5 tips to help you to sit up straight in the saddle
If your trainer tells you to sit up straight you often already know that you are leaning forward. And yet somebody needs to tell you to remind you to sit up straight.
Do not confuse "not sitting up straight" and "leaning forward’’ with riding in a light seat, because it has a completely different function. In another article I will go deeper into the light seat.
If you lean forward, your horse will drop more weight on the forehand. But you actually want your horse to move uphill instead of ‘downhill’. Your horse will never be able to truly put weight on his hindquarters when you are leaning forward. Tough your horse neither will put weight on his hindquarters when you are leaning to far backwards. Because your point of gravity is too much in the back, the horse will try to push forward with his nose and instead of carrying he will be pushing with his hind legs to bring the point of gravity more towards the front.
Usually riders are leaning more forward in the trot and the canter. In the walk most riders are sitting reasonably upright, but as soon as the transition to the trot is made, your body goes forward and your buttocks slide backwards.
What happens when you lean forward with your upper body, is that you push your butt too far in the back of the saddle to keep your balance. So in a posting trot, on the moment you sit in the saddle you will give a restraining aid to your horse by pushing your weight slightly backwards towards the loins of the horse instead of straight down to the center of gravity.
Most riders lean forward in the rising trot and canter.
The following 5 tips will help you to stay up straight in the saddle:
Stay behind the withers
1. Always stay behind the withers of the horse. Don’t bother your horse by leaning in front or above the withers. You make it difficult for your horse to rise in the withers and therefore he won’t be able to move uphill.
Remember while riding: Always stay behind the withers of the horse.
2. To make proper transitions, it is important that your horse responds easily to your aids so you can sit correctly and stay behind the withers. Also in the transitions make sure you are staying behind the withers. Wait until your horse makes the transition (forwards or downwards), and then follow the new movement. Many riders change their seat in the transitions. Especially in the transitions it is important to make no unneeded movements with your body because that might disturb your horse’s balance.
3. To post the trot properly you need to follow gently the movements of your horse. Never start rising with your shoulders first and your hips following the shoulders. A correct posting trot always starts from the hips, with the shoulders straight above the pelvis. Push your hips slightly forward when you come up. This will help you to keep your balance so you can follow the movements of your horse easily.
Sit on the pockets of your breeches
4. In the canter, make sure that you are sitting on the pockets of your breeches. Do not lean on your thighs, but sit back on your buttocks. Your pelvis makes a backward turning circle along with the movement of the canter.
Coordination and core stability
5. Coordination of your body and core stability are two important elements you need to develop. Don’t confuse core stability with tension and stiffing up, it’s dynamic and not static.
Briefly; It is important to sit upright to be able to gently follow the movement of your horse and to enable him to move uphill. You will notice that if you apply the 5 tips it will be much easier to sit up straight in the saddle.
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Thank you....this was so easy to understand and for me, who tends to ride forward, this is so helpful. I also tend to sit 'perched' in the saddle and so when the horse moves suddenly I fly off! I will put these five steps to good use my next ride.