Every rider, no matter what discipline, has to learn how to sit correctly when riding. A balanced, relaxed and effective seat is key to becoming a great rider. In the beginning, sitting balanced and not falling off is one of the hardest things to do. But as you become more experienced, you can fine tune your seat to become more effective by using your seat more and your other aids less.
Many of us, especially in the beginning, rely too much on our safety stirrups. But have you thought about what would happen if you lost your safety stirrups when riding? Would you fall off, or could you keep riding?
In this article, we'll look at the best tips for improving your seat.
Ride without your safety stirrups
One of the best ways of improving your balance is to ride without your safety stirrups. When riding, cross your stirrups over the horse's neck. Then, let your legs hang relaxed on both sides of your horse. Start in walk, and as you become more secure, start trotting slowly.
Remember, that even when you have no stirrups, you should not squeeze with your knees or use your heel to signal your horse. Eventually, you will be able to canter and even jump small fences without your safety stirrups.
Riding without stirrups helps you to improve your balance. So should you ever lose your stirrup while riding, you don't have to panic - you already know what to do!
Ride on a lunge line
All experienced riders have spent a ton of time on a lunge line improving their seat. You need your trainer to lunge your horse, so you can let go of the reins and even your stirrups. When you don't have to focus on steering your horse, you can focus all your attention to your seat.
Your trainer's professional eyes can see all the little imbalances and mistakes, and they can correct you accordingly. This will help you sit more quietly, balanced and even make you more secure as a rider.
Ride with your seat, not with your reins
When you've mastered riding without stirrups and riding on a lunge line, you can start signaling your horse by using only your seat. Try to stop your horse from walk by only sitting deeper in the saddle and sitting up straighter. You can even squeeze your inner thighs a little.
After this, try to get your horse to transition to walk from trot without using your reins, but only your seat.
An effective seat will make you a much better rider. You will be able to signal your horse with smaller aids and you can be in harmony with your horse.