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OveroHunter
May. 3, 2012, 01:25 PM
I cannot for the life of me get my legs back in a western saddle. My body keeps trying to get into the chair seat... What is the secret??

I have rode english all my life and don't really have a problem with the head, hip, heel thing in my close contact jumping saddle. For some reason, you stick me in a western saddle, lengthen my stirrups, and tell me to keep my weight in my butt my body goes to instand chair seat.

Any tips? I have this idea that one day I'll actually show a WP horse.

cowgirljenn
May. 3, 2012, 01:45 PM
Have you tried riding in more than one saddle? I have one saddle where the fenders on the stirrups are so stiff that I have trouble getting my legs into a good position. I need to get rid of that saddle and get a better one (along with all the other things I need to do!)

trabern
May. 3, 2012, 01:57 PM
Hundreds of people are right now reading your post, scratching their heads, and saying something like "You mean in western one is not supposed to have a chair seat? What's this weight-your-butt thing all about then?" ;)

EquineImagined
May. 3, 2012, 02:05 PM
what finally got rid of my chair seat in the western saddle...was thinking dressage.

Legit.

Mad Mare
May. 3, 2012, 02:07 PM
what finally got rid of my chair seat in the western saddle...was thinking dressage.

Legit.

Yep. Same seat. OP is sitting on her butt, which is the problem. Sit on your *seat bones*, not your butt.

Try a different saddle, too. Many western ones will put you in a chair seat no matter how you sit.

Eileen

OveroHunter
May. 3, 2012, 02:13 PM
If it helps, here's me and my chair: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.577353925990.2326539.4923850&type=3#!/photo.php?fbid=577354569700&set=a.577353925990.2326539.4923850&type=3&theater

Here's a little less chair, but it's because I'm sitting on my crotch and not my butt: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100764758045590.3002562.4923850&type=3#!/photo.php?fbid=10100764785081410&set=a.10100764758045590.3002562.4923850&type=3&theater

I have been thinking about taking dressage lessons, maybe I'll look into it a little harder now :)

EquineImagined
May. 3, 2012, 02:17 PM
Is your saddle a smidge too big? It looks like you're pushing yourself all the way up against the cantle, or bracing in your stirrups and forcing your heel down instead of letting them relax into it maybe? Try scooching forward in the seat maybe?

Not a true western rider myself, but maybe that'll help a little?

SwampYankee
May. 3, 2012, 02:22 PM
Try a "barrel racing" saddle. Lots of advantages. They put you "body over stirrups" just like a dressage saddle because they're built for the rider to stand up when racing; and they tend to weigh under 25 lbs. which is a huge help for those of us not built like Aaaahnold. I've actually used mine to school dressage in for that reason.

bugsynskeeter
May. 3, 2012, 02:23 PM
First off - its horsemanship, not Equitation. You need to get off your butt...that is what is causing your legs to go forward. You need to, for lack of a better description, ride on your crotch. You should see your toe, but no more of your leg. If you can see more, move your leg back. When I was riding horsemanship, I would have to sometimes have someone physically place my leg in the correct position in order to get the feel of where it needs to be. You might need someone to do the same and be there to correct you the moment your leg gets out of position. Here are some videos of some VERY nice horsemanship patterns...compare the rider's position to yours and where you need to adjust things:

http://aqha.com/Showing/World-Show/Classes/Amateur-Western/Western-Horsemanship.aspx

http://www.aqha.com/Showing/Youth-World/Classes/Western-Horsemanship.aspx

Also - the type of saddle you ride in makes a huge difference. I cannot put myself in a horsemanship position in my reining saddle - the position of the fenders won't let me. Pleasure and horsemanship saddles make a huge difference. Oh - and get lessons on a legit horsemanship horse. Learn to feel it on one that is made before trying to make yourself and the horse.

Moderator 1
May. 3, 2012, 02:26 PM
We moved you on over to our newly created Western forum!

Bluey
May. 3, 2012, 02:33 PM
Drop the stirrups, that will help you keep your leg where it needs to be, no matter where the fenders are trying to put them.

Once you catch up to how to ride in that kind of bump in the log saddles, compared with most English saddles, then you can see if you can train the fenders to hang where you need them to, or like I do, use surgery.

I cut my fender strap, where it goes over the bar, down a good 1/3 off and so it can move around much more, forward and back, as I want to.

For shorter legged people, good, solid leather fenders tend to bind badly and cause chair seat by default.

AliCat518
May. 3, 2012, 02:34 PM
Woo, a Western Forum!!

Anywho, I have the SAME DANG problem in a western saddle. That and losing my stirrups constantly. Boyfriend, who rides western is constantly telling me to sit on my back pockets (or something along those lines) but it feels so wrong. And my leg shoots forward.

I could also use some help learning how to dismount without 1. getting punched in the gut by the horn or 2. getting my shirt caught on the horn.

trubandloki
May. 3, 2012, 02:44 PM
First off - its horsemanship, not Equitation.

I do not think the term Equitation is wrong. It is just not as commonly used in some places.

Or maybe the open show series is just wrong.

bugsynskeeter
May. 3, 2012, 03:08 PM
I do not think the term Equitation is wrong. It is just not as commonly used in some places.

Or maybe the open show series is just wrong.

To use the proper terminology - Horsemanship refers to the judging of a rider's position while riding in a western saddle. Equitation refers to the judging of a rider's position while riding in an english saddle.

Sorry - it's one of my pet peeves. It's a stupid pet peeve, but one none-the-less.

OveroHunter
May. 3, 2012, 04:04 PM
To use the proper terminology - Horsemanship refers to the judging of a rider's position while riding in a western saddle. Equitation refers to the judging of a rider's position while riding in an english saddle.

Sorry - it's one of my pet peeves. It's a stupid pet peeve, but one none-the-less.

No big deal, I just wanted to make sure people knew I was talking about my position in the saddle.

Question because you actually know horsemanship - what's with the fist in the hand not holding the reins? I've always wondered that...

So excited about this forum!!

Bluey
May. 3, 2012, 04:04 PM
Woo, a Western Forum!!

Anywho, I have the SAME DANG problem in a western saddle. That and losing my stirrups constantly. Boyfriend, who rides western is constantly telling me to sit on my back pockets (or something along those lines) but it feels so wrong. And my leg shoots forward.

I could also use some help learning how to dismount without 1. getting punched in the gut by the horn or 2. getting my shirt caught on the horn.

Or getting more than your shirt caught on the horn.:lol:

Dismount standing straight, not leaning forward.:yes:

bugsynskeeter
May. 3, 2012, 04:39 PM
No big deal, I just wanted to make sure people knew I was talking about my position in the saddle.

Question because you actually know horsemanship - what's with the fist in the hand not holding the reins? I've always wondered that...

So excited about this forum!!

You are supposed to hold your off hand up like that to keep your shoulders square. The fist just looks better than keeping your hand handing open, flopping around. I don't make as firm of a fist as those riders do...I make a loose fist to help me stay relaxed.

Try hold your hand down by your side and keeping your shoulders square - its hard isn't it?

goodhors
May. 3, 2012, 04:43 PM
The leg problem could be how the saddle is built, the way the stirrups hang. Seat size could be too big, so you never can get "over" your feet.

I am constantly amazed at how BIG the seat is on saddles now, with slender, willowy children riding them! Few have less than a 16" seat. And it DOES affect their riding because they move so much in that space. My daughter rode my old saddle, 14" seat, was always in a good body postion with no work. She was ready for any request to her horse that might need a change in games or tests. She got compliments on her seat and a lot of ribbons in the Horsemanship classes.

Way "back in the day" when I first went saddle shopping for my new horse, they only offered saddles in 14", 14 1/2" and 15" seat sizes!! Littler sizes for kids were available, but anything bigger than 15" was going to be a custom order saddle.

So you might want to go "sit on" a lot of saddles at the tack store, in various sizes, to see what it takes to get you sitting up over your feet. Equitation picture you want is the same as English basic seat, Head, shoulders, hips and feet in a line vertically. It is NOT supposed to be hard to do, if your saddle will allow you to get in that postition. Spine is supposed to be straight, not rolling your hips up under you to sit on your back pockets. For guys with a bad fitting saddle, pocket seat position might be common as they try to get comfortable.

DO dismount standing straight up in the stirrup. Then step down IN CONTROL of your body and speed. Some of the worst wrecks happen with floppy shirt tails hanging up on the horn, or snagging your belt, lower sweater hem, or your BRA! Seen that happen a number of times!! Those riders ALWAYS were leaning, over the horn, over the seat, so clothes easily snagged on the horn. They did not dismount by standing straight up AWAY from the horn, to step down and off the equine in a smooth movement. I really don't recommend kicking the stirrup free and sliding down, as seen among many English riders. Too easy to hang up on western saddle parts.

sorrelfilly721
May. 3, 2012, 04:44 PM
To use the proper terminology - Horsemanship refers to the judging of a rider's position while riding in a western saddle. Equitation refers to the judging of a rider's position while riding in an english saddle.

Sorry - it's one of my pet peeves. It's a stupid pet peeve, but one none-the-less.

When I showed, horsemanship meant we had a pattern in the class. Equitation meant we went around on the rail. They were both used for English and Western.

OK - so curious, I had to look it up and found this:

•Encyclopedia Britannica – (horsemanship)Art of training, riding, and handling horses. Good horsemanship requires that a rider control the animal’s direction, gait, and speed with maximum effectiveness and minimum effort. Natural aids are a rider’s balance, hands, voice, and legs; artificial aids include bits, reins, saddles, and spurs. Horsemanship was important to cavalrymen and cowboys, and is the fundamental element of dressage.
(equitation)A rider’s ability to ride correctly with a strong, supple position and effective aids. This is judged in equitation classes, or classes at horse shows that mainly judge the rider’s performance and control of their horse, as opposed to the performance of the horse. Equitation classes occur in the Hunt seat, Saddle seat, Dressage, and Western disciplines. A good equitation rider is always in balance with the horse, maintains a correct position in every gait, movement, or over a fence, and possesses a commanding, but relaxed, presence. They are effective riders, able to direct the horse with nearly invisible aids.
•Dictionary - (horsemanship) The skill of riding horses; equitation. (equitation) The art and practice of riding a horse.

ksojerio
May. 3, 2012, 04:46 PM
I think the best way to describe it is to say that your western eq seat is the same position you would find yourself in if you were riding bareback.

You don't ride bareback on your butt or in a "chair sitting" position.

ReSomething
May. 3, 2012, 04:52 PM
When I showed, horsemanship meant we had a pattern in the class. Equitation meant we went around on the rail. They were both used for English and Western.

Ditto. Might be a CA thing, along with romels.

Plumcreek
May. 3, 2012, 06:29 PM
OH,
Don't sit on your butt, TUCK your butt. Drop your stirrups, grab the horn and pull yourself as far forward in the saddle as possible, bring your legs back where they belong, and tuck your butt then imagine pushing forward on the lower small of your back.while riding.

Your saddle may just be too big as it does not look like it has that built up hump in front, like the older eq saddles did. Or, your saddle may be styled so that your stirrups may be hung too far forward,(7/8 vs 3/4) if you cannot physically keep your legs back under you.

Look at the futurity WP riders - they are not sitting on their butt- they are leaning back, but their seat is tucked forward and underneath them, not draped over the cantle. Sitting forward lets your legs be farther back underneath you so you can engage the horse. Also eliminates leaning forward. Took me years to learn this in a western saddle.

If you just cannot sit more to the front off the cantle, try posting while envisioning touching the horn with the back of your butt each time. That will fix it.

Thoroughbred in Color
May. 3, 2012, 07:37 PM
When I showed, horsemanship meant we had a pattern in the class. Equitation meant we went around on the rail. They were both used for English and Western.

Yep, same here. I've never shown in a Western Eq class that had a pattern, or a Western Horsemanship class that didn't have a pattern.

The terms might have semi-interchangeable definitions, but show ring wise they are two entirely different things.

OveroHunter, your position isn't that bad in the second photo, but it is clear you are fighting the saddle. Try a size smaller seat, or a different style and I bet you will be able to correct that chair seat no problem :yes:. And, whatever you do, TUNE OUT anybody that is telling you to either "sit on your back pockets" or "sit on your butt/crotch".

UrbanHennery
May. 4, 2012, 12:24 AM
Plumcreek is right about tucking your tailbone/butt rather than sitting on your pockets. I just had that lightbulb moment about a month ago when my trainer was yelling at me to open my knees, relax my seat, and pull my shoulders back. When I whined that it made my back hurt she told me that it was because I wasn't tucking my tailbone. Light bulb! I've been thinking of sitting on my pockets and trying to keep my back straight - made my lower back hollow and my legs move too far forward. That simple change in thought has made a massive difference in how I'm riding and driving my reiner forward.

EquineImagined
May. 4, 2012, 09:30 AM
I wonder if the horsemanship/western eq may also have to do with the level of the show? The local shows we go to where they host English and Western, there's English Pleasure/English Pleasure EQ. Western Pleasure/WP EQ.

As for getting nailed by the horn when mounting/dismounting. Sometimes I place my hand over it, that helps. And I learned to try REALLY hard not to lean straight forward when dismounting. Off to the side just a little maybe, or just don't lean. Probably the 'wrong' thing to do on both counts, but it's saved me from getting hung up so it works for me. :lol:

SuckerForHorses
May. 4, 2012, 10:40 AM
Try a "barrel racing" saddle. Lots of advantages. They put you "body over stirrups" just like a dressage saddle because they're built for the rider to stand up when racing; and they tend to weigh under 25 lbs. which is a huge help for those of us not built like Aaaahnold. I've actually used mine to school dressage in for that reason.

Hmmm...I disagree. I barrel race, and if you at any time don't have your arse down in that saddle, with your legs slightly forward especially for turning and stopping, you aren't going to be in the saddle very long :lol:

Barrel saddles do put your leg in the chair position.

Look for an equitation or pleasure saddle.

SuckerForHorses
May. 4, 2012, 10:44 AM
Think: open hips, and belly button to spine. It helps to tuck your bum, by tilting your pelvis forward, and not clenching your butt cheeks. If your core is not strong, you wont' be able to stay upright without your legs to hold you up (i.e. moving too far forward or back to support your top half).

OveroHunter
May. 4, 2012, 11:00 AM
Thanks so much everyone!! Plumcreek, great explanation!! I have really had the wrong idea in my head all along... I have been sitting on my back pockets and wondering how it was physically possible to do that and get my legs back where they need to be.

Plumcreek
May. 4, 2012, 01:02 PM
it is so ridiculously simple, it is almost embarassing to have struggled so many years before figuring it out that what I know in a hunt seat saddle is the same in a western saddle: your seat in the saddle (your butt) has to be directly over the horse's center of balance. If you sit back on your pockets, then you are behind the center of balance, and must lean forward and push your legs forward to keep the majority of your weight in balance with the horse. We mess up western because we are usually trying to slow and collect (or drive forward in reining), not cruising in two point.

When I was instructing, I would teach this seat correction: Stand up with the stirrups directly underneath you, and push your weight into your heels. Now sit by sliding your knees vertically down until your crotch is on the saddle. Roll your shoulders back and tuck your butt, then relax your legs without raising your knee. It is more about the knee position than anything else - if it does not raise, you cannot lose a deep heel or slide back further in the saddle. If you slide back to the cantle, you can quickly do this seat correction, and fix yourself. Once seated, helps to think about pulling your toes up vs pushing down on your heel, which makes many people brace between heel and cantle (your first photo).

Funny thing, if you can learn to sit forward in the saddle, vs leaning forward, and keep your legs back on your horse's sides, marvelous things happen with western horses engaging more, raising their back, lowering their necks, and becoming collected and slow. When I start fighting my horse's frame, I fix my position and magically the horse gets better. Once your seat is firmly as above, then you can start learning to do the WP backward lean with legs back and really get into the horses's sides and push them forward into a rounded collection (vs the freaking spur stop). This only works once a horse learns to relax into your calf vs going faster, which is horse training. This is important because horses do not win rail events today with someone pulling on their face to slow them down.

OveroHunter
May. 4, 2012, 02:04 PM
Funny thing, if you can learn to sit forward in the saddle, vs leaning forward, and keep your legs back on your horse's sides, marvelous things happen with western horses engaging more, raising their back, lowering their necks, and becoming collected and slow. When I start fighting my horse's frame, I fix my position and magically the horse gets better. Once your seat is firmly as above, then you can start learning to do the WP backward lean with legs back and really get into the horses's sides and push them forward into a rounded collection (vs the freaking spur stop). This only works once a horse learns to relax into your calf vs going faster, which is horse training. This is important because horses do not win rail events today with someone pulling on their face to slow them down.

I love this :) I wish I could ride with you!

Mad Mare
May. 5, 2012, 01:31 AM
Ditto. Might be a CA thing, along with romels.

Nope. When I did western in the 60s it was Equitation, not Horsemanship. Horsemanship was a halter class. Western Riding was, and I believe still is, the pattern class.

That was in Ontario, Canada.

Eileen

MyssMyst
May. 5, 2012, 02:03 AM
When I showed, equitation was rail, horsemanship was pattern.

In Arabs, I believe it's still called eq and has both a rail and pattern component.

saddleup
May. 5, 2012, 10:14 AM
I show Paints and Horsemanship is in a western saddle, with a pattern. Equitation is in an English saddle, with a pattern, but can include rail work, too. The smaller shows don't usually take the time to do rail work, but it's common at the World Show.

MyssMyst
May. 5, 2012, 11:25 AM
Can we just agree that eq vs horsemanship depends on the breed/show?

bugsynskeeter
May. 5, 2012, 12:05 PM
Can we just agree that eq vs horsemanship depends on the breed/show?

I can agree to that, but if the OP is showing in a stock breed (ie AQHA, APHA, ApHC) then she needs to know the proper terminology. If she shows Arabs or Morgans, and its called western equitation - then that is what she should call it.

So one thing that gets me regarding the eq vs HMS is this - if the classes with patterns were called horsemanship, then why is it called Equitation over fences? Wouldn't that be considered a pattern class?

OveroHunter
May. 7, 2012, 09:52 AM
OP would be happy to pin at a local show ;)

Our ranch has always shown APHA halter, we even stand a World Champion, but they never got big into WP and I have always rode H/J. I only used that term because I know Horsemanship is a class (as is Equitation), but I was not sure if the term horsemanship referred to the rider's actual position in the saddle as equitation does.

Go Fish
May. 7, 2012, 06:21 PM
A few more tips:

Make sure your saddle fenders are properly "twisted." The stirrups should be perpendicular to the horse. If they're not, wet the fenders with hot water until soaked, twist the fenders around once, then place a broom through both stirrups to hold them in place, and let them dry. You may have to do this several times.

You should have weight in the ball of your feet, not just your heel. I trick western judges used to do in horsemanship would be to walk by each rider in the line up and whack the stirrup. You'd be surprised how many riders would lose their stirrup. Another trick is to ride to the inside of your stirrup.

If you've been primarily an english rider, shorten your stirrup a hole. Muscle memory place a part and may help you keep your leg in position. I can't ride in a western saddle anymore with my stirrups as long as I used to.

Ride with a narrower stirrup. This particularly helps shorter-legged riders. Make sure your saddle is not too wide or too big for you.

You ride western with a more open hip/pelvis.

Go Fish
May. 7, 2012, 06:25 PM
I started showing western back in the early 60s. It was called equitation (or medals) in the open shows...horsemanship at the AQHA shows. I don't ever remember the word "equitation" being used at an AQHA show.

Showmanship referred to showing in hand, so to speak - the handler being judged. Halter was also showing in hand, but the horse is being judged.