Back in the good old days. - Page 6

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Back in the good old days.

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    03-19-2012, 04:55 PM
From a different era

Here are two more drawings - on which the position of the leg has changed. Both are probably early eighteenth century etchings when the leg was ridden longer.
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File Type: jpg Classical Heavy Horse at Trot.jpg (97.4 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg Classicl heavy horse at canter.jpg (91.6 KB, 80 views)
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    03-19-2012, 05:34 PM
Originally Posted by mildot    
A balanced seat is superior to anything else when the going gets rough. Not theory, real world experience.

I couldn't care less about working cows though.
Riding with anything but a balanced seat in rough country will sore your horse and may cause you to sing a nice soprano. With the exception of arena cutting a balanced seat is the best for every situation. You don't see many team ropers with a balanced seat because most of them are gunsels that know as much about horsemanship as they do about quantum physics. If you don't believe me go to a jackpot roping and look around. Most of the time if a person is getting really sore in thier saddle it's the fault of thier seat as much as thier saddle.
mildot likes this.
    03-19-2012, 05:48 PM
When looking for the photos I have posted I went to my library of horse books and picked out:
Reflections on Equestrian Art by Nuno Oliveira - the Portuguese Horsemaster of recent times.
His book was printed in 1976 ISBN 978 0 85131 461 7

The jacket of the book was unmarked. I opened it and looked at the contents by which a trainer can bring out in a finely schooled horse 48 different moves starting from: The Rider's Position to The School Levade.
For example if you want to know how to teach the Counter Canter then a description and the instructions start on page 101.

I asked myself why I had forgotten the book and the answer came back to me. At the time of purchase I could not find someone to read the book along with me and without someone else there was no way by which I could read and understand the contents.

Most riders do not need, nor aspire, to even want to know how to do the high school movements but just being able to do properly the basics like walk, trot and canter is important. Nowadays with video and the internet it should be much easier to dispense the knowledge of how to properly ride a horse. The knowledge is well established in literature.

We should in this century be teaching the theory of riding and not just the practicalities.
I am sure the ghost of Msr Baucher would agree.
kevinshorses likes this.
    03-19-2012, 05:49 PM
How do you define a balanced seat on a moving horse?
    03-19-2012, 05:53 PM
The easiest way to describe it for me is to tell you to sit in your saddle, close your eyes and hold your arms out to your side. Then take your feet out of the stirrups and point your toes. Feel where your body is touching the saddle and ride like that.
mildot likes this.
    03-19-2012, 06:12 PM
Originally Posted by bsms    
How do you define a balanced seat on a moving horse?
Kevinshorses explained how to find it.

The effects of it are that I have been able to stay centered and balanced in the saddle while my horse tries to recover her balance after stumbling at a canter. A gyroscope is the ideal.

The classical seat is not static, despite misunderstandings to the contrary.

If you want a visual, just look at SRS riders doing airs above ground.

    03-19-2012, 07:10 PM
The importance of balance,

Herewith an attempt, repeat attempt, to explain the importance of balance.

An undamaged mature horse moving without the weight of the rider or tack will be in near perfect balance and the animal will use itself to best performance. Immediately the horse is loaded by a weight on its back, the horse has to readjust the way by which it supports that weight in order to regain perfect balance.

The good rider will ensure that he always first settles his weight on the horse as evenly as possible - front to rear, side to side. What is more that rider must maintain that balance when the horse is moving despite the forces of motion and gravity. If weigh scales were incorporated into a saddle cloth which were then placed under the saddle, the rider could read just how difficult it is for him to constantly retain perfect balance. Even a turn of the rider’s head will disturb the equilibrium. Most riders readjust their seat and compensate by exerting pressure on the stirrup bars or via the butt onto the saddle.

Remember the horse’s back is so sensitive that it can feel the weight of a fly on its coat. Any imbalance by the rider has to be compensated by the horse - which is visibly evident even when horse and rider are at halt.

In order to achieve perfect balance on horseback the rider must sit perfectly upright. The spine must adopt its natural curved posture, the rider’s bottom should be evenly spread front to rear, side to side in the saddle, which itself should be perfectly positioned on the horse’s back Both legs and feet should hang down on either side of the horse’s flanks, acting partly as pendulums. In theory the stirrup irons are there as a guide to hold the feet in position during movement and not to support the bodyweight of the rider.

OK, fine - but then the horse moves - and to do so the horse must lift the leading leg off the ground so that the horse’s opposite hind leg can move forwards. Immediately both horse and rider must compensate for the loss of equilibrium.

Yes, the horse has an innate ability to readjust itself to the forever shifting load of the rider but it loses energy and efficiency in doing so. A rider who can ‘perch’ on the saddle with the minimum of pressure exerted on the stirrup bars is sitting in balance - until the horse moves.

Many riders have problems with balance, partly because they themselves are out of balance, perhaps through accident. Others have problems with the human balancing mechanism either in the ear or with vision. Some humans have developed physically more on one side than others. Such riders learn to compensate by deliberately sitting off balance or by exerting pressure on the stirrup bars. A rider’s style of sitting on a horse is as recognisable as that rider’s way of walking. But to the horse, the load of the imbalanced rider feels badly out of balance and it has to compensate - constantly.

As a human try picking up a six foot long, four inch diameter, oak log . Try to walk with it ‘out of balance’. You will not get far.

A simple test by a rider is to sit on the horse at a halt for a few moments and check to see if the horse stands four square or whether it shuffles about and adjusts its leg and foot position.
Ladytrails likes this.
    03-19-2012, 07:30 PM
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
A simple test by a rider is to sit on the horse at a halt for a few moments and check to see if the horse stands four square or whether it shuffles about and adjusts its leg and foot position.
Hence the importance of the halt at X
    03-19-2012, 07:52 PM
My point is that balanced is NOT defined as "all weight going into the pelvis". Nor is it defined as having heels under the hip at all times. You can be well balanced on a horse AND have your feet forward of your hip. If you are doing something that involves sudden deceleration, feet forward can help.

The classical dressage seat is designed for collected gaits - something most horses don't do for long. It is not intended for riding a horse that is trying for maximum speed, or jumping.

Further, when I sit in a saddle (or a chair), a significant part of me weight is carried in my thighs. Maybe I'm the only person whose crotch is an inverted V instead of an inverted "U", but it is impossible for me to sit in a saddle without weight carried by my thighs. Thus my balance point should be not my 'seat' alone, but my seat in conjunction with my thighs. And that balance should shift constantly with what I'm trying to do as a rider.

Thus V.S. Littauer asked "are you in fluid balance and rhythm with your horse or not? B) does your seat enable you to control your horse efficiently?"

And the fluid balance of a dressage rider riding a collected gait would be different than a polo player accelerating to the ball, or a barrel racer, or someone chasing a steer.

Good or bad, I learned to ride on Mia, and that meant learning to ride a horse who sometimes jumped sideways, or who would spin 180, jump, spin 180, and then back up - all without any input from me. And my balance must be OK, because my only falls off of her have come when she exploded in mid-dismount. When you have one foot above your horse's rump, and they spin and leap...well, that describes both my falls.

It never occurred to me this would turn into a thread on the 'classical dressage seat'. It is ONE way of riding, and adapted for riding, well balanced, on a horse with collected gaits.

In my first post on this thread (#5), I wrote, "It might be that we know better now, but it also might be that the riding style they used was appropriate for the type horses they had and the work conditions they faced. I've never tried to push 2,000 steers thru unknown country for hundreds of miles. I've never ridden a half-broke horse for 24 hours straight in pee-poor weather, knowing that a fall could kill me. I'd be very careful before assuming we know vastly more than they did then. In some areas (jumping comes to mind), we DO know a lot more than a rider in the 1860s. But what most of us do not know is what the riders of the time really faced, day-to-day."

I wouldn't suggest thinking the Texas cowboys of 1876 were incompetent just because their style of riding differs from most modern riding - or that all riders with their feet forward today are incompetent. The horse, the saddle, the rider's build, the goal, what the horse IS doing and what you want him to do next - all those affect how you ride a horse.

BTW - my horses stop with their four feet in the corners, and they stand their happily without shuffling. Just prior to the stop, my feet are often forward. At the stop, my heels are beneath me. Fluid.
    03-19-2012, 08:43 PM
As a kid I rode with old cowboys and was even on a cattle drive. These weren't longhorns, but herefords. The pace was slow as we were in difficult country. I was on a well trained horse so had to keep a good grip on the horn. If a calf ducked away, that horse was instantly moving to turn it back. I was just a passenger. I was always eager to hang around these fellows as I learned so much and not always with what they said. They didn't talk much.
boots likes this.

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