Advice for student stuck in "chair seat"

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Advice for student stuck in "chair seat"

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    11-25-2013, 10:53 AM
Advice for student stuck in "chair seat"

I'm hoping for some advice from more experienced instructors for riders who are stuck in a "chair seat" position. I'm an instructor-in-training, and am also discussing my problem with my mentor, but thought it wouldn't hurt to get advice/tips from others.

I have one rider who seems to be stuck in the most extreme chair seat position I've seen- as in, his legs are so straight, they're poking ahead of the horse's shoulders. I've had him in both an AP and dressage saddle, and varied the stirrup length to see if those things would help. I have also switched horses, as the first horse he was riding has a fairly bouncy trot, and that wasn't helping. Looking back, I think the chair seat developed in response to the bouncy trot, but now it's firmly cemented at the walk and trot.

In his first few lessons, he actually had a fairly strong 2-point position, and could really get his legs underneath him. But I'm very frustrated (mostly with myself) because I see him going in the wrong direction, and now 2-point is becoming difficult for him because his legs are shoved so far forward-which obviously makes it impossible to get up out of the saddle.

I've tried as many verbal explanations as I can think of. I've tried having sidewalkers help relax his leg back into position with a little ankle support. The only thing that has helped a little is having him ride stirrupless- that's the best leg position I've seen on him recently, but he is a little unbalanced (tends to list to the side) so I worry about riding stirrupless with him too long, and he is not ready to trot without stirrups.

He does not have physical limitations that would have him riding in this position.

I know you all don't have a visual on what he looks like when he rides, and haven't seen the interventions I've tried. But, can you think of any strategies that I might try to help him get in a better seated position?
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    11-25-2013, 11:43 AM
Since its a" he"I can think of a physical" limitation".... He might have gotten hurt trotting and now is doing all he can to not let that happen again. I would get him on a longeline, and practice nothing but correct seat without stirrups, then two point with stirrups, until he breaks out of it. What greatly helped a friend of mine with a chair seat, to the point that the horse ran away under him from to much pressure on the loins, was have him get out off the stirrups and point his toes down as if he wanted to draw furrows in the sand. It put him in the right spot and he understood.
Maybe keep him busy with walking over poles and such, to get him to concentrate on something other than protecting his...uhm....
    11-25-2013, 11:56 AM
Green Broke
I'm a recovering chair seat rider. I remember listening to a Jane Savoie tape about position issues and she said that you should pretend like your are kneeling in your garden. She referred to it as gardening knees. That helped me establish the correct muscle memory.

If the chair seat is due to tight hip flexors, then excercises such as leg circles, lifting and stretching lack backwards might help.
egrogan likes this.
    11-25-2013, 11:57 AM
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
Since its a" he"I can think of a physical" limitation".... He might have gotten hurt trotting and now is doing all he can to not let that happen again.

Ha! TRUE. I was talking about "physical limitations" in the therapeutic riding sense, but yes, you make a very good point!

Now to head over to that other thread I just spotted called "instructing male students..."
deserthorsewoman likes this.
    11-25-2013, 02:30 PM
I was totally thinking of the same physical reason why he might ride in a chair seat; self protection. The saddle may not be shaped well to give him enough "safe" room. Thus, two point is more comfy.
    11-25-2013, 03:00 PM
Super Moderator
Ask him to glance downwards and tell you how much of his foot he can see below his knee
I know its not related to his problem but don't see any use in teaching someone to ride in 2 point unless they intend to progress to jumping and its certainly not something I'd expect someone to be doing in the first few lessons
I would take his stirrups away from him and have him learn to balance himself without them because he might be using them like pedals to brace against
smrobs likes this.
    11-25-2013, 05:26 PM
When he's riding chair seat he's sure getting a lot of attention. Perhaps that's what it's about.
    11-25-2013, 09:38 PM
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
When he's riding chair seat he's sure getting a lot of attention. Perhaps that's what it's about.
Not sure what you mean by this?
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    11-25-2013, 10:04 PM
Green Broke
I think Saddlebag means for some people, any attention for whatever reason is good so they'll keep up.

Would this help? Perhaps take pictures of him on on horseback, perhaps even video, and getting him to put his legs in proper position and again in his usual position. Then you and he would critique his position from the photos and see if that helps him 'get it'.
    11-26-2013, 09:07 AM
Thanks Chevaux, that is exactly what I meant. The chair seat has made him the center of attention. What if he were told if he doesn't want to ride correctly, there'd be no lesson? He needs to take some responsibility for his actions.
Chasin Ponies likes this.

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