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How To Improve Your Classical Seat In Horse Riding

How To Improve Your Classical Seat In Horse Riding

Whether you're a novice or an experienced rider, this VideoJug video is essential for improving and perfecting your classical seat whilst horse riding.

Step 1: The correct position

What exactly is a correct classical seat? Put simply, it's when the rider's centre of gravity is perfectly positioned and aligned in the saddle.

In the correct position, there should be a perfectly straight line from the ear, to the shoulder, to the hip, to the heel and another straight line from the horse's mouth up through the reins to the elbow. The rider should also look straight from behind - from the head right down through the body. The foundation of a good seat comes from the pelvis, which should always be upright and with equal weight on each seat bone and the pubic bone.

Step 2: The benefits

There are many benefits for both horse and rider in improving your riding seat. It not only helps you to stay balanced as the horse is moving but you'll have easier communication with him and be able to apply the aids more effectively. Your horse listens to your body weight, so it's better when it's evenly distributed. Quite simply, it's much more comfortable for your horse and you'll do his back less damage in the long term.

Step 3: Correcting the chair position

One of the most common problems is known as the 'chair position'. This is when the lower leg comes forward. All lower leg problems come from having an insecure seat. This position causes problems as you can easily get 'behind' the movement of your horse which causes you to tip backwards and grip up with your legs. Riders with this position have too much weight on their seat bones.

Solutions:

CAUTION! As a general caution do not attempt to do any of the following exercises if you suspect a lower back problem. Consult your doctor first.

Firstly, take away the stirrups by crossing them over the saddle in front of you. Then wiggle around in the saddle to feel all the three points, the seat bones and pubic bone.

Rock forwards and backwards until you find a comfortable place and the pelvis feels upright.

Circle the ankles towards the horse. This exercise really helps relax the hip at the top.

Try swinging one leg forwards and the other backwards, keeping the toes in and the heels out, so as not to kick your horse.

Hold the front of the saddle with one hand and with the other grab an ankle and stretch your knee to the floor. This strengthens and opens the hips and pelvis. Hold this position for thirty seconds. Relax and then repeat with your other leg.

Here's another exercise to try. Hold both reins in one hand, bring both legs up to the top of the saddle and then push both legs back down towards the hocks of the horse, without tipping forward! This will stretch your hip flexors. Relax and repeat this exercise several times.

Step 4: Correcting lower leg problems

Another major rider error is a 'wobbly 'lower leg problem. This is when the lower leg swings loosely backwards and forwards. This will cause the rider to tip forward in a see-saw effect, onto the pubic bone. The knees will also 'grip up'. This can cause tension in the lower back, and impedes the horse's movement. There should never be tension in the knees. The only time you need to grip is when jumping or galloping. So we need them relaxed.

Solutions:

With the stirrups taken away, stretch your legs pointing your toes to the floor and then level your heel with your toes. This helps to stretch the leg longer.

Take your legs away from the horse's side and then place them gently back on. Repeat this movement several times.

Pretend your riding a bicycle and cycle really fast! This loosens the entire leg and again helps to stretch it down and lengthen it. Try this exercise whilst moving and whilst static.

Step 5: Correcting upper body problems

There are several upper body problems that come from tension or bad posture. The head needs to be relaxed and straight. Tension in the head and neck is a major problem. If the neck