch of mistakes all over again and learn the hard way if qualified instruction is available?
I don't see a Buck Brannaman, for example, sit like the cowboy pictured above, and even Bill Dorrance said he's got most help with his seat and subsequently his way of riding and training from a young lady who rode dressage.
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