Help for the Unbalanced Rider - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Help for the Unbalanced Rider

I’ve had my husband videotape my Gymkhana rides because I like to review them afterwards.
I’ve noticed that I’m very unbalanced ☹️ My stirrups are set even on my saddle but during the rides I must be putting way more weight on my left stirrup because it’s way lower in the videos than my right...

*Not sure if it worked but I tried adding a snapshot from a video that really showed the unbalance*

Anyways, what should I do to fix my crookedness?
Any exercises, tips and tricks are welcome!

P.s. The stirrups can’t go any shorter on my saddle.
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 07:34 PM
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I have only ever seen something like that one other time. I took a lady riding up here with me and she didn't have her cinch tight enough and she braced way too hard into the stirrups instead of actually riding with the horse. I forget which leg was her dominant side but every time the horse I loaned her would lope her saddle would shift like that because she was pressing so hard into the stirrups and her dominant leg was so much stronger. Tightening her cinch helped some but what really helps is riding with the horse and gripping from your knees to your hips with your legs and not pushing hard into the stirrups.

Also if you are riding circles in an arena and are pushing hard with your outside leg that can turn a saddle as well.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 07:50 PM
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You might be shifting the saddle over just by getting on!

As an experiment, see if you can get on from something that's high enough that you can totally skip the stirrup and slide straight into the saddle. Then see if you're still off centre when you're riding!
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 07:51 PM
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My friend has the exact same thing. I noticed that no matter where she's sitting at work or on the sofa she always slouches left as well. I think it's time for back strengthening exercises and developing better posture habits! xD Easier said than done! What worked for me personally is getting rid of stirrups and doing tons of trot and canter work as it'll really force you to use your whole body. This was easier when I wasn't on a bouncy horse.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 08:02 PM
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I've also seen (and had) it happen where the saddle just didn't fit the horse right, and the motion of the horse was skewing the saddle to one side because of it.

For most of a season, I was riding my current lesson horse in a different saddle, and I would complain all the time that it was shifting to the right and my coach said I must be weighting that leg too much. So I tried really hard not to do that... but it kept happening!! And she kept saying it must be something I'm doing.

Well well well. We get near the end of the season, and suddenly the horse is in a different saddle. "Yeahhhhh, so... three other riders told the OTHER coach that that saddle was shifting to the right on her." And I was VINDICATED!
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 08:14 PM
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have you checked out the fit of the saddle?
and, you say the stirrup lengths are the same. . . . by the number on the stirrup leather? of, did you measure them actually? your horse's movement can be throwing you off to one side, too.

when you post the trot, does it seem like you always end up on the same diagonal?
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 09:01 PM
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Stirrup leathers can stretch over time, especially if the horse is consistently mounted from the left and especially if mounted from the ground. Check to make sure this isn’t part of the problem.

Have someone observe your seat from behind. The saddle should be divided equally with half on either side of the horse’s spine. Your hips should be spaced equally on either side of the horse’s spine. Your head should be directly over the horse’s spine. There should be an equal amount of distance between each of your shoulders and the corresponding hip.

All that said, riders sometimes shift their position while riding. This is especially true if the rider generally sits or stands with more weight to one side (usually the left). Riding without stirrups may help correct this. When riding with stirrups, a rider may unconsciously put more weight on one stirrup than the other.

Also, try to become more conscious of your posture when not riding. If you are balanced, you can stand, sit, and perform various tasks with much less muscle tension.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 10:49 PM
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I had this problem recently and the solution was two-fold...

1. I measured my stirrup length with a measuring tape and even though I counted holes from top and bottom, they were over an inch off. My husband just got a new Circle Y and the holes were different on each side, too.

2. I am lopsided due to a hip injury (thanks Salty!). I am working on my biomechanics -- keeping both sitting bones on the saddle, as well as getting back to my daily yoga to restore my range of motion and balance. I frequently stop while riding and adjust my balance and seat, and I notice my sitting posture at work and adjust my balance, too.

It does make a difference to my horses and they appreciate my efforts to straighten myself out.
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-30-2019, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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I was really focusing on it yesterday. My right side is dominant and I tend to slouch/lean to the right so, my left is stretched out more often throughout the day.
I went riding last night I really tried to use even pressure on both sides but once I started loping it shifted over to the left because I was definitely putting more pressure on my left leg..
I’ve read that doing yoga can really help your balance so, I’m going to try that and it’s a good way to kick start the motivation to work towards a healthier life style.

I have a love/hate relationship with my current saddle (Orig BM Treeless)
- It fits my mare beautifully, was professionally fitted and I was told treeless is a wonderful option for her or a custom made treed saddle when I have the $$$ (once my student debt is paid off in a few years)
- Doesn’t fit me well LoL It’s a bit too small and the stirrups are hung too far forward for my liking.

I know that treeless saddles have a tendency to slide more than a treed saddle would. Now I have never measured the stirrup length and will do that tonight because I never thought about the mounting side stretching but that makes perfect sense LoL
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-30-2019, 01:32 PM
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Are you left handed?

My son is ambidextrous, with a slight preference for his right.

He tends to put more weight on his right side, so over time, rather than staying centered up in the saddle, he's actually pushing down with his right and thus, the saddle is simply rolling a little at a time until he has to shift his weight and pull the saddle back to center.

Can you get more pictures, or perhaps video? I keep looking at the picture and your saddle APPEARS centered up, just looking at the gullet - certainly not off enough to explain the wild difference between your two stirrups. I mean, just looking at it, the first thing I'm really thinking is you have one stirrup way, way too short and the other out about one hole too long. I can only assume that's not the case though and you're riding with even stirrups.

So, next question - what kind of pad is that under your saddle? A cheap pad can allow for saddle roll, no matter how tight you cinch your horse. We had a fleece backed Mustang Manufacturing pad when we first started out, my son bought it at Paul Taylor's in Pilot Point Texas... and I. hated. that. pad. Never could get up in the saddle without the saddle rolling on the mount, no matter how tight we cinched the horse up. Do you perhaps use a mounting block, and maybe aren't realizing the pad is causing the slip?

Ignore that bolded paragraph - This is a treeless saddle and I missed that.

Are you walking your horse around a little, rechecking the tightness of the cinch? Some horses can blow up like Mrs. Puff from Spongebob... I've seen my friend's older mare, Twinkie, puff up so much that after she's walked around a little bit, and the cinch is re-tightened, there was a 5... FIVE... loop through the D difference. Not holes in the latigo, I mean loops through the D and back out again. She's a master at blowing up and holding the puff.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."

Last edited by AtokaGhosthorse; 07-30-2019 at 01:38 PM.
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