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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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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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....;-)
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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..."
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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'.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Saddlebag, I appreciate that perspective, but given the goals of his riding experience, I don't think it will be the path I take with this particular student. I will, however, be sure that my mentor is noting how often I give feedback (positive or negative) on the chair seat position vs. how often I give feedback on other aspects of his riding.
 

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It's important that the rider learns to self correct too. During the lesson tell this individual that if he/she looks down and can see one's toes than the foot is too far forward. Another idea is to look at the stirrup length. Is this happening at sitting trot mostly or posting? Again, lunge work without stirrups like others have said-taking into consideration safety-helps. One exercise is to take both legs out from the saddle, put them back and down and this can be done at the walk. This opens up the hip. Explaining a little bit about biomechanics to the rider might help. For example, when the rider is first learning posting trot, we tend to say "up" and "down", this is actually not correct. Another thing, check out the saddle. Hope some of this helps.
 

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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
Doing two point helps you put your legs back into the position. I was asked to do two point in my second lesson and practiced trotting while doing two point. Every time my leg needed to go back behind the girth I was asked to do two point for a few strides.
 

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Its obviously one of those UK to US differences
I worked and taught in a UK BHS approved Riding School, did my BHS exams, & was a pony club member and riding in 2 point just never happened until people learnt to ride an extended canter, gallop & jump
The problem with 2 point and beginners is that are unlikely to have the strength in their thighs or the balance to do it correctly and will end up bracing themselves against the stirrups
 

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^How odd, especially since two point is what most riders adopt to jump in. You learn something new everyday xD
 

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Many riders never aspire to wanting to jump - so learning 2 point doesn't matter to them at all and jumping is something that even those that want to do it don't learn until they've acquired the skill to sit deep and balanced in the saddle at the canter - that is the time that they would learn 2 point
Even in our ridden hunter classes you don't canter in 2 point
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwfLMIK2AmU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI2trE5uNkY
 

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2-point is an excellent way to feel the horse's center of gravity and motion. Those ought to be pretty high on the list of things to teach a new rider. It also makes an excellent check on your position for some types of riding.

 

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Standing in your stirrups is not the correct way to ride 2 point. Your heels do sink down but should not be used to force yourself upwards, the position comes from just above your knee and requires good thigh and core muscles
Most of the really awful jumping seats you see are a result of incorrect understanding and execution of 2 point
 

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Yes very much a trainer error - which makes you wonder how qualified some of them are
Sometimes the end result of having someone stand up in their stirrups to put the leg back into a better position - only way you can really stand up - is that when they sit back down they still push all that weight on to the heel which will have the effect of forcing the leg forwards, tensing the calf muscles, pushing their backsides out of line and straight into that dreaded chair seat position
 
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