Yes, I agree .... <<but>>....
Originally Posted by RedHorses
Just because a new saddle puts you in a "correct" v. "incorrect" basic position, doesn't mean it really fits the rider. There are hundreds of saddle fit threads on this board where people try saddle after saddle until they find *just the right one* and many of them SEEM to be a good fit, but don't feel quite right.
So I agree that you should TRY to ride in it; but this is also where a good trainer can help a lot. I took a saddle on trial once from a tack store with a reasonably good selection and person who seemed to know how to help you fit yourself to the saddle (and I tried about 20 saddles in the store). When I actually sat in it on a horse, it was terrible. My trainer wouldn't even allow me to canter in it because I was so unstable. So what appeared at first to be a good fit, wasn't actually a good fit for me on the horse.
Give it some time, and if possible have someone video you so you can see what you look like AND what it feels like. And if you can't make it work, don't assume it's all your fault.
OP, if you could post some pics of you in the old saddle vs new saddle that would help us figured out if it is the saddle that is the problem or if it is your position. Videos would help too.
Best test (IMO) is to hop on bareback and go for a ride. Can you keep your balance w/t/c? If so then it is DEFINITELY the saddle that is the problem, not you. If you feel like you're falling off at the trot, then it is probably you. :)
Had a long tiring weekend at work. Last Thursday when I was going to ride, it was freakishly windy.My friend got bucked off of her horse. We spent all afternoon, before I had to go to work, in the emergency room. Luckily, nothing's broken, and she is fine.:( Then it was work all weekend...today was the first time in the saddle since Wednesday...
Your post seems to have helped me, with time I'm hoping it'll get better. Now that I've watched video my friend recorded today, I'm more confused. More on that later.
Originally Posted by mvp
Thanks so much! I will just keep trying! I also started doing the circles with no inside stirrup, and can feel why it will help.
Definitely willing to give it time. Hopefully it does put me in correct position. After watching video my friend took today, I can see it's better than the old saddle, but not sure if my position is correct.Though, I have not been trained well, so there is no way for me to tell. I do have a photo of me in the old saddle to compare with.Will try and figure out how to post those a bit later.
Originally Posted by S1969
As for bareback, I can sit the trot for about an hour now without bouncing all over, and without getting sore. At the lope,my balance is not as good, but is getting better. I've only done loped bareback maybe 10 times, but can turn and do transitions and circles without falling off. What I really need is a good trainer.
Here goes, first time posting a video to a forum. Hopefully the links work. I'd been riding for a few hours prior.The quality isn't that great. My stops aren't usually like that, but this saddle has me all screwey right now. So glad my horse is such a doll! The last circle of the video at the lope, I lost my inside stirrup., ugh.
(If we look funny together, it's that Zepher is 14.1, and I'm a bit over 5'9".)
Here's a picture from late summer of last year in the old saddle.
You might want to compare a still from your video to the images here:
I can't see your FB photo (probably due to privacy settings) and I don't ride western, (so take my critique with a grain of salt), but to me it looks like your feet and knees are way ahead of your hips; and I can see why you would be struggling with your balance.
Originally Posted by dnabbody
Compare to this picture (lifted off the web, no idea who the rider is):
And not to get into a discussion of WP etc., but this rider looks balanced because her heels/knees/hips/shoulders are basically in line with each other. I know that there are variations of this position depending of discipline, but overall, you need to be basically aligned or you will be off balance. (In your case, your body is behind your heels & knees -- if you tried to stand in your stirrups you would not be able to do it).
I don't think you look like you're in a typical "western chair seat" - because you look really uncomfortable. Stirrups look short and placed too far in front. Maybe that means the seat is too small, or something else; not just stirrup length.
Maybe some western riders will chime in to help. I know that different kinds of western saddles are built differently (reining v. pleasure, etc.) so hopefully someone else can comment on the saddle specifically.
I see you leaning back sometimes, being left a bit behind. Yes feet are out in front a bit. Your pelvis is tilted back; seems like that is pushing her into more trot than it typically considered a western jog.
I also think the stirrups are too short and that is preventing you from SITTING in the saddle as opposed to bouncing along.
Nice lope! When I tip forward with the downward transition like that, it's because I'm not sitting down. Make sure you SIT DEEP before/when you ask for the dt.
The picture S1969 posted is a very good example of position.
Just a note on video taking...have your friend hold her phone sideways next time for a bigger/wider field on the screen.
Nice horse and your hands are quiet. Love that you have your shoulders back and are nice and straight. Good job.
Now, I don't think it is the saddle per se, but the fact you are a relatively new rider riding a horse with big movement. You do have your legs out in front of you and your stirrups are too short. You have a very long leg, especially your femur. Now, take heart here, as you improve and really get your leg under you, those long legs will give you a very elegant seat.
So, back to basics here, either with this instructor or another one. You need to learn to open your hips and get your leg back under you in straighter line to hip, heel etc. You need an instructor that will actual teach you some dressage or just good horsemanship to help you get your leg back, your heels down and under you and you need to learn to post that big trot. Good old fashioned two point or standing in your stirrup type of exercises will really help you find your balance. Lunge lessons would really be to your benefit for learning your balanced seat. Most western riders post big trots, and western pleasure horses jog, not that beautiful big working trot your horse does.
I have had arabians and it takes time to learn to ride their big movement. You have a nice horse and you can learn to ride him beautifully with more time and practice. As for the saddle, it needs to fit the horse properly and you need to be comfortable in it too. The stirrups need to be longer and you need to find that "sweet spot" in the saddle where your legs are under you and your butt isn't pushing into the cantle. If the saddle seems a little slick, get some chaps or chinks for security or stick tite. When you first mount, stand straight up in your stirrups and then sit right straight down. I am betting your butt isn't pushed into the cantle. That's where you need to sit.
Practice, practice, practice and send more pictures of you in a longer stirrup and with your leg under you and relaxed. And have FUN!!
I didn't get the impression that the rider is new to riding; only that this saddle is new. She states that she can trot for an hour bareback, and can lope bareback but not as well.
Originally Posted by craz4crtrs
I agree that having a good trainer on the ground will help a lot, but I am not convinced that the saddle is a good fit for her based on the fact that she says she can ride better without it.
New to riding "properly" in this saddle then. Since she is so comfortable bareback, she is gripping too much with her legs, her heels are up and those things contribute to "bounce" and feeling insecure.
Originally Posted by S1969
Even riding bareback, learning to drop your leg down, draping your leg around your horse, same as you should be in the saddle.
Riding bareback is hard, and on a bouncy arab, even more difficult. A lot of riders struggle with trying to ride in a different position than you are used to. I rode bareback a lot as a kid, and now that I am old, there is no way I would be able to ride securely all day that way.
Since you are so comfortable bareback, go to earlier suggestions and ride without stirrups in your saddle practicing with your leg down and around the horse with heels down, etc.
So, dnabbody, how long have you been riding, a couple of years or your whole life? How long have you been riding this particular horse? This may help the suggestions being made. I didn't mean it as a negative when I said relatively new rider, it could just mean to this discipline. Sorry if came across wrong.
Also, those old Simcos are so flat and slippery I can see why you are having issues. I couldn't see the saddle at all in the video or at least what I watched. What are you wanting to do, reining? Play on cows or western pleasure? Maybe you need to try more saddles and compare.
I don't think you look like you're in a typical "western chair seat" - because you look really uncomfortable. Stirrups look short and placed too far in front. Maybe that means the seat is too small, or something else; not just stirrup length.The video shows me in the new saddle. Due to learning to ride in the old saddle with the chair seat position, my legs habitually move forward.I even used that saddle during my lessons on other horses, so wouldn't have known the difference.The video shows less forward leg movement than before, when my toes were well up at his elbow area.Sometimes my toes would bump his legs at the trot, and my calf would hit the cinch instead of his barrel.
A few days ago I just spent 2 hours in the saddle at the walk out on the trail, and think I found where my legs/pelvis need to be (based on what kind people here have suggested, and similar to the pic you posted), and how to relax them.Keeping them that way at another gait is a different story, but trying to take it slow.:lol:I also lowered the stirrups one hole since the video was shot, and my legs hang more straight under me without losing the stirrups. Think I'm getting the feel for how I should be sitting, it will just take time and practice.
Grrr...Looks like I need time and practice posting replies too:lol:
Thanks for the compliments on Zeph.He's been a saint through all of this! However, he has learned a lot as well, such as a more balanced lope, and being (somewhat) collected. He doesn't protest anymore, and seems to be a willing participant to go out and work. This is all a direct result of my learning to be a better rider too. He was only under saddle for maybe 3 years when I bought him, and had only done a few 25 mi endurance rides. He liked to crow-hop or stop completely instead of loping, run through the bit for stopping, and putting his nose way up in the air with the bit in his teeth! We've gotten a handle on each other in a relatively short amount of time!
I've had this horse for 3 years, been riding him a little over a year and a half, but only about 10 months consistently (4-6 days per week, at least an hour or so each time). Since I ride until I relax, and often, it has helped me ride a little better in a short time.We had a lot of set backs after I bought him.He is my first horse in over 25 years.No offense taken by anyone's presumptions, I am here to learn. Had an old horse when I was 12 whom I rode around bareback on out in the hills, but no formal training other than the guy who has been working with me the last 10 months up until recently. We put my first horse down when I was 15, he was 26. The only other riding I've done between now and then, was when I was 16 interning at an Arabian breeder's place for about a year. I didn't know a darned thing though! I consider myself a green beginner. Am also new to this saddle, but believe I should be able to ultimately ride any horse any saddle well enough to have basic control. This Simco has a low cantle, and shallow seat. Seat is suede,saddle is from the '80's, but the man I bought it from used it once.
The last week I've just worked on feeling what works better while keeping the heels, hips, shoulders aligned.NOT EASY! Have been working on relaxing my legs, and not moving them forward, also tilting the pelvis upward a little. Found the best position first with no stirrups, then would try and duplicate it with them. Am also trotting circles with the inside leg out of the stirrup a little, but trying to establish what works at a walk first. We've done a little bareback too. You are right, I do grip more with my legs bareback, so was working on not doing that yesterday. After about an hour and a half, I was starting to feel relaxed enough to sit with a more open hip,and slow his trot enough to a collected jog. I do a lot of thinking about what proper position is and how it should logistically work, but it's hard when I just don't KNOW.
Also hoping to hear back from a dressage trainer I spoke to yesterday for a lesson next week. I want to do lunge lessons, and basic lessons for balance and see where it takes me. Was interested in doing reining, but there really aren't many events close to me. There are way more dressage and open shows. At some point I'd love to show Zeph off, if for any reason, just to say we did it and to get him exposed to different things. So I want to be practical about a discipline.This new saddle has also shown me that we must have a good basic foundation before just taking off into any one specialty.
A word on "bouncy Arabs"--Many people have commented to me on this, but I prefer it.The QHs I've ridden here at the barn are choppy and hard.Tough for me even to tell what lead we're in, but a lot of that is due to inexperience I guess. Maybe I'm just used to the Arab trot!
Anyway, everyone's suggestions and links have been supremely helpful! A lot of food for thought! I do SO appreciate it, and hope to be good enough someday to help someone else out!
A fantastic exercise for learning to balance without gripping with your legs is to ride bareback and point your toes at the ground - actively point (think ballet) not just allowing them to drop. When your muscles are engaged in actively pointing your toes at the ground it's very difficult to grip with your legs. Any time you feel you're losing your balance/seat, lift your toes up and settle yourself, then point them again.
You will very quickly discover whether or not you are holding yourself on with your legs gripping when you ride bareback. ;)
I've done and still do this exercise myself. :yes: