Horse-Riding: the Logic of the Correct Seat
Unless the rider sits correctly, the horse will move with pain or discomfort. A deep, adhesive, balanced seat that correctly partners the horse’s movement is indispensable for the rider who wants to help rather than destroy his horse. The absence of any discomfort for the horse signals that mutual cooperation between horse and rider can possibly begin. Through a good seat, we can gain the horse’s trust in us as a partner and his attention to our wishes. Only a correctly seated rider can apply the aids effectively. By the combination of becoming a harmonious weight and by communicating properly, we may achieve the desired athletic development in our horse.
Relaxation allows horse and rider to harmonize, finding pleasure in moving through space in cooperative unity. With appropriate strength in specific muscle groups, the rider can use his aids to communicate with his horse.
Balancing the rider in the saddle is the first and paramount step for him on the way to controlling the horse. As long as the rider fears falling off, or even just losing his balance, relaxation cannot be expected. When losing balance, we instinctively tighten and grip with many sets of muscles, hoping that by strength, we can prevent falling off. Lungeing by an expert provides the rider with the hours in the saddle that give a sense of safety through improved balance. At first, the rider should hold the front of the saddle or a gripper strap and not the reins. The rider will gradually become independent of the need to hold on to anything to secure his balance. Once the rider has stopped losing his balance and slipping in the saddle while riding the basic gaits, he can begin exercises that involve moving various parts of his body independently.
An independently balanced rider emerges after a long process of carefully selected suitable suppling and stretching exercises. Useful stretching and limbering exercises should be done first at the walk, then at the trot, and finally at the canter.
An equestrian earns the name of “rider” by acquiring a balanced and independent seat. Having achieved that, he should be allowed to take control of his horse. Allowing premature control of the horse by the novice rider can cause undesirable habits, and such a rider’s seat and aids may never be completely corrected.