Horse-Riding: Some Observations about the Seat

The following illustration can aid visually our understanding that the harmonious seat results from balance, relaxation, and appropriate flexion. Certain parts of the body should be relaxed while others must be flexed!

Note in the illustration that, in my opinion, harmony through the seat is not only a by-product of balance, relaxation, and flexion, but also is synonymous with controlling the horse’s actions.

A balanced seat is the “vertical seat,” which appears to be “leaning behind the vertical” because the nape of the neck and the shoulder blades should remain behind the seat bones. The term “vertical” implies a vertical spinal position. The neck of the rider as well as his tailbone are both part of the spine. In order to produce a weight vector perpendicular to the ground, the line from the shoulder joints to the tailbone, rather than the line descending from the shoulder joints to the crotch, should be vertical. The weight of the torso acting perpendicularly downward should be able to propel the pelvic structure horizontally forward in front of the spine. The rider progressing horizontally harmoniously results from his utilization of his weight’s vertical gravitational pressure transformed through the lumbar back into a horizontally forward thrusting pelvis.

An incorrectly sitting rider with an arched back hollows and tenses the lumbar area and pushes the buttocks out behind the movement, which will cause his own abdomen to undulate and rock forward and back, acting as a shock absorber. In such a case, the rider’s weight and driving force will fall toward the crotch and cannot enter the saddle to influence the horse. The sense of direction in the seat will come from feeling that the weight of the shoulders back and down arrives in the saddle at the back of the seat, pressing the seat bones forward and downward toward the withers in the direction of the horse’s movement.

Leave a Reply