Credit to Mari Me
Credit to Mari Me
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Hokay so I am actually pretty proud of my seat so I will start off by saying thank you and thank you to the other bajillion people who complimented me on it tonight. You guys rock :]
I credit my seat to having started off riding bareback. It really helped develop that instinctual feeling of the horse. I literally took lessons on a lunge line bareback on trail ponies when I was itty bitty and it was the best (and only good thing) that my first instructor ever did for me. Tips though!
1. Ride bareback/without stirrups as much as you can. This applies double if you are having a crap ride. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been on and having a frustrating time and have dropped my stirrups. It focuses you in on yourself, your seat, and how you are influencing the horse. If you can’t do more than walk/trot at first do NOT be discouraged. Do what you feel comfortable with and work up from there. You will be amazed at how when your focus turns inward and you become aware of your own faults and strive to fix them how quickly the horse responds positively because you are actually riding better! I think 99% of the time we are caught up in our own bad habits (which in turn create a negative outcome seen in the horses way of going) simply because we are unaware of them or that it is ‘easier’ to ride like that. Riding without stirrups is not easy. I am not here to tell you that. What I will say is that you will reap the benefits ten fold if you can isolate and correct your own riding flaws, and the rewards will show in the way your horse goes.
2. Ride whatever you can sit on! The more horses you can sit on, the better. Every horse has something to teach you.
3. That being said find a horse you feel comfortable enough to be able to work on you on. Even if you are only presented with the opportunity to ride a difficult horse that is no excuse for you to not work on yourself. I really believe in being the kind of rider who strives to bring my 100% to the table so I can fairly ask for 100% out of my partner. This goes back to not letting yourself develop bad riding habits even if they ‘Get the job done’ or ‘Are good enough to fudge the work on this particular horse’. Always strive for 100% correct. And like in number one, work on yourself in a pace/gait/movement/exercise that allows you to be aware OF yourself - don’t overface yourself.
Generally speaking while riding:
- Positive tension: This is one of those things I don’t think is talked about enough. You hear about positive tension in the horse doing upperlevel work but to a degree the rider has to have that same positive tension in their body. If you are completely swinging and loose you will sit like a sack of potatoes and flop all over the horse disturbing the rhythm and potentially ruining the gaits completely. Keep positive tension through your core specifically. From there I believe in positive tension through the legs so that, yes, they breathe around the horse, but you are pushing into the foot/heel and that they stay consistently away (but close) to the horses side until you are ready to give an aid. My school of thought is you do not ride with constant pressure on the horses sides. You ask, release, evaluate response, and ask again if needed. Val especially would become SUPER dull if I constantly rode with my legs snug around him. The leg has to breathe around the horse.
- Ride with short enough stirrups: This sounds bizarre from a dressage rider since we are known for loving long stirrups. You cannot learn to be effective if you are constantly reaching for your stirrups and worried about your balance. Start short and allow your leg muscles time to become strong in a longer length. Just like a horse, you don’t start in an FEI frame. You must muscle and think of yourself like an athlete in the same way. Be able to actually push down on the ball of your foot to anchor yourself. You need this ability sometimes giving a particularly good half-halt.
- Practice rolling your thighs into the saddle: Even at the halt you will see Grand Prix riders do this. They will literally lift out from their hip flexor, pull their leg off the horse, roll the whole leg inwards, and put their leg back on. Practice this. And ride like this in all the gaits. It will dramatically improve how close your leg is to the saddle and how secure you are. This is how you get your toe to turn in. And before you go and do it know that it isn’t easy to get your leg to stay like this (positive tension) and it will be something you have to constantly re-do and re-check. My old trainer would stand out in the middle of the arena and at the halt pull my leg off the horse, twist it around, and put it back on in the correct painful position and demand I keep it there. It sucks. But it will make you a beautiful rider.
- Push down in your knees: This is the BIGGEST piece of advice I can probably give to anyone learning to sit better (including and especially related to sitting trot). Push your knees down. I hear trainers all the time telling their students to lengthen their leg and push down in their stirrups, but that only creates a locked ankle and a leg that is *most of the time* turned out. Let your weight push your knees DOWN, not in or gripping, on the tack. Think about this instead of “heels down”.
For the canter specifically always imagine that the canter is a medicine ball underneath your saddle (or that the ball is the butt/hind end) and every stride you are bouncing the ball forward. Be sure to open your chest and diaphragm by looking up. To not fall forward in the canter transition literally put your eyes to the sky above you and try asking. If you are balanced it will work every time. Also make sure for that transition you are letting your inside hip come more forward and that you are presenting the canter like you are stepping forward with that inside hip. You have to be saying, look horse - this is the lead. It can be compared to when a male lead in ballroom takes the first step forwards to ‘lead’ the female. You have to be sure, and your weight has to follow through the hip.
Ride like you are in front of your idol or a panel of 5* judges and you are trying to impress. Put that pressure on yourself every day to be that good (note: on yourself - not the horse).
And although I haven’t really had a ‘seat lesson’ since I was a bareback little tot don’t rule them out if you have a correct horse and someone who can help you. Most of the time I find that I am not in the situation where this is applicable though so this is why it is included as an afterthought.
Best of luck to ALL of you out there riding! Feel free to message me if I was unclear or about anything.
I want all of you, dear followers, to read this, it will rock your world!
Hello! I finally got my camera! It’s a Sony Cybershot! I’m so excited!! And really happy! Can’t wait to finally make my own photos! Starting tomorrow at the barn :)
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credit to sjoert.com
Photo taken/edited by me
credit to Laura Herrera Ramirez
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I need this in my life!
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