I just had a baby in Oct and i'm back in the saddle finally... Starting slow because my horses and i are so out of shape. But i've been having an issue, cant make it to get any lessons right now due to vehicle issues, dont want to get too much further and develop this "bad habit" even more...
So... I need some suggestions. I seem to have lost my right seat bone. All of my weight is shifting into my left side. Much more evident when going to the right and extremely evident on my sensitive Irish/TB at the canter when he constantly swaps leads. I'm doing some two point to help me get some more balance back, i'm hoping that helps get my weight shifted more evenly side to side... But do you guys have more tips, tricks, and suggestions for getting this issue fixed? I'm not real comfortable going without stirrups just yet, my horses have been quite fresh... As soon as we get a little more settled, i'll work on some no stirrup work.
I have the same problem, and since I haven't been able to ride lately I've been experimenting in my chair. The first thing seems to be to sort of shift my weight completely sideways (to the right) without leaning- just sort of take my chest horizontally to the right. Then I try to think about expanding my body upward from my right seatbone. Basically I want to PUSH up from my right seatbone and push my shoulder higher and straighten my body from that right seatbone on up. It feels to me like the pressure in my right seatbone increases if I do this. No idea how it will feel on a horse yet though.
Maybe try “chair scoots”? Sit on a rolling chair (big exercise ball would be better on carpet) and use your seatbone with a just little leg to move yourself across the floor, or perhaps just use your seatbone to make circles going different directions. Make sure to do this occasionally with your left seatbone so you don't inadvertently make your right much stronger.
If it's more prominent when traveling to the right I would counterbend him a bit in that direction to get his body even underneath you. Really get him to move his left side back over with your outside leg, when you go through a corner push him away from it instead of letting him fall into it, and on the long side you could think a little leg yield to straighten him out. You could play around with that at the walk before moving to the trot.
If I really need to get funky with my position to keep it straighter than the horse's, I lift one seat bone in order to weight the other. In your case, lift your left seat bone with the side of your stomach, literally pull the seat bone straight up, just an inch or two though. Hold that position while your trying to get your horse straight and then go back to normal. Really though, I see something like that lasting for just a few strides because getting the horse straight is usually the real issue.
Last edited by A Horse of Course; Dec. 26, 2008 at 04:01 PM.
I have had the same problem my entire life. What helped me was two things. The first was to just get overall stronger, which cannot be done on horseback. After I started going to the gym, the problem improved. The second is to think about it ALL THE TIME - especially in the car. If I'm at the computer, I'm sitting on my right seat bone. Eating at the dinner table, I'm sitting on my right seatbone. Buit I think it was the gym that helped the most.
I'm not comfortable going with no stirrups yet as stated in my original post. My horses have been silly monsters... Cant blame them, they've been off all year. I cant afford to have broken limbs with a 2 month old baby though... Stirrups are staying for a little while until the beasts calm down and get their brains back in their heads...
I didnt even think about when i'm carying the baby, i do always pick him up on the left. I'll make sure to remember to switch that up. I've also been thinking about which seat bone always takes more weight when i'm sitting, and its almost always the left... So i need to remember that too.
I'm sure its a straightening issue with my horses right now too. Both have always been worse to the right and after having the year off, it sure hasnt improved! I'm starting out fairly slow with them, one is very unbalanced so we are doing HUGE circles, 25m or larger and straight lines as smaller than that she is not ready for... The other is much better, but i sure cant take them deep into corners or anything! Its going to take the three of us a long time i'm afraid. Just hoping we get it together before spring so we can hit some schooling shows at least!
BFZ- I will second and third what Ideayoda said- be very careful with your body mechanics with the baby and in general, a small change makes a huge difference in the saddle!~
I had difficulty weight my right seatbone and my horse is stiffer that side too which didn't help. Went to my chiro and had a light bulb moment I carry my wallet in my right back pocket the whole time. Hence that hip is lifted when I sit and drive...VIOLA! Now I make an effort when I sit and drive to sit square.
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Stick a tennis ball in the triangle between your 2 seat bones and your pubic bone while driving your car, and practice "finding" the ball with your choice of bones while you drive. if you experiment enough, you will learn to lift, drop and otherwise move your seatbones at will.
I was taught this by my Alexander Technique instructor and was very surprised by what I learned: my old attempts to drop one or the other seatbone actually had the opposite effect !!! My horses and I have been getting along much better since I "literally" learned what I was doing.
Amongst the other good suggestions here - pull your right leg OFF the horse from the hip. Pull it OUT away from the horse, not back, and don't pull your leg UP. Just straight out. Rinse and repeat and see if you don't get a glimmer of where the seatbone has gone to.
The other thing that can help is envisioning the long muscles running down their back and picking one seatbone and putting it on the muscle. Most people can only put one on at at time until they get really good at it. The good news is, you can ride pretty well w/just one but really, your goal should be two. Sometimes I think the difference between good and great is two.
"Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
--- The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.
I just had my trainer fix that issue. The problem was that I was keeping my right (inside) leg behind the girth. When I worked on keeping my inside right (inside) leg in front of the girth, my right seat bone naturally came down.
When you first start modifying your leg position it will feel like you are pushing your leg way too far forward. After time it will start to feel normal. You will know when it is right by how your seat feels.
One of my trainers used to have me do this at the start of the lesson to "find your seatbones":
Take your feet out of the stirrups and bring your legs straight out to the sides like you’re doing the splits. Then bring both legs in front of the saddle so that your knees are framing the withers, wriggle your lower legs a little. Return feet to proper position in stirrups. Throughout this, take note of how your seatbones are positioned in the saddle and that they’re pressing evenly on both sides.
Of course, you want to do this when your horse is calm or someone is holding it Don’t ask me how it works, but it does help me to sit more evenly.
Riding ("jockey style) with your knees up in front of the saddle, feet framing the horse's shoulders, is, indeed, a great way to find your seatbones-- and, I might add, learning to ride with them. As doccer says, this can be done at all three gaits. You may be surprised to discover how well your horse goes off those seatbones alone once you've gotten control of them. As slc's recommendation suggests, however, controlling the seatbones often involves "fixing"/aligning/rebalancing everything from there up because its the weight of that which goes through the seatbones to the horse's back.
Congrats on your baby -- and for getting back in the saddle.
I don't know that this is the best answer but it is one that has not been offered yet. I picked up Tina Sederholm's book recently and she has an exercise to address this. Hope the link works...if not do the Google book preview for Unlock Your Riding Talent and go to page 28 and read the exercise on riding with one stirrup shorter than the other. Maybe it can be of some use until you can get back into the no stirrup work groove. Good luck and best wishes.
First thing I'd do is go to a chiro / physio and make sure that you are straight. Pregnancy and natural childbirth, and carrying a child on your hip for a while, are going to mean that your muscles will develop unevenly. You will be fighting an uphill battle if you don't get some treatment for that.
Secondly, I strongly suggest pilates or some core muscle training, which will strengthen the muscles which pregnancy stretched and weakened. That will help to stabilise you on your horse.