Acheiving a better seat white loping?
Hey riders! :wave:
I was wondering if you guys had any tips for maintaining a better seat while loping, I know people usually say to just relax your hips, heels down, act like it's a swing, etc.
But it just doesn't work for me..my horse is so dang bouncy!:shock:
So unfortunately, as I lope more..my habit keeps getting worse of holding onto the horn :oops: I just feel scared without it because I bounce so high.
Any tips for achieving a better seat/stop holding onto the horn? Keep in mind that I haven't been riding long at all :-(
Thanks so much!!! :hug:
Sitting on your "pockets" is a big thing. Don't perch forward. Sometimes grabbing the horn can pull you forward.
Relaxing does help - but it comes with time! Don't beat yourself up!
It sounds like your horse may not be moving correctly if he's that hard to sit. Are you really talking about a true lope or are you talking about a dead run?
As mls said, "sitting on your pockets" is a good way to think about it. Don't slouch, sit straight with your shoulders back but loosen yourself up. Don't sit ramrod straight.
Well. Im an english rider turned western. But I find a half seat does help with balance. Especially at the canter. It helps the horse move as well.
Two-Point Position – America’s Horse Daily
While i'm not sure if its practiced in western, it is helpful in learning balance on a bumpy horse.
Hope this helps.
It took a lot of time for me to get used to Rebel, he is like that as well.
What I always thought of when I was loping was to really push my hips up and down with him. Since he was a huge bouncing horse, I focused a lot on really, really sitting down. It's hard to get the hang of but with some practice you'll find a perfect seat and a rythym for it. Good luck!
Another thing to think about is how much you are bracing with your feet. I used to have a really hard time sitting a horse if they didn't lope super smooth, then I figured out it was because I was bracing against my feet and that was shoving me up out of the saddle.
If your horse is broke enough, you might try kicking your stirrups loose and loping without them.
If I understand you correctly you say: Relaxing my hips/etc/etc does not work because my horse is so dang bouncy.
What's really happening is: My horse feels so dang bouncy because I haven't learned how to relax my hips, core muscles, shoulders, thighs, knees, and ankles.
Yep, all of that needs to be relaxed.
And western or english, everyone should have the two point seat (not really a seat since your butt is completely off the saddle) in their toolbox.
When riding cross country at a fast canter, I sometimes can't stay with my mare's motion and start to get slapped by the cantle. So rather than slow her down, I'll just lean a tiny bit fwd, push down on my feet, and get solid contact between my calves and her sides. My butt comes completely off the saddle and off we go. Both of us are a lot more comfortable.
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Your feet and calves are basically ONLY there to cue your horse and offer you a little support. You should be "hanging onto" your horse with your thighs, knees, and seat. The more you try to brace with your feet, the higher you will bounce and stiffer you will become.
This might be easier to practice in an enclosed area like a round pen or arena where you don't have to worry so much about steering your horse. Just let him gallop around at his own pace (not runnning, of course) and just focus on keeping your body calm, butt down, and grip with your thighs/knees. Keep your feet and calves hanging to balance yourself (remember to keep your heels, hip, and ears in almost a straight line).
And just practice, practice, practice!!!
I used to have a horse that just didn't know how to relax in open spaces. He was really high strung and Pat Parelli'ed to death in around pen. My butt would bounce so high out of the saddle at a slower gallop or canter because he would just hop. So he was almost impossible to sit at the canter. We would ride for miles and miles and miles and he would never relax. Had too much darned energy. There was only 1 time in the entire year I had him (he was just a temporary until my other horse healed) that he cantered like a normal horse. I was absolutely shocked when he did it. And then never again. *sigh* So I just bring this up in case your horse is having a similar issue.
I've never been one to want to do bareback..I prefer my saddle ;)
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