Going from Hunt seat to Saddleseat
My daughter decided she wanted to ride Saddleseat (yay). Her upper body and hands are great but she is having trouble with keeping her leg back in a saddleseat saddle and her heels down and away. Her knees were always tight against the saddle in huntseat but changing from SS to HS, she is frustrated in why it's so much harder to keep her knees in and her leg back. I always rode SS so I have no experience switching. Has anyone switched and found the transition in leg position difficult. Why? And are there some exercises she can do at home to strengthen her legs?
Lots of easy exercises that don't require fancy equipment. Many, many sites on the internet.
Pretty much anything that engages the muscles of the legs (of course), and the hind end and lower back will help. Four or five days a week. 15 to 20 minutes on those days.
Do exercises for the whole body. Within two weeks she may notice an improvement.
Standing with ball of feet on stairs, and lowering body up and down will help in this.
For me, I show multiple horses a year, which one of them is a NSH who back in the day was a 1/2 pt away from national top 10 for country pleasure. Saddleseat is a blast! I don't have a hard transition since I practicedpracticedpracticed western, english, saddleseat, but mostly bareback! All my muscle comes from bareback posting, or stirrupless
My main seat is dressage, but I had to take a semester of saddle seat. What helped me the most was to focus on turning my toes in-if I turned my toes in my knee's followed and the rest fell into place. Some of it is just developing the muscle memory!
Thank y'all. We changed to Friday lessons where it's more advanced riders so she does a lot of work sturripless so I think that will help. I will have her try the stair exercise and turning her toe is more. Thanks.
This (below) is a 21" Crosby flat seat, and you can see how far apart the dip of the seat and the stirrup leather are. If the stirrup bar is not adjustable, and the saddle is too long for the rider, the rider can never keep her leg back. Your daughter might prefer a deeper seat that has a more centered position, as opposed to a sit-back type of saddle like this Crosby and the Shivelys.
I am 5'1" and 19" - 20" is my seat size for a cutback saddle if it doesn't have adjustable bars. Before the adjustable stirrup bars happened, 19" was teens, 20" is small to average woman up to about 5'4", and 21" for the taller riders. Also keep in mind that some saddle like the Barnsbys run 1/2" to 3/4" larger than the stated size. Whitman / Campbell / Coventry were usually exact.
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