This Hunter Jumper is Trying Saddleseat!
So, i have been jumping for about 3 years now, and love it. But, for a change of pace, i've decided im gonna take a few saddleseat lessons. Mostly because its very popular at the barn i ride at, and ive never tried it. What are some major differences im going to notice? I know you sit more like your in a chair, and your hands are higher, but is that it? Im super excited, but a little worried. As well, anyone with tips or advice, or even pictures should post, to help me see what im getting myself into! Thanks! :D
I hope you like it! I used to ride saddleseat and it was a lot of fun, but now I mainly jump and ride huntseat. You'll have to sit pretty deep and your legs will be really straight, your stirrups are about the length of a dressage rider's and maybe a hole longer. There is nothing to hold onto on your saddle! Cut-back saddles take a little getting used to if you've never ridden in one. Also, your hands are supposed to stay above your elbows. Hope that gives you an idea ;) What kind of horse will you be riding?
Her name is Snowy. She an absolutely adorable chestnut Standarbred with 4 white socks (No idea why they call her Snowy). Im actually so excited, although, the extra long stirrups are gonna be hard to get used to!!
Saddleseat can be tiresome coming from a hunter position. You sit VERY straight up. Head up (think almost as if you are sticking your nose in the air like a snooty person lol), hands up over the elbows and the hands must be in a certain position. They tell you to grip with your thighs and to keep your feet/toes pointed in at all times and legs are to be "pulled underneath". Your knees and thighs must be "glued" to the saddle and your calves should barely even touch the horse. When you go for lessons it's all about equitation.
I took a few saddleseat lessons and while the horses were fun, I did not like the riding style or atmosphere of it all. It looks pretty but it was just not my style. I did for awhile think I wanted to get into showing but found out MOST (I did not say all) of the saddleseat people have MONEY to burn. I have to work hard for every penny. So my middle class upbringing kind of clashed with the fancy, "rich" world of Saddlebreds/saddleseat riding. Plus when I went for lessons, they had help to brush, saddle, and unsaddle your horse. And they would bring the horse into the arena for you. I insisted on doing that myself and always got weird looks. But what's the point in riding if you can't even saddle your own horse? But I encourage you to definitely have fun with it (it will teach you good balance).
I do hunt seat, but back in December I took a couple saddleseat lessons (and have since had the opportunity to ride a saddleseat horse a few times). For me, the hardest thing was my hands. They kept drifting down, and it was tough keeping them up. The instructor told me to imagine a beach ball resting on my forearms and against my biceps--in fact, they said they actually give a beach ball to some of the little girls to help them learn the position.
I love trying out all types of riding, so naturally I did enjoy it (especially at a canter!). However, I didn't love it enough to keep up with it. My heart is in jumping.
It so much fun. I'm going to keep taking lessons on friday. I do agree though, keeping my hands up was one of the hardest things. And keeping my legs beneath me with those ridiculously long stirrups. Overall, i loved it though!
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