Saddlebred - sitting on the wrong part of their back
So, for those of you (like me) who didn't quite understand why sitting in the middle of the horses back is normal for the sport of Saddleseat, I found an excellent article that made it clearer for me. I always thought it was one of those "corrupt horse world" things (you know, soring, heavy shoes, controversial training methods, etc).
Taken from ponies-in-the-house on Tumblr (I wen't through and fixed some grammar mistakes, but the message is the same).
How Horses are Built:
Many people ask me why only certain breeds have Saddleseat riders. Well look at the photos!
“Saddleseat” type horses are built VERY differently than the “typical” horse. their necks are much higher on their body, this is why they always have that HUGE crest in the hunter and western rings.
They are also built for they legs to move in a more “up and down” motion than a “forward” motion.
Their center of gravity is in fact, in the center of their backs, not on the withers, thus making bareback MUCH easier (don’t believe me? Get on a TB bareback, and then jump on a Morgan. I’m sure you will notice a difference). These horses are built for MOTION not SPEED
The necks much higher on the body are why Saddleseat horses tend to have back problems, being particularly inclined to swayback. The same problems are evident in a lot of draft horses bred for driving as well, since draft horses also tend to be selected for a higher-set neck. In addition, just looking at the illustration, you can see how Thoroughbreds are selected for a flatter topline whereas Saddlebreds are selected for a concave topline. That contributes to back issues too.
that's very interesting, and something I would never have thought of.
Some saddleseat horses definitely are built more uphill with high withers and a center of gravity set farther back than say a QH or Tb. However, this doesn't necessarily equate to back problems. Most have quite strong backs with no issues. I think you are refering more to the genetic disorder 'lordosis', which IS more common in saddlebreds (I think I saw something like 5-7% may have it?), but it is also present in other breeds. However, this is a genetic disorder that causes spinal deformity and usually evident at an early age...and surprisingly does not necessarily cause pain or loss of use. A good science based article here:
The Truth about Horse Swaybacks
These horses have massive shoulder movement, and it frees up the shoulders to sit further back, plus they come out of their body differently too with their necks.
If you ride one bareback, you naturally sit further back on them, any more forwards and you can tell you are not centered correctly at all.
That said....the current fad of riding in a chair seat makes me want to take a lash whip to riders. Irons are there to use to rise and fall to trot....so that you are not dropping on horse.
In the old days? That would have had people pulled off horse.
There are those that work to "ride correctly" and those who ride. The following video is from a newsblurb that was done a few months back. It shows the proper position for saddleseat. Now, not all people are equitation riders but... it shows where the actual desired position is supposed to be. The clip doesn't start into it right off so give it just a few seconds.
Beyond the Game: Young Mukwonago sisters taking sport of “Equitation” by storm | FOX6Now.com
Now, the trainer that taught these girls proper position of riding and whatnot...
The one thing that I saw that has me wondering is the bit about Morgans. Not all Morgans are built for Saddleseat classes. There are new types (ones built more for that) and the old types (the ones who are built like tanks). It was still interesting to read though.
This is true. Some of the Morgans now days that you see in the Park classes look very much like Saddlebreds. The Arabians in the Park classes look much like Saddlebreds as well. I think they are all beautiful horses but I miss the old Arabians too. They were just as beautiful but... different.
When I went to the National Academy Finals, I told my DH I could have done THAT....riding in a chair seat!! On a drugged horse, but that is another story.....
Those Milwaukee girls are lovely!
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