What type of western saddle puts you in a decent "classical" position? - Page 9 - The Horse Forum
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post #81 of 89 Old 05-16-2013, 10:36 AM
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This is the girl on the pretty chestnut. Hollow back.
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post #82 of 89 Old 05-16-2013, 10:42 AM
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This is the classical seat. Upper body remains straight, pelvis tilted back, center of gravity moves back also.
This is not sitting on your pockets, rather sitting towards your pockets, but gives security and enables the rider to follow the movement of the horse.
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post #83 of 89 Old 05-16-2013, 03:00 PM
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Maybe it is just me and my old male backbone, but my backbone is largely what it will always be. This was posted the other day on this link:

http://www.equineinspired.info/uploa...fessionals.pdf posted on:

A deeper understanding of English saddles

Pages 20-22 discuss backbones, heredity and concludes:

"A trainer asking a student with a lordotic frame to "ride like me‟, is asking for the impossible. If you walk, run, dance or do any aerobic exercise in a lordotic frame, why wouldn't you also want that same abdominal, back muscle interaction while riding a horse? Besides, by forcing a lordotic spine into an unnatural position is exposing the lumbar vertebra into possible herniated or ruptured discs. You are what you are..." Emphasis mine.

My back is compromised more by an injury riding Mia (OK, suddenly NOT riding Mia) in Jan 2009. It is better, but still causes the right side of my lower back to sometimes swell up when jogging or riding. I've concluded that while I will improve my flexibility slowly, my best flexibility will still be just a small fraction of my daughter-in-law's, who seems to have bones made of cooked spaghetti!

Thus I need a compromise. I will never, ever ride like a good dressage rider. I started at 50, have done more weightlifting than dancing, and my spine and limited natural athletic ability means I cannot absorb the motion of the horse's back with my vertical spine. And I believe a LOT of recreational riders are in the same spot - we don't have money or time for intensive lessons, we don't have the athletic ability of a top rider in dressage OR any other equine sport, we like riding and being with horses but will rarely exceed 3 -4 hours a week...so what about us?

Most of my riding books are by dressage folks, and most tell me I must use a dressage seat. But dressage is hard. Really hard. Really hard for horses, and really hard for riders. It requires skill, ability, and a lot of practice.

The beauty of the classical western seat, historically speaking, is that it is an easy way to ride. Judging from Mia's reaction, it is easy for her, too! Just finished a ride with her using my Bates Caprilli AP saddle. Tried it today instead of my jump saddle because it has a wider channel underneath it. But it also has CAIR. Bouncy. But today, I'd ask for a canter in a forward seat, then transition to the classic western seat - feet in front, legs draped around my horse but not pinching, heels low, moving my hips up & forward with her motion...and the CAIR wasn't nearly as bouncy as I remember it.

And instead of getting heavy on the front end and cantering around our little arena as if the Hound of the Baskervilles was after her, she attempted some collection. She did not achieve it. She didn't have enough thrusties coming from the hind legs and her back was still to tight, but she shifted some of her weight to the rear and relaxed more than normal for her.

I've never heard of anyone trying the old western seat in an English saddle. I wish I had a video, so I could post it in the critique section and drive everyone nuts! Curb bit, slack reins, one hand, stiff old guy trying to look like a cowboy in an English saddle with a Navajo blanket and 4-bar Australian stirrups.

If I tried bringing my heels back under me, two things happened: my knees started to grip, and I started to bounce.

I'm not telling any experienced rider how to ride. If you are comfortable with heels under hip, go for it. But I bounce, and I fall into my old nemesis of gripping with my knees. If you have a husband who wants to take up riding, or who rides once a month tops, it might be something to think about.

Dressage ridden right is a thing of beauty. Ridden on the cheap, by people who aren't built for it or fit for it, it becomes a stiff rider bouncing on the horse's back while pulling on the mouth and creating a frustrated & confused horse. I think Littauer was right. Some of us need to examine our limitations and figure out how to ride within those limitations. FWIW, I think the 'classic western seat' is worth consideration, particularly for men or those with limited riding time. Easy to learn while still allowing a horse to move underneath you:

Western riding pictures from a great collection of them here:

Erwin E. Smith Collection Guide | Collection Guide

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #84 of 89 Old 05-16-2013, 03:15 PM
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Bsms, from what I see in pictures of yourself on Mia, although a little hard, since you mostly ride away from the camera, your seat is not so far from the last drawing I posted. Key for this seat is the tilted pelvis. The gentleman in the video I posted earlier, also the author of the book the drawings are from, was paralyzed for some time and came up with this seat for that reason...a bad back.
I can't tell from your pics if you do it, since you're riding away from the camera( I said that already lol), but I'm willing to bet you do it. If not, try.
I also want to clarify, this is NOT the modern dressage seat, rather the classical seat, and the heels ARE slightly in front of the hip.
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post #85 of 89 Old 05-16-2013, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
In what sense does that either prevent a rider from moving with the horse, or cause the center of gravity to be too far back?

Is this guy "behind the motion"?

Having seen the video the picture below was taken from, I know the woman WAS behind the motion. And this is what I consider a "chair seat" and is a position that I'm pretty certain prevents anyone from moving with their horse:

If your thigh is near horizontal, as it is when sitting in a chair, and your upper body is not folded over it in the way a jumper would be, then I do not see how it would be possible to do anything other than bounce up and down on the rear of the saddle. That position also puts almost all of the rider's weight equal to or higher than the horse's back. That works for jockeys because their weight is in the stirrups. If your weight is on your butt, then you are a fall waiting to happen. But the problem with this style is where the weight is carried, not just feet in front of the belt buckle.

One of the reasons I dislike our Circle Y saddle is that the shape of the saddle forces my thighs into that position. The stirrups are actually hung back closer to my hip, but the darn saddle is shaped in such a way that I cannot get my thighs any lower than the lady above has hers. I have never been able to move "in fluid balance and rhythm" with my horse in that saddle. I just bounce and look at my mare's pinned ears...

Unhappily, the shape of the saddle is very hard to see in pictures. I'll try to see if I can get a picture of ours that shows the thigh groove later today.

GotaDunQH, I will say that if you combine the position of the lady in the picture you posted with what sure looks like a braced back and tension on the reins...I'd bet money she is neither balanced nor in synch with her horse.
The first pic....yes, is behind the motion. You need to look at the position of the person seat...first and foremost. The first pic, she might as well be in a "recliner". She sitting PAST her seat bones, collapsed in the waist, shoulders way back past the center of balance, and leg forward. This means she will be "chasing" the motion, and not CENTERED over the horse back.

The second pic...the guy's seat is not totally in the saddle, however he is NOT behind the motion, but forward of it.

The 3rd pic...well CA in this pic is WAY behind the motion...he might as well have his legs up on a ottaman!!!! Terribe. The woman, while not perfect...I would take her position over CA's anyday!!! How is her going to cue that horse anyway? At the horse's elbow??????

ETA: the first pic is not showing up here...it was the one I posted earlier.
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post #86 of 89 Old 11-25-2015, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman View Post

This one also, as close to perfect as possible, IMO
I would love to find a saddle like this, anyone know where to find one?
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post #87 of 89 Old 11-25-2015, 03:48 PM
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I was reading this old thread too: quite interesting: I believe that saddle is called a "Charro" saddle.
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post #88 of 89 Old 11-25-2015, 03:54 PM
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Yes, it is a Charro saddle. Dime a dozen in California
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post #89 of 89 Old 11-25-2015, 08:30 PM
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I'm getting a Mexican saddle. Having it brought up from Guadalajara.

I'm fascinated by the assembly process. I've ridden a couple and liked them. They won't work for the type of roping I do. I do not use a maguey rope or run 80 feet of dally!

But it will be fun to have.

There are some good videos on youtube, of course, showing the traditional method of assembly.
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