The classical argument is that the shoulder-hip-heel must be plumb, as described here
But in this article (link below) Catherine Haddad says "study the reality. How many top dressage riders present an ear, shoulder, hip, heel line in real life? The best ones almost always have their heel slightly ahead of this line. In classical Greek and Roman sculpture, you will find riders sitting in natural balance on the horse—with the knee placed well forward and the lower leg falling comfortably out the knee toward the ground. "
Riding bareback puts riders into a position that in a saddle would be considered a chair seat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMo-w69I0WA
I guess it's a matter of degrees.
I would also venture to guess that it is a matter of personal anatomy. Looking at the the best upper level riders, there are some that sit more on their tush than others.
Maybe that's why she has flappy legs ?
Originally Posted by whitewolfe001
Context. As I keep stating. They might consider five years as old, or 1,000 years. They also might be mistaken in calling something a chair seat. Without that extra information, you have no context and no way to know if your reply is helpful. You also don't know if they're simply trolling.
Originally Posted by Foxtrot's
Riding dressages requires use of the thigh (in conjunction with your seat) more than your lower leg.
A chair seat encourages gripping with your calves and makes it tough to keep your thigh on the horse.
Thanks for the informative replies. I wasn't trolling, just wondering if there was a biomechanical reason against chair seat ( as in this photo: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0sqnWsgvWp...25281%2529.jpg , or old greek statues, or those photos of jumping that someone posted) "Everyone" was clearly the wrong word. When riding bareback, legs forward seems to be the natural way the body drapes on the horse.
Boy it gets catty fast on this board, though ;)
I have seen many old pix with chair seats. Granted, that is not "everyone in dressage" (not sure that is what poor OP even implied), but I have seen quite a few of men sitting in chair seat with the puffed hip breeches.
I think they were more hunt/jumping riders or just plain old general purpose English riding. I think some were of cavalry (no, not every cavalry man sat in a chair seat, nor am I saying that how that is how they were taughT: I am saying I have seen pix of some in a chair seat). Never could figure out how they even posted & it seems to set one up for a jostle filled rid.e
it doesn't matter how it used to be done (and remember that "back then" most rider rode in a saddle closer to a jumping saddle than what we call a dressage saddle) what matters is how the rider feels. the rider needs to be balanced. and current saddle design dictates that you need to ride in a more or less "classical" seat with shoulder/hip/ heel alignment.
as someone who has ridden for over 40 years i know that the more close i get to the classical ideal the more balanced and independent my seat gets and the better my horse goes.
it's just physics....
In the old photos, as mbm has pointed out, many of the riders were on saddles more similar to jumping saddles, or a forward seat position. The balance of a forward seat is such that when the rider posts, or goes into two-point, the rider is placing his/her center of gravity above that of the horse...moving the rider's center of gravity "forward." This is not the case with the present day dressage saddles, or the way we balance in them. Collection of the horse is designed to bring the horse's center of gravity rearward in order to better allign with the center of the rider. As the horse becomes collected, the rider begins to feel that the horse is easier to ride...and it is... because the rider has an easier time of dealing with suspension as the two centers move into closer proximity to each other.
There are a couple of other things wrong with the chairseat. When the rider is in a chairseat, the rider's pelvis does round the seatbones under to a greater degree...which is what is needed for the half-halt. But, when that position is constant, the excess pressure is always there which means the horse cannot discern the half-halt because the rider is not changing the weight aids. Any leg position, must come from correct pelvis allignment, and if the pelvis is wrong, that is what keeps the rider's legs from accessing the horse's sides correctly. In addition, since the excess pressure of the pelvis is taken constantly more rearward on the horse's back, it is also placing excessive pressure constantly on the loin portion of the horse's back, which is not as strong as more forward areas that are closer to the horse's center of gravity. Quite likely, over time, this results in a horse that will have sore back problems.
I think in the case of the SRS photo, and in the lovely video of Isabelle Werth on Satchmo the riders cleary exhibit a strong, indepedent seat, and the lower leg is moved where it needs to go depending on the movement. It's possible to have an absolutely fantastic seat and unconventional leg position (look up any thread regarding Richard Spooner riding jumpers).
For mere mortals like me, a chair seat is a sign that I'm not riding correctly - I have stopped using my core and now I'm bracing on my stirrups and probably using way too much hand as well. And usually that means I've stuck my butt out too.
I think an ill-suited saddle can shove a rider into a chair seat as well.
Originally Posted by Carol O