How to properly keep yourself in the saddle, advice please - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Skagit County, WA
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How to properly keep yourself in the saddle, advice please

As you may or may not know I have had a rough summer with my boy Rem. He has actually kinda/sorta/possibly/maybe accepted that he has a job now (he is 7 and just got his first job almost 4 months ago, never needed to ride/had the trainer money before then) We are getting more good days in a row now. Friday I actually cantered him out in the pasture and felt pretty good about it (first time cantering him since he bucked me off and dragged me a few weeks ago.) Even though we still had some mis-communication our last ride he choice to 'discuss' things with me and ask questions rather then just turning defensive/aggressive and bucking when he didnt understand my que.
I would just like a little help on really getting secure in my saddle.
I am trying to stop my self from pitching with my knee, which wont keep you on the horse -_-
Exactly what parts of your legs are on the horse, amount of contact etc?
I have starting to try and keep my full leg on (not squeezing), but gripping with my calves? But I feel like now im in a chair seat.
Let me know if anything is confusing
(side note also how to you know if a saddle fits your comformation (not horse the rider) I was told that my saddle could be wrong for me as I have noticed a easier time keeping my legs on my trainers saddle than my wintec all purpose. )
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Bumping for the day browsers :)
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 02:55 PM
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I am a beginner, but what has helped me is making sure I am sitting up properly. Chest and chin up. The last time I came off I was not sitting up, my horse spooked and I came right off. Last week my horse had a large spook, but I was sitting up and was able to keep my seat. I have always been told "light contact with the calves". Is your trainer's saddle a dressage saddle? I was riding in an all purpose but my trainer had me switch, saying an all purpose was really more of a forward seat. In my limited understanding, saddle fit for a rider has to to with your "conformation", such as the length of your legs. My saddle fitter took my measurements and weight as well as my horse's before finding me a saddle.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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I'm sorry that you are learning to ride AND you own a greenish horse. It's not a good combination. =( Do you know ANYBODY who has a well-broken, super-safe horse? If so, you need to spend maybe one hour/week riding that horse without stirrups. I have a "pony club" with two 14yo girls who have taken some lessons, and come out on the weekends to help me train my 5yo's. One has a chair seat. I have her ride my safe mare, in my small training arena, with an English saddle sans stirrups for the first HOUR. Her seat has improved DRAMATICALLY. I let her use a mounting block but you still have to lay across the horse's back to get on. You will NOT be able to do this with Rem. I suggest you spend the winter ground training Rem to establish authority. There are lots of good books to use. Start him from scratch, and RE-break him. If you can swing it Clinton Anderson has a very good starter series.
A horse that bucks you off AND drags you isn't necessarily a bad horse. But YOU could have a BAD ACCIDENT with him. Please be careful.

Last edited by Corporal; 11-07-2011 at 03:08 PM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Skagit County, WA
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Hey! Thanks for the advice guys! I am not really just learning to ride. I use to do jumping when I was 9 until I rescued and trained (w/ help) my first filly when I was 12. Since then I just stuck to trails where I would ride green horses. I guess I am now relearning how to ride properly? I havnt had a lesson since I was twelve and now I am starting jumping so its a big 8 yr refresher. Rem is a good horse , just too smart and type A personality but he is a great worker when he does or I wouldnt have kept him for 7 yrs which is also one of the problems that he sees me as part of his herd and not leader. He knows my buttons! lol
When he dragged me was the first (and so far last time) he has been able to buck me off, I actually havnt had a horse been able to get me off since Rems mother (my first horse) could, kind of ironic huh :P
I rode him with out stirrups today and it was great for both of us, I was just a little fuzzy on where exactly my position should be and how it should be kept since I want to show him, and work overall more efficiently over all.
I do have a nice appy mare that I will canter etc. stirrupless and try out your advice
Thanks so much! :)

Last edited by Thyme; 11-07-2011 at 04:48 PM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 05:27 PM
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Not sure how much help this will be, and I only skimmed through your original post ( I'm at work, making the most of my 15 min break) but i have found that having a strong core is almost a necessity when riding a challenging horse. During a buck ( or other mishap), this will help stabilize your upper body, as well as help to keep you in the saddle. Will write more later!
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post #7 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 07:38 PM
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There's alot to be said for hanging on !
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post #8 of 13 Old 11-09-2011, 12:01 PM
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Practice on your appy this leg exercise.

By yourself:
Drop your legs (out of your stirrups of course) and make your horse stand. Bring your left leg back and off your horse and up. Reach back with your left hand and hold the toe of your boot. Do the same (at the same time) for the right side. Sit up really tall and suck in your tummy. Sit back on your seat bones and hold for as long as you can.

If you have someone to help, ask them to walk your horse on or walk your horse on a lunge line.

What this does is help to open up your legs so you are sitting deeper on your horse. Getting your legs in the right place will help you stay on your horse, bucking, galloping, bolting, hopping, whatever.. with ease.

It takes time to develop these muscles, but doing this exercise slowly will help. The deeper your seat, the better your balance, the more secure you feel are are on your horse.. and the safer THEY feel.

Just do it slowly and while you hold in your tummy, sink into those seat bones. You won't fall off if your horse walks, though it may feel very strange at first.

Another one is very similar. Bring your knees to the top of your saddle, make them touch each other.. sit up very tall with both hands resting on top and breathe deeply, sitting up tall, relaxing all muscles in your body, your shoulders, toes, wrists, neck, etc. This will help with balance. I've trotted my horse (and he's a Dutch Warmblood.. 17 glorious hands) sitting like this (I was on the lunge line) and I didn't fall off or lose balance.

Riding without stirrups helps too.. everything in moderation though!

You'll get it :)

Also upper body tension (locked wrists, not breathing, weird facial expressions) affect your seat. You can have the most solid seat ever, and it still won't be secure until you release it all. You can still sit up tall, but not stiffly. If that makes sense.

Good luck :) it takes time. Ground work that boy and sack him out on ground and in saddle (holding reins in one hand, reach down and touch his neck, belly (with supervision) his hindquarters, etc. Get him used to everything.

But ON THE GROUND first!

Last edited by Skyseternalangel; 11-09-2011 at 12:04 PM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-09-2011, 01:45 PM
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I think everyone's different. I had to re-learn to canter and re-gain my confidence after a bad fall from one of my horses. It's taken a long time, but I've finally reached the point of being relaxed and able to maintain the canter and I'm now competing in dressage also. My instructor has always told me to sit up, put my shoulders back, open my chest and to remember to breath. Try all the exercises that have been suggested but I think you'll find it's all down to practise, practise and more practise - but whatever you do, don't lose heart. You'll get there in the end just like I have.
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-11-2011, 01:30 AM
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More so then getting the right position, is finding your balance with the horse - Once you find that, you won't be so unsteady in the saddle. I am a firm believer that bareback always help with balance. Let your legs hang down, Imagine them dragging on the ground. Grab some mane along with your reins to resist pulling on his mouth as you lose balance. Start the walk, do ground poles and weaving. Move to the trot, which is by far the hardest to stay on bareback, find his groove and post with it - don't push it -you'll feel this in the morning (the day before thanksgiving, I jumped bareback with my mare, I didn't feel bad at all eating all those calories... I deserved it) Now may be the time to practice your emergency dismount. My favorite thing ever! Get your horse used to you coming off now and again. If you lose your balance, instead of frantically trying to stay on - make the choice to come off... and land on your feet at that! It will save your butt in the end.

Once back in the saddle, Keep imagining long legs - its a wonder how much heels down can keep you in there. Buy a Sally Fields book "Centered Riding" I really love the way she explains things - and I think it could help you.

Like a previous poster said, I too lost my confidence with cantering after a bad accident, but my method, which may not be correct by any means, is to go into halfseat when asking for it, continue to stay in halfseat until I can take a few deep breaths and assure myself I'm not going to die, and ease my way back into the saddle, and find the groove and move with it.

Best of luck!
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