Most of the educated and effective and experienced riders spend hours learning how to sit correctly on their horses. They often use hours upon hours on the longe line, learning to separate seat, weight, hand and leg aids. It’s very important to know how to separate these aids to influence a horse’s movement, energy, and balance.
Why should I learn to ride with my seat?
As riders, we often tend to use our hands an arms for balancing our horse, controlling speed and even balancing ourselves. When you practice halting from walk by using only your seat, you’ll learn to develop your seat as an independent and effective aid. You’ll learn to control his tempo and rhythm without using the reins at all. This also helps you to ride a correct half halt.
When you take your reins out of the mix, you might first feel out of control. This is why it’s recommended to use a calm and trained horse on the longe line to practice halting without your reins. Furthermore, you can start to make transitions from trot to walk and from canter to trot.
A great exercise is to remove your safety stirrups and cross them over the horse’s neck. Lift your arms out to the side and let your legs relax all the way from your hips. To do this exercise, you need to be on the longe line with your instructor.
How should I start?
Start on the longe line with your instructor. You can use side reins to get your horse’s top line up, if he wants to lift his head too much. Walking is a good place to start: try to slow down the walk and then lengthen the stride only using the swing of your hips.
After you’ve mastered this in walk, you can try the same exercise in trot and canter. Remember to keep you seat soft and relaxed, don’t grip on the horse. If you do, you may notice that your horse hollows his back to try and get away from your gripping seat.
Focus especially on the correct seat and posture and relaxed legs. Your instructor will be able to tell you when you’re sitting correctly and point out the things you need to work on.
Riding with your seat will give you better control over your horse. You’ll be able to ride softer and with more invisible aids. This will come in handy riding many different types of horses. Especially hot horses need small and calm signals.