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"Proper" Way to Ride in a Western Saddle

This is a discussion on "Proper" Way to Ride in a Western Saddle within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Correct position for stirrups in western saddle
  • Whats proper way to adjust western saddle stirrups while seated

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    04-25-2013, 05:05 PM
  #21
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
Bsms, get on an English saddle and ride out in the desert, 5 mile lap, in a forward sear ONLY. No cheatin .....you'll understand the balance-unbalance " debate"...
Actually, I have often used a *******ized forward seat, with longer stirrups since I don't need to jump anything. My Aussie-style saddle rides almost identically to my Bates Caprilli AP saddle. Seated, with eyes closed, not moving, they feel almost identical. In motion, the Bates with CAIR bounces a bit more...

There is nothing unbalanced about it. Maintaining the position requires more work, but it has greater balance front to back, which is a part of why jumpers use it. I have used it because Mia used to sometimes bolt forward, or suddenly brake without warning. Particularly on the leaps forward, a forward seat is easier to maintain than a vertical seat. A wider base, measured front to back, means greater leeway for error.

There were many problems with the analysis the author gave. Lowering the center of gravity is not bad. A wider base is not bad. There is no pendulum effect. There is a reason tightrope walkers carry a long pole - it helps them balance:



There is a lot of riding analysis done based on where your pelvic bones is, for example, while ignoring things like thighs and how your muscles drape around the horse. A typical analysis of a rider with his feet forward usually assumes the rider is arcing around the stirrups, bouncing up and then slamming down into the horse's back. It doesn't work that way, and anyone who tried riding like that for a while can say why - a combination of where your center of gravity is, plus the effect of your thighs and the flexibility in your hips. But someone would have to TRY it to know.

The motion is more like this:



The center of gravity moves forward with your feet, your thighs take an active part, and you open and close the angle of your body to move with the horse - kind of like Craig Cameron does in the video.

I am certainly not saying anyone has to ride like that. If you are in a jump saddle, your horse won't be very happy. I know, because I've tried it and Mia got grumpy. In a western saddle, or my Aussie-style saddle, she acts relaxed and happy. But if I want her to go fast, I need to adjust my balance to a forward seat.

I use it as an example of how many instructors and books will say things they know nothing about. If you can find a good instructor, great! I'm all in favor of learning different styles and approaches, and adapting what you learn to your particular situation. But if someone has done a lot of riding, and it is working for them and their horse, then they need some caution.

     
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    04-25-2013, 05:10 PM
  #22
Started
It all depends on the person. Here are two pictures of me and my dad on the same horse and in the same saddle:





Also, here he is breaking a filly and tuning a doorknob of a gelding:





And then there's me:




There is a lot of obvious differences in how we ride, and my dad was the guy who taught me enough so I could take the reins and learn on my own.
SorrelHorse and bsms like this.
     
    04-25-2013, 05:11 PM
  #23
Banned
Hmmmmm a lot of people forget the well being of the horse. Proper seat and balance is not just to make an illusion of a 'pretty picture' it actually does because the horse moves out properly and is happy in its job.
     
    04-25-2013, 05:41 PM
  #24
Yearling
All these pictures must be taken with a grain of salt. It is a moment in time and in that very moment no one knows what the rider was trying to accomplish, so who can say exactly "why" he is in a certain position. He might be bumping a shoulder that is dropping out, for all we know. This goes back to controlling body parts. If you don't "ride that way", you won't be able to relate to pictures of others that do ride that way.

Those pics of Buck that someone posted show him in 2 different positions. The first one, he is sitting rolled back on his pockets, effectively telling the horse to chill out and wait for a change. The 2nd he is up on his seat bones sending signals to the horse.

An extreme chair seat cannot be conducive to effective riding or communication. The position is too limiting to give effective, varied leg cues.

I agree with everyone who says balance is the key.
nvr2many likes this.
     
    04-25-2013, 06:02 PM
  #25
Green Broke
If I sat like this............



I would be bouncing all over the place when sitting a trot. That's just me.
     
    04-25-2013, 06:10 PM
  #26
Trained
IMHO, as a rule of thumb, men have tighter hips than women. That is why I've known a number of women who could do the splits, and never met a man who could (although they exist).

If you have tight hips, then feet forward helps your legs relax. It keeps your butt deeper in the saddle, because the tension of your thighs doesn't push you up and out of the saddle. So lets see - relaxed leg draped, center of gravity slightly forward, deeper in the saddle but less pressure on your butt - how are those bad things?

The shoulder - hip - heel thing was virtually unknown prior to 1960. I'd guess no more that 5% of photos that I've seen from prior to 1950 involve heels under hip. And back then, lots of guys rode horses. Now, it is probably about 85-90% female for recreational riders. And that transition happened around the time folks started saying heels under hip was important. Coincidence?

Mia and I:

     
    04-25-2013, 06:15 PM
  #27
Yearling
You look like you are in a totally acceptable position, bsms, to communicate with your horse and stay on in a hard shy.
     
    04-25-2013, 06:43 PM
  #28
Green Broke
I have to say that my "cowboy" position differs from my "arena" position.
I am really working hard to improve my position in the arena to help my horse but in my opinion it is really hard to maintain during long outside hours, perhaps I am a weenie.

Someone pointed out a picture only shows a moment in time and it is hard to determine much from just that, a moment in time. Just to show, I posted a progression of pictures of me roping a calf and this all probably took place within less than a minute. You can see how my leg and upper body position change to adapt to what I am doing(correct or not). If I was just was loping circles there wouldn't need to be that much change in position. All those these pictures I am posting are not ideal, however I am willing to sacrifice my pride for the sake of the discussion...LOL!
smrobs, bsms and deserthorsewoman like this.
     
    04-25-2013, 06:51 PM
  #29
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl    
Hmmmmm a lot of people forget the well being of the horse. Proper seat and balance is not just to make an illusion of a 'pretty picture' it actually does because the horse moves out properly and is happy in its job.
^^^ that!
I used to know a guy with a beautiful, well trained Welsh cob gelding who asked me why his horse would literally run out from under him. He sat, leaning on the cantle, legs braced forward. I made him get out of the stirrups and point toes down, hard. All of the sudden horse slowed down and jogged and loped beautifully. He took his stirrups back and horse went bezerk. A true aha moment.
He told me later on he felt very insecure at first without his " crutches", but re-learned the proper seat and was fine.
Equally bad is the girl pressed into a " proper" dressage seat, stiff, insecure, but " pretty".

Saddles definitely contribute to a seat. I, for example, cannot ride in a saddle with build up and forward stirrups. I need a deep straight seat, high cantle and stirrups under me. I started out riding dressage, maybe that's why.
     
    04-25-2013, 06:55 PM
  #30
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77    
I have to say that my "cowboy" position differs from my "arena" position.
I am really working hard to improve my position in the arena to help my horse but in my opinion it is really hard to maintain during long outside hours, perhaps I am a weenie.

Someone pointed out a picture only shows a moment in time and it is hard to determine much from just that, a moment in time. Just to show, I posted a progression of pictures of me roping a calf and this all probably took place within less than a minute. You can see how my leg and upper body position change to adapt to what I am doing(correct or not). If I was just was loping circles there wouldn't need to be that much change in position. All those these pictures I am posting are not ideal, however I am willing to sacrifice my pride for the sake of the discussion...LOL!
Well of course you change position. You balance three bodies, sort off.
Looking good
COWCHICK77 likes this.
     

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