Head, Shoulders, Hip and Heel – your position in the saddle. Stage 2 & 3 Ridden

  • Can you sustain your balance and that of the horse when you are riding without stirrups?
  • Do you know that your hands are independent of your body and don’t interfere with your horses way of going?
  • How are you helping your horse to maintain, rhythm, balance and impulsion?

There once was a belief that until a rider could ride bareback in walk, trot and canter they didn’t deserve a saddle. It is rare that riders are now expected to even learn without stirrups. I would imagine this would mitigate risk associated with accidents, therefore retaining clients, avoiding paperwork and potential risk of legal proceedings. I think also riders when learning have different expectations, they want to learn quickly and easily; for those who have learnt without stirrups and saddles you will know it is physically demanding and challenges your fitness levels.

Do you know during stage 3 you will be required to ride on the flat for a good duration of the exam on more than one horse without stirrups, in walk, trot and canter? You will have examiners watching you and assessing your ability to ride with an independent seat, your fitness level and confidence. With this in mind, how many hours are you currently practising and training your body to be able to balance and support itself without upsetting the horse or causing it injury (this is a very real possibility if you cannot balance yourself).

Developing your seat has many benefits

  • Balance
  • Strength
  • Better application of the aids
  • A better understanding of the way of the horses going
  • More sympathetic hands
  • Better alignment of the seat

Consider what is happening to your riding when your balance is pitched in front of the vertical

  • Who is carrying your upper body?
  • How effective are your ridden aids?
  • Where is the horses balance?
  • How are you creating your impulsion and maintaining an outline?
  • Is the horse truly carrying itself?

When we can ride in balance and harmony with our horses, we can apply our aids correctly and help generate the forward momentum which is required for a horse to truly carry themselves and us in harmony.




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