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RE: [RC] Chair Seat - Terry Banister

Well, I question whether the riders did the entire 100 miles in this position. Can anyone vouch for that?  It may be just the photo at the end and the rider is tired and changing position? (I know I've done that) 

In any case, I wanted to condense and share this information on riding seat progression through history, from Dr. Deb Bennett's very excellent and thorough book "Conquerors" which shows pictures of ancient riders sitting literally on the horse's croup

p. 40 - figure 4.4 Egyptian bas-relief from the tomb of Horemhab, some 3,300 years old, showing the croup-seat. Center figure: Assyrians under Shalmaneser III some2,850 years ago go to battle led by lackeys and seated upon the croup."
p. 41 -figure 4.5 In ancient times, riding in the croup-seat was the usual style in cultures in which men dressed in kilts. Such culture liked and understood the chariot, but tended to be inept on horseback.

p.47 - "Correct form in the croup style of equitation . . . The nearly-naked rider extends his thighs forward from the horse's croup, resting them upon its back. The rider's knees are bent and his calves and ankles weakly grip the horse's ribs.  . . . Though croup riding encumbers the horse very little, it is not nearly so advantageous to the rider, because all four of her limbs are as fully occupied as those of her horse."

She says it was "The one-humped domestic camel, . . . the war-camel, rather than the cavalry horse, which first sounded the death-knell of chariot warfare." "The Assyrian armies of Shalmaneser III did contain some cavalry units. Their nobleman riders, . . . came to battle sitting stiffly on their horse's croups. . . . They managed to get their fighting done by being led to the skirmish by shield-bearing lackeys, whose job it was to handle the reins while the warrior, occupied with bow and arrow or lance, utilized the croup a a mere platform. . . .the addition of horse cavalry even of this form . . . gave it a tactical flexibility which finally enabled it to defeat the camel-corps of the Aramaeans."

"The Assyrian king Sennacherib . . . saw the final perfection in his cavalry of riding position . . . in which the rider sits in the freespan of the horse's back.

1600 years ago in the NEW WORLD~The two seats of Spain
"For centuries, Spain fostered two distinct 'seats' or riding styles:
 a la jineta, the light-armoued bowman's or lance-raider's style. The horseman rides with his ankles below his hips, with his feet beneath him as he would if he were standing or squatting on the ground, identical to the modern 'balanced seat' style. The jineta horseman sits as if part of the horse. He rides with his knees somewhat bent, his legs relaxed yed continually caressing the horse's sides, his calves and spurs ready to be brought into play whenever needed. He sits with an open chest, his upper body at ease, his face steadfast and serene, looking between the ears of his horse, a position which enables him to direct his mount with authority and perfect harmony."

a la brida, the knightly style. The brida horseman, by contrast, rides with his feet 'on the dashborad' and his weight on the back of his fanny. The brida rider . . . sits much more stiffly. With knees locked and legs extended to the front, he braces himself against the stirrups, somtimes pushing back so hard that he literally comes to sit on top of the cantle. Having thus given his horse a cramp in the back, and deprived it of most of its ability to coil its loins and engage its hindquarters, he then . . . uses a monstrous bit to drag it to a stop. Turning does not form a large part of the brida program. Today this style has no specific name. However, 'feet on the dashboard' are still characteristic of British steeplechase jockeys and a century ago the style was still considered the 'proper' form over a fence."

"Fighting men in Spain rode 'in both seats' from the eighth century onward"

Federico Grisone, in 1550, Naples published books, and "his pupils sat in a compromise position variously called a la bastarda or estradiota. In this seat, the knees were little bent but the heels were carried nearly straight down to a position  under the hips, more or less as a man sands on the ground. The difference between the old 'original' jineta seat and the estraqdiota seat is merely the degree to which the knees are bent, for the balance and carriage of the upper body, which depends on the ankles lying below the rider's hip sockets is the same in either case."

"May the Horse be with You"

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