Posted by: ivyschex | July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010 Diary post

July 28, 2010


I worked with Jackson for a little over an hour. I rode in the bitless bridle and I tried out the other English saddle. I did like that saddle a little better, but I still felt that it put me in a little bit of a chair position, though perhaps that is just me.

I started out doing lateral work at the walk. I did shoulder in and haunches in. He did do better today than last time. I didn’t do any of that at the trot this time. I did a few walk pirouettes for a quarter turn.

Then I did some work at the trot, trying to get Jackson to stretch down. He did a little bit. Then I did some canter work; not anything exciting. Then when I slowed down to the trot, he had a hard time lifting his back and going forward. It ended up that I just stopped for a couple of minutes and then tried again and that worked.

Then I asked my brother to come take a video. I did quite a bit of trotting. I really tried to keep my elbows in, shoulders back, and head up. I think that sometimes it was okay, but it was hard to post in that saddle.

Is my position any better? Do I need to try other saddles or just learn to balance in that one?



  1. Hi Ivy,

    I think you should definitely learn how to balance while riding. You’re bouncing a little and it interferes with the horse’s motion. What I can see from the video is that you two are trotting separately. Jackson is moving in his own tempo and you are all the time behind him. Your body should move WITH him, so that you feel in your hips every step he takes with his legs – can you tell at any given moment where his legs go? But to do it correctly your pelvis must be able to move with the horse. If it is tucked and you are slouching, even a tiny bit, you can’t do it. Experiment with it on the ground: stand with your legs on your hips level, as if you were riding, tuck your pelvis under and do some small motions with your buttocks. Do you see how it affects your body? While your waist and hips move, entire body moves: the back, knees and calves. If it was like that on your horse, you would be doing a lot of background noise, and he couldn’t distinguish all that bouncy movement from real aids that should mean something to him. You’re just rambling then.
    Now try to push your belly in front of you a little. You feel how the curve of lumbar vertebrae emphasizes (hope that makes sense?). As a result, your back reaches up, and your head forward. It is a chain reaction. Now do the same motions with your buttocks as before. Do you feel the difference? This position lets you to maintain the stability in your head and upper parts of the body. They should only glide along, with no distractions from your waist.
    While riding try to do the same: press your belly in front of you so that you will be sitting in front of the saddle. There is no need for you to even touch the back of it (a cantle? Hope it is the right word!). Avoid it as if it was burning. Imagine a big spring that is tied to your belly and draws you forward and up with every single stride.

    As to your elbows: forget about it. It is not your biggest problem now. I would advise you to ride with your arms stretched out, with no contact on the horse’s mouth. It helps to open your chest. If your seat is all right, then the rest of your body – including your arms and elbows will naturally fall into place. Remember that you improve your posture WITHOUT a horse – by walking in correct way, doing Pilates exercises etc. and on the horse you just let your body do the job.
    There is a lot of books about a good seat so if you like reading, find it out. Sally Swift’s books are great, but many others contain some useful exercises too. I’m reading Mike Schaffer’s book now and he talks also about your contact with the horse. If you are planning to purchase it, that’s great, if not, I could write something about these exercises for you. But at first, deal with your pelvis and back.
    Uh, what a long comment I have written 😉 Hope this helps. Don’t be discouraged, I have had a few lessons with beginners so I know it takes some time to feel your horse 🙂
    Best wishes,

    • Ola,

      Sorry for taking so long to respond. I didn’t realize I had a new comment. Thank you very much for taking the time to write about my seat. I have had lots of helpful comments on other forums. I have been doing different exercises to help me have a better seat. I have been really trying to get my upper body to be in a better posture.

      I do practice this when not on the horse. I also have my brother helping me. He lunges Jackson and tells me if I am falling forward and things like that. I believe that it really is improving and I hope to get a video tomorrow to see if there is improvement.

      Again, thank you so much.


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