Fixing a chair seat
Okay, so I figured out today why my aussie saddle makes me feel weird and off-balance. I have been riding in a chair seat my entire life and my aussie forces me into the correct position. Every single one of the western saddle I have ever ridden in has made it easy for me to sit in a chair seat and I have never had anyone correct me (never taken lessons).
So, my question becomes this: How do I go about feeling more comfortable in the correct riding position? Is it just something I'll have to do and get used to it? I just constantly feel like I'm falling forward, but I know I'm not.
Work, work, and more work LOL. It will take a bit of time for your muscle memory to build to the new position so that your balance will be as good as it was before. The more time you are able to spend in the saddle, the more quickly you will get comfortable.
Well, schedule a road trip to TX and bring your saddle. I'd let you have your choice of mounts on my place. :D
Hehe...awwwww, thanks! I'd love to road trip ANYWHERE at this point, but 1-no money and 2-truck won't make it even to Phoenix (90 miles away). :-/ Oh well...guess I'll just have to stop being a "big baby" and ride my monster. ;-)
An aussie saddle can pitch you forward. Try sliding your pelvis ahead an inch or two. You can obtain correct leg position by standing in the stirrups, while the horse is standing still. It's okay to grab some mane at first. Your goal is to stand upright, butt tucked in and balanced over your legs. Usually a huge case of the giggles makes this difficult, but do work at it. Now, when you can stand without holding the mane and your hips are pushed as far forward as you can, sit down as tho you will sit on the pommel You won't, but if you lower yourself correctly your legs will be in a good position in relation to your hips and your pelvis will be in the deepest part of the saddle. Practise lots and when you're good at it you'll be able to do it at a walk. I'd get lesson kids to have "walking races" while standing in the stirrups. You might find a few body parts complain at first as you're stretching muscles in an unaccustomed way.
You can also try getting a very sturdy saddle stand and sit in your saddle while on the ground.
In my case, starting at 50, the big problem was my legs would NOT go around the horse's back and down under my hip without physical effort - and that effort creates tension which in turn makes the horse tense and keeps me from settling into the saddle. As a 50 year old male with very tight hips, it literally has taken me years to reach the point where my legs can be relaxed under me. A relaxed leg does more for your seat than having your heels under your hip, so I accepted having a chair seat.
If I had to do it over, I'd take a wide western saddle - one where the stirrups are not hung near the front - put it on a good saddle stand in front of my computer, and get hours of stretching while reading the news.
Also, I tried sitting the trot (and bouncing) until my legs fatigued and were forced to relax and give. Don't know if stretching exercises would have helped - hate doing them too much.
Saddlebag, that actually makes sense and sounds like it'll help! Thanks! I will definitely try it (and I can actually try it on Aires because he is very tolerant of someone moving around up on his back...the trainer even joked that she could have done gymnastics on his back and he would have just stood there).
bsms, I do feel like my legs and hips are tense, but I feel like it's because I feel like I'm going to be pitched forward in the saddle. I asked my friend the last time I rode in the saddle if I *looked* like I was sitting or being pitched forward and she said no, that I looked fine. So I know it's just me feeling like that.
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