Hunter Seat to Saddle Seat - I Don't Think So!
So, I've been riding for ten years. I stopped taking lessons for three, and now I'm getting them again. Today was my first day. I had a bit of a problem, though.
When I got on the horse, my new instructor told me that they only taught in a "saddle seat." I was never told there was a difference (I felt really stupid), and I've been riding for ten years.
In this "saddle seat" position, I was told to "keep my hands high." My hands were practically a level with my breasts. It felt very unnatural and I felt as though I had little to no control over the horse. I was also told to keep my legs away from the horse's sides.
I went ten years being told to keep my hands down and my legs close. I feel like I may as well start Western riding, since there seems to be SO many new things. It's like a whole new way of riding.
My mom signed me up for four lessons, just to test out the place. I know I need to give it a try, but if I decide to stay, I'm afraid I'll have to give up and relearn how to ride "saddle seat."
Any help would be appreciated.
Sorry, I can't offer much help, except to say a friend is in a very similar situation. I would say just go with the four lessons to try it out. If It's not for you, are there other barns in the area you could try?
I for one couldn't give up jumping =D
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Saddleseat is a whole discipline in itself. Is that what you're interested in riding / showing? Or were you trying to get back into English / hunt seat riding?
Saddleseat is a very different style of riding than hunt seat--it is intended to show off a horse's movement, and it's definitely flashy. It originated in the U.S. when people would go out riding and they wanted to show off their flashy horses. Hunt seat originated from, obviously, the hunt field. In saddleseat, the rider holds her hands high, does not lean forward, and you are generally a bit behind the horse's movements. I'm sure you noticed the cut back saddle and how it was positioned differently than another English saddle would be.
Try saddleseat out for those four lessons. I took several saddleseat lessons about a year and a half ago just to say I did it. And it was a lot of fun to try out a new style of riding. If you don't like it still, then go find another barn that does hunt seat.
I dropped the reins and lost control of the horse when he tripped in the canter, which was something that has never happened to me before. Losing control and dropping the reins, not cantering or tripping (or both at the same time), I mean. The horse practically ripped the reins from my hands when he tripped. I'm not sure if that happened because my hands were so high and his head went so low.
Anyway, I did notice how far back the saddle was. When I compare it to the hunt seat, it seems like the hunt seat is on his neck! What a difference a few inches can make.
I'll definitely give all four lessons a try. I think, at this point, the only saddle I haven't tried is a dressage saddle. I've been in Western, hunt, racing, and saddle. Is that just about right?? The dressage, when I think about it, looks just like a saddle seat.
A good rider always accommodates to her horse, tack, and surroundings. If I "can't deal with" a saddle seat, then what kid of rider would I be??
Thank you so much for everything!!!
I'm not much of a shower. Maybe a few local shows with small children! Haha!
But thank you so much for the information!
I'm going to try the four lessons. Even if I don't like it, I an now say I have had the experience.
There are always other barns. I'll probably stay with this one for driving, though. I know they offer that, and I haven't seen any others that offer it. But I'll look around for hunt seat, and know I know to ask!!!
And... Excuse me? Give up jumping!!! I don't show, but I love to jump! I could never!
I hope your enjoy trying the Saddleseat riding even if you don't stay with it.
Cripes, I started with hunters and jumpers, went to galloping TBs, ranched for a couple decades (still jumped, though), rode ASBs in Saddleseat for a year in SC, and am now back ranching with some polo thrown in (still jumping).
It's all horses and all fun!
I can sympathize on the way you have to hold your hands, though. First lesson I'm holding my hands nice and low, instructor tells me to hold them "like you're reading a book." I answer, "I'm old and getting more farsighted! This IS where I have to hold a book." Made her laugh, but she didn't buy my excuse.
Saddleseat is great for your upper legs and low back. You have to have some good muscle and control in those areas especially to ride it well.
Glad you're going to stick it out for the few weeks! I think it's always nice to dabble in a few disciplines for fun.
Funny though, I had had a student who grew up riding saddleseat take lessons from me (huntseat) because he wanted to learn to jump. I was always telling him to lower his hands and bring his legs back! :) He ended up being a very good little rider and I was sad when he moved.
Saddle seat puts you very much into a "chair seat" with your legs out in front of you. The saddle itself sits you far back on the horse's back and is usually pretty flat. Dressage is all about achieving a long leg with your heel, hip and ear all aligned in a vertical line- if you took the horse out from under the rider, she should be able to balance in that same position- not fall over backwards or forwards. The saddles have deep seats, often with various padded blocks to keep the legs in position.
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