Good riders’ position in a western saddle…

PROPER RIDERS’ POSITION IN A WESTERN SADDLE…

You must develop a good horseback riding position to become a more proficient rider.

Proper body position is the basis of good riding. Without it, you and your horse won’t be able to balance correctly, and your aids will be less effective. Before you can genuinely improve in your riding, you must master this particular skill.

It’s not only about looking good in the saddle. It’s about finding balance for you and your horse. Your horse can’t balance if you are out of position or wobbling around on his back.

When viewed from the side, you should visualize a vertical line through your ear, hip, and the back of your heel. It’s the basic sports stance, legs apart, balanced on the balls of your feet, ready to quickly move in any direction whether you’re running, skating or riding Western or English. We need to be a balanced stack of body parts, legs, pelvis, torso and head all in alignment.

Riding is challenging because it demands your balance while aboard a moving horse. If you sit in the correct position, you’re just above and behind the horse’s center of gravity, and your aligned body makes it easier to stay on board. It aligns your skeletal system, and that, in turn, provides stability. Your skeletal system – not your muscle strength will keep you balanced. Flexible joints act as shock absorbers to help you move smoothly with your horse.

So, are you screwing up your horse with your seat without even noticing?

Here are the five top points I

SADDLE FIT

No surprises for this one. Saddle fit is probably the most obvious thing that needs to be corrected, but many saddles are far from perfect.

Here are the worst offenders.

Saddle position

The most frequent thing we see is saddles too far forward on the horse’s back. Having your saddle sit too far forward will harm your horse and make your saddle unstable. If your saddle is sliding, rolling, or giving you back pain, this may be the problem.

The horse and the saddle tree shape alone should dictate the saddle’s position. Horses are asymmetrical; one shoulder is larger than the other, and the smaller shoulder is usually rotated ahead of the larger, so saddle placement should be to the shoulder that is turned back the furthest. To check, stand over the top of your horse and put your finger on the back edge of each scapula. Most horses have their left shoulder rotated back, so saddle placement should be done from that side. If your horse is opposite, you must saddle from the other side. The bars’ tip should be placed right behind the scapula’s back edge. Concho and rigging straightness should not come into the equation; find the bar tip under the front of the skirts, then find the back of the scapula on the correct shoulder.

Our saddles have bar pads that can be moved forward or backward to help keep the saddle in place on dismal shoulders. The saddle will usually fall off to one side or the other because of our horse’s asymmetry or our own. Our stirrup strap can be offset to help keep the saddle straight. These features can help you and your horse stay balanced.

Ground Seat

Our ground seat’s shape can be adjusted to fit your body and riding preferences. Moving the pad forward creates a deeper pocket, while moving it back removes it. Finding a neutral pelvis position is critical as you stack your body over your pelvis by aligning your heel, hip, and shoulder. Moving Shims under your seat allows you to find a neutral pelvis position, neither tilted forward nor back.

Gender appropriate sat

Easy Fit Saddles have considered all these physical characteristics and built a saddle seat for women. It is wide where it needs to be broad and narrow where it needs to be. Padding and relief points have been carefully considered. It is comfortable for all. The pelvic bones make contact with the saddle seat, and the hip sockets will not be strained. Bulk has been minimized under the leg to keep the twist narrow and allow for close contact.

Choose a smaller seat size.

A smaller seat keeps us closer to the horse’s center of gravity. The horse’s centre of gravity is the point around which it rotates as it moves; it is located below the wither and moves back as the horse collects up. A saddle bronc rider or a jockey will ride over the wither because that is the spot with the slightest movement. The closer you are to the horse’s centre of gravity, the less movement you have to compensate for; the horse revolves around your position instead of having to move to compensate for them. Choosing the Cut Back model allows you to move ahead in the sale under the forks.

Stirrup strap position
Stirrup Strap Postion
FENDER POSITION TOO FAR FORWARD = CHAIR SEAT

Fenders that are too far forward cause the rider’s leg to fall in front of their pelvis. This position is called the “chair seat” because it almost looks like the rider is sitting in a chair. The rider’s weight is then pushed to the back of the saddle. When the rider rises to the trot, a lot of effort is required to lift out of the seat or brace in the seat; either way, it will cause the rider to be behind in the horse’s movement. Do you feel like you are getting left behind? Could your fenders be the reason?

Unless the fenders are adjustable forward or back on your saddle, there isn’t much you can do to change the position if you find that it’s not ideal. The fender position can affect your riding position and ability to keep your leg in the right place. Our fenders are adjustable forward and backward.

Some saddles affect my leg position so much that it’s almost impossible for me to balance. I didn’t realize there was a different fender position until a few years ago. It felt foreign to me to ride in a balanced position. I gradually moved my fenders back, and posting got a lot easier. Instead of leaning forward to balance each post, I rise in my seat. My horses started to move more freely under me, and my back and shoulder pain disappeared.  

Riding postion

I also find that if I ride in a saddle with the fenders too far forward, my lower leg isn’t quiet and seems to have a life of its own. My more downward leg swings like a pendulum, giving my horse incorrect cues.

When sitting in any saddle, you should be able to achieve your balance quickly. The classical seat position remains correct today.

Ground Seat

If your pelvis position isn’t correct, riding will be challenging to keep your bottom in the saddle. In addition, your pelvis needs to move correctly. Your pelvis should be able to move in three dimensions; the most common riding problem can be traced back to the pelvis. If you are crooked in the saddle, can’t follow the canter in one direction, or have trouble picking up one lead? Does your head tilt off to one side? Is one shoulder higher than the other? More than likely, your pelvis is out of whack.

Pelvis Position

Your pelvis might appear to be one bone, but it is three bones – the sacrum in the middle and the iliac (sit bones) on either side. These three bones are connected by tough cartilage that allows the pelvis to flex slightly. If it can’t turn properly, the body compensates by getting crooked. Generally, we tend to be heavy on our right side for driving and computer use. Before fixing someone’s head position, or uneven stirrup length, I look at what is going on with your pelvis.

If your pelvis is neutral, your legs and torso can operate adequately. For your pelvis to function correctly, all its muscles must be balanced in strength and flexibility. Your tummy must be as firm as your back and your hamstrings as your quads. The inside of your thighs must be as flexible as the outside, and your right waist must be as long as your left.

Heels down

Pushing your heel down in the stirrup will cause your legs to swing ahead into the chair seats and tip you into the back of the saddle. Your feet should be flat, resting in the stirrups.

So, in closing, if you wish to have a genuine connection with your horse, you need to

He must not injure his back or his brain in any way.
Learn to ride to your best ability, and treat your horse as a partner and friend, not as a tool to win the next rosette.