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[RC] Riding posture - k s swigart

Steph Teeter said:

I'd love to hear from some equitation folks on
?'why' this posture is considered so bad.
It is very easy to get behind the movement of the horse in this posture, and 
getting behind the movement of the horse is more work for the horse and slams 
the rider's weight onto the horse's back.? You also have none of what George 
Morris refers to as a "base of support" (so you are far more likely to end up 
on your ass on the ground if the horse makes a sudden, unexpected move...and 
even if you don't end up on your ass on the ground, you will probably end up on 
your ass in the saddle, thus punishing the horse's back).? If you don't want to 
end up on your ass on the ground, you will have to hold on with your hands 
(which is what saddle bronc riders do, except they are only allowed to use one 
It also makes the horse more likely to hollow its back while being ridden (and 
the picture of the Saudi rider that sparked this debate shows a horse with a 
very hollowed back).? I make no comment as to whether a hollowed back is a good 
way for an endurance horse to travel, certainly many (if not most) of them do.? 
It is not, however, a way that I want MY horses to travel.
?They're not trotting, they're cantering. no jumping,
?no lateral movements, very little leg contact. 
They're going in a straight line, at a canter.
Which also describes flat track sprint racing, but it is worthwhile to note 
that jockeys on horses in the Kentucky Derby do not ride this way.? Although 
hundreds of years ago they used to...until they found a way that was easier on 
the horse, which was rapidly adopted all around the world.
?the weight of the rider pivots off the center of
?the saddle as the horse 'rocks'.

And pretty much the entire weight of the rider is on the rider's ass, so on the 
horse's back.? Additionally, if there is "very little leg contact" then it 
becomes very difficult to use the leg as a riding aid, so people who ride in 
this posture are cheating themselves of one of the major methods for 
communicating with the horse.? All seat no leg means that you are reduced to 
having to steer the horse with your hands.? Ugh!

It is also worthwhile to note that in the photo in question there appears to be 
at least four pads underneath this saddle and the rider is what I would 
describe as "miles" up off the horse's back, so she has no way to communicate 
with the horse through her seat either.? She has no leg aids, her legs are not 
on the horse.? She has no seat or weight aids, as they are not on the horse 
either.? And she has virtually no rein aids because the horse has its mouth 
gaping open, even though there is no tension on the reins (so the horse has 
learned to avoid the action of the rider's hand by gaping its mouth open even 
when the rider ISN'T using the reins).? This rider has virtually no way of 
communicating with the horse; although she might be able to steer it by pulling 
on one rein and yanking its head around.? And she might be able to stop it by 
pulling back on both reins at the same time; although, the horse would probably 
hollow out its back even further
before doing so, but the horse cannot hollow it out TOO far because its head 
has been tied down with a martingale; I suspect that were the horse not wearing 
a martingale, stopping it might become problematic as it might just throw its 
head up entirely to avoid the rider's hand, hollow out its back further, and 
gallop off.
However, if the horse knows its job of cantering around the track (however big 
that track is), the fact that the rider has virtually no way of communicating 
with the horse may not be particularly relevant.? Kentucky Derby jockeys don't 
have very many aids for communicating with their horses either; although, 
probably?more than this girl does.

?I know there are a few top rider/trainers that think
?this is actually better for the canter/gallop endurance
?horse and less tiring for the rider...
It is certainly less tiring for the rider than riding like a Kentucky Derby 
jockey (which, presumably, is considered the best for the canter/gallop).? The 
posture of a flat track racing jockey is EXTREMELY tiring to the rider and 
difficult to maintain, even for super-fit jockeys for more than a few minutes 
at a time.? It is also not a very secure riding position, which is why jump 
jockeys don't use it, nor does it give the rider very many riding aids, another 
reason that jump jockeys don't use it.
?than a more?'classical' form of having the legs
?directly under the rider's torso and much of the
?weight in the stirrups.
If you are riding with "much of the weight in the stirrups" you are not riding 
int he "classical" form at all.? While the classical form does have your feet 
underneath you, your weight should be distributed through your seat along the 
length of your leg (from inner thigh to inner calf)?with only a small portion 
of the weight in your stirrups.? You should be able to drop your stirrups 
entirely and not have this upset your balance at all.? In fact, the epitome of 
high school classic riding (the airs above the ground) are performed with no 
stirrups.? And classically trained riders aren't given any stirrups until they 
have completely developed a proper seat (which yes, has the feet underneath 
them, even if there is no weight in the feet).
Personally, I don't use the "classical" seat for riding endurance.? I use what 
is commonly referred to (at least in English parlance) the "galloping" seat, 
very akin to the one that jump jockeys use because I find it to have the best 
combination of security for the rider, freedom of movement for the horse, and 
ability to effectively use the aids, as well as the ability to change seats 
quickly as need dictates.? So my upper body is?tilted slightly in front of the 
vertical (which is not true of the classical seat).? I don't use quite the same 
seat as the one for jump jockeys; I lengthen my stirrup a bit for the longer 
distances (and time, which I consider to be even more important) required for 
endurance, as the shorter the stirrup, the harder it is on your knees (although 
the easier it is to get off your horse's back).
The "chair seat" on the other hand, is VERY easy on the knees....the rider's 
knees that is.
Orange County, Calif.

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