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Changing Horses - how do you sit western?
I've had 3 lessons and a sweetheart of a horse, 20 year old Rooster (a very good boy). But, as the trainer said "he's not the smoothest horse". I was soooo sore (my tail bone) that I had a hard time getting out of a chair after my last lesson. So I'm giving this 47 year old bruised (literally) tail bone a rest this week from jogging and loping and just planning on a leasurly walk on Ivan Sunday. When I go back to lessons I'll be on a different horse. I'm so curious to feel the difference between Rooster and DC (my soon to be new lesson horse). This pain in the behind has had me pushing Rooster to go faster. My discomfort was more weighty then any fear I had of moving faster! Boy that's inspiration [:I]

When I sit in the saddle, she has me kind of tilt my pelvis upward, so I'm more on my tail bone. Do you guys sit like that?
LOL sorry Bethany but I too know that feeling. I do not sit my Western Saddle any differently then I do my English. It is all learning your Center Core of riding. Posture is something to think about. I have noticed that when I ride my Tennessee Walker she is smooth and I can find my center much quicker with her. Then if I get on the Quarter Horse it is more difficult to find because he is much more choppy. In a Western Saddle you can't feel the horse under you like with an English saddle.
Just imagine how the horse feels with someone bouncing around on it's back. I have a really good book here it is old a woman from Vermont wrote it. It is all about Centered Riding, and strengthening your core. I will PM you with the Title if I can find it. This woman goes into detail and explains things with examples that make alot of sense.
It took me along time to be able to feel the horse and move with it while I was in the saddle. I will be doing some Spring Cleaning and hopefully I will find this book. It has helped me and now with a little practice and patience I am able to ride my quarter horses trot and still be able to walk the next day. I am 45 and not far behind you. Just try to remember when you are in the saddle to sit up nice and straight, shoulders square stick your boobs out and look straight ahead. Posture will help you and this way you should not have to worry about tilting your pelvis. Have your trainer put the horse on a lounge line and take your feet out of the stirrups also just hold your hands where they belong without the reins and concentrate on sitting up nice and tall have all your body parts where they belong and feel the horse move every step. Eventually you will be moving with the horse.
Thats how I learned.

Atrayou, you might be thinking of Centered Riding , by Sally Swift.
Other good books are any by Mary Wanless, she really explains "how" to ride. When I first read her books, I had a great aha moment. Kind of like "so this is what all those phrases your riding instructer shouts out really mean".[Big Grin]
A good rider has a thinking mind, fine emotions and a sensitive hand.-Tu Yu,72 BC

Bouncy trots are one of those self-exaggerating spirals, because the more you bounce, the more it hurts, and the more you tense up... and what you really need to do is NOT tense up, because it makes the bouncing worse! Also, I find it makes the horse try to trot faster, and what you really want is the horse to trot *slower* so you have a chance to get into their rhythm. It's a really hard thing to master. Keep your lower back loose, so that your hips can move with the trot -- a sitting trot doesn't mean that you keep absolutely still (impossible!), just that you move with the horse rather than separately. Being a little bit back on your tailbone can help you feel the rhythm of the horse's hindquarters, which is usually the "bouncier" part that you want to match.

Good luck, and yeah, give that tailbone a rest for a bit... nothing wrong with a nice walk!

Two things helped me get the feel for sitting the trot. First was to do some riding without stirrups (along with everything 'plash said about relaxing through your back, etc.). If you're bouncing, you're "pinching" or locking somewhere - maybe your ankles are locked, or you're trying to hold yourself on by gripping with your knees, or you're stiff through your hips - where ever it is, it keeps you from moving exactly with the horse, so you bounce. Me? It's usually all of the above.[Tongue] But in a perfect world, your seat and legs would be like they had been poured out of a kid's jar of Slime - no tension, just even pressure from the seat right down to the stirrups. For me, anyway, riding without stirrups made that a little easier to achieve, although it took a lot of practice - old dogs and new tricks...[xx(]

I never thought of it the way 'Plash phrased it, but the second thing was to settle back just a hair and just let the cantle of the saddle push my hips through the motion from behind - 'Plash called it sitting back on your tailbone.

If it's any consolation, when you bounce, it isn't any more comfortable for the horse than it is for you.
I'm so busy, I'm not sure if I found a rope or lost my horse.
One thing that I found helps is to give yourself permission to move in the saddle, and then slide with the movement of the horse. Once you relax and let your body slide rather than holding it stiff, things just kind of fall into place.

I normally have no problem sitting any horse - except for Lottie. Lottie is quick and she is fast and she is young and partly trained and I am aware of all the above and don't seem to be able to relax enough on her to get a nice smooth trot. Maybe this is the place to mention the word "chicken". [Big Grin]

It doesn't help that she is not only forward, but quick moving as well. As I learn to trust her more, then asI relax more I am sitting the trot better. But I still hear clucking......
A reining trainer I've worked with has one phrase that is repeated more than any other: "SIT ON YOUR POCKETS!"

Not that you'd want to ride like that quite so much in an English saddle, but it's something I remind myself all the time, especially when cutting.

Sandy tries to get beginning riders to post with no stirrups - no easy feat to maintain that for very long. But it does make you get the feel of maintaining contact, so your lower body can move with the horse without flinging the upper body around. But a harsh trot is ... just a harsh trot. Collection can help a lot, and most horses will have a certain speed where they get much smoother.
Thanks so much for, as always, your kindnesses. I do notice when I tuck my behind in a little I sit pretty securely in the saddle. During my last lesson, I lost the reins (I was neck reining) while working up to a faster lope. I was able to recover and keep going (didn't have much choice). My instructer said "you were totally out of control out there ... but you stayed in the saddle". And I can see your point about tensing ... my tail hurt so dag gone much I was tensing to keep it from more contact with the saddle. And I certainly always thanked Rooster for putting up with my pilot error and thumping on his back. I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. You're a nice people.

And Ms. Hook, I'll never think of you as a chicken.
Lots of good suggestions, esp sit on your pockets (easier said than done)and loosen your lower back so it can move. One of the visualizations that my dressage trainer has told me was "spine like jello". Another thing you might try that helps me a LOT is to let your hips rock from side to side with the movement. Not your upper body, just your hips, kind of like a hula dancer. As your horses back leg comes under, your hip will drop on that side. Let your hip follow the motion and slightly push down with that heel. It helps keep you from tensing up with your calves.

I was at the HHF watching a clinic by a man named Gary Lane. He had a saddle on a rack on the floor. We had to sit in it like we normally would. He then came behind us and pushed gently. Most of us had to catch ourselves. He said if we are correctly seated on the three points of our pelvis then we would not have budged with the push.
To get this 3-point seat, he had us raise our knees up toward the horn and then back to the stirrups without shifting in our saddle.
He has a lot of clinics at Midwest and Kimmie will have his number if you're interested in this approach.
It amazed me!
He also said that children automatically sit this 3-point seat. Seems like it's because their pelvis' aren't totally "locked in to position" yet.
[url=""]Wendi's Riding Log[/url]


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