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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2011
    Posts
    46

    Default Causes for chair seat and how to fix?

    STRUGGLING with chair seat this year and just can't figure out why, am SO frustrated! Feel like I'm always just behind the motion and when I see it on video it looks ugly. Anyone been there done that and have some tips?

    Possible factors:

    - got this lovely new (used) Antares saddle with extra forward flaps and it feels wonderful to sit in but I'm wondering if I'm just fighting the saddle. I have super long legs and always have my knee in front of the flap, finally this saddle keeps both knee and bum within the confines of the leather so I thought it fit well. But I have to say it's really hard to 2 point in, I feel like I am either in a dressage seat or 2 pointing way ahead of the vertical (like hunching though it doesn't really look that way when I see video) and it's REALLY hard to maintain a 2 point. I do feel like everything below me is moving around at the canter, like lower leg doing a lot of swinging. Yet over fences it feels great and I have a really good position. I THOUGHT I loved this saddle but now I'm wondering if it's screwed my riding as I didn't used to have these problems.

    - Returning from an injury and not very fit. Maybe lack of core fitness? I know lack of fitness and core affect your riding in general but could this specifically cause chair seat???? I'm riding two or three a day so am gaining fitness, plus doing core exercises.

    - Jointed stirrups? Have been using these for a few years for my bad knees, was never really that keen on them but I've kept them for that reason. I switched to the MDC Ultimates when I bought the Antares. Could these be culprits?

    Anything else spring to mind?

    Suggestions anyone? I'm at my wit's end with this

    And please don't ask me to post video as I'm too embarrassed LOL.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
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    MD
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    3,831

    Default

    Unfortunatley, you may have to start with the most $$$$$ solution - the saddle. Fitness, etc., is something you can work on, but if you're fighting your saddle for position, you're putting unnecessary strain on yourself and possibly even risk building the 'wrong' muscle memory.

    The 2 biggest causes of chair seat are stirrup bar placdement being too far forward or the balance of the saddle is cantle low. If its a cantle low problem, a seat riser may help, so try that first. If its the stirrup bar, the saddle is just never going to work for you.

    I just sent back a beautiful trial saddle for that very reason. Took my first lesson in it and trainer was like "What is wrong with your leg today?" The saddle was very comfortable, but I could NOT get my leg under me.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
    Posts
    4,918

    Default

    yep, definitely check the saddle. If you don't want to put up a video, do you have a picture of yourself sitting in it?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
    Posts
    4,612

    Default

    My old Antares put me in a chair seat. It has never been a problem for me before or after that dreadful saddle. In general, I think the padded French saddles tend to encourage (or force) a chair seat.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2005
    Location
    Pottstown, Pa
    Posts
    117

    Default

    I have this problem too and I never thought it could be my saddle causing it. I hadn't been riding consistently for the past year so I thought I was just out of whack. I'm going to check my stirrup bars tonight and maybe try a friend's saddle.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 17, 2009
    Posts
    1,359

    Default

    Unfortunately I 2nd 3rd and 4th the saddle fit may be the reason of your chair seat. Been there - done that and boy was I sad when I had to rid my favorite saddle



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 12, 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,859

    Default

    definitely saddle...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 13, 2001
    Location
    usa
    Posts
    6,133

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alterchicken View Post
    ....But I have to say it's really hard to 2 point in, I feel like I am either in a dressage seat or 2 pointing way ahead of the vertical (like hunching though it doesn't really look that way when I see video) and it's REALLY hard to maintain a 2 point.
    Chair seat is usually because rider is sitting on pockets and letting knee to hip rise up OR pushing/locking into heels. For two point or when seated all the joints must allow elastic 'feathering' into heels". Ideally this means ear/shoulder/hip/back of heel in alignment (w/o locking the joints), in 'light seat' the upper body is slightlyyyy more forward.

    Imho you pointed out what is missing, and the solution. And imho you can sit aligned in about any saddle (proffis do it all the time). Standing still go to two point, and reach back too far with the leg...you fall forward; then try too far forward, and you fall back. Then find the in between point where your trunk keeps the leg stilled. Remember you must 1make sure your lower leg (toes) do not turn out too much. 2 the thigh is flat on the saddle/knees forward 3 you are not standing in the stirrups nor collapsing your trunk. 4 no resting hands on horse's neck.

    Then do this in walk, and after try trot, and lastly canter.
    I.D.E.A. yoda



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2012
    Posts
    81

    Default

    Also agree with the saddle. Though, it may not be that the saddle isn't fitting you, rather it may not be fitting your horse. I would find a reputable saddle fitter (could probably find one searching or posting in these forums) and get the saddle checked out. A good fitter will be able to not only evaluate how the saddle balances/fits your horse, but also how it fits you! Through lots of saddle fittings and trials I have ridden (briefly for educational purposes) in saddles that were purposely left cantle low and you are hopelessly behind the motion. Even at a post in the trot I felt as if I was falling backward.

    I don't think it's fitness related. I've taken hiatuses from riding and come back chubby and unfit! Lack of fitness never hindered my ability to balance and follow the horses movement. It DID dramatically affect how long I could do that for every few minutes and I would need a walk break!

    Not sure if your horses back is comfy, or your balance allows for such, but riding for a few minutes bareback (or with a bareback pad) will answer your saddle question. If you can walk, trot a few strides, and canter bareback centered over you horse, then it's definitely the saddle!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2011
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Thanks for the replies guys. I love this saddle...well I love to look at it and pat it and sit in it's squishy calfskin self but I've had this sick feeling all along that I just can't ride in it.

    How do you tell if the stirrup bar placement is too far forward or far back or just right? I've never been able to figure that one out?

    I can't afford custom and I prefer used saddles that are broken in anyway. I searched long and hard for this one in my seat size and the extra forward and long flap, darn it.

    I DID wonder if it was cantle low so yesterday tried a lollipop seat riser and that did help but not enough, was still fighting the saddle.

    Is this a common Antares problem?

    I go by the old school shoulder, hip, heel in line motto and truly my knee is almost in line with my heel pretty much if I'm sitting in it or walking...it's that bad. At the trot and canter I fight constantly to get my leg back, which leaves me feeling like I have to tilt my upper body too far forward to make the balance right and get that leg back at all. Make sense?

    Anyone think it could be the jointed irons? I was going to ditch those next. Thing is I'm not sure my knees will do well without them and you shouldn't have to do all this crap with your saddle just to be able to not fall backwards in it, ugh!

    Oh and I ride multiple horses so it's not like I can get a custom for one horse anyway, and the problem is the same on every horse, not just the high withered types.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Location
    Westford, Massachusetts
    Posts
    4,013

    Default

    I agree it's a saddle problem, but not necessarily Antares specific. Your long legs are probably the issue, I have them too and have suffered the same problems in some saddles. If you are long from hip to knee, stirrup bar placement may be a problem in many saddles. Schleese has a good pictorial explanation of the issue:

    http://www.schleese.com/documents/Le...0June%2008.pdf

    Yes, pros can ride well in any saddle, but I suspect that's because they ride so much and are strong enough to fight a saddle when the balance isn't right for them and not exhaust themselves. Those of us who don't ride multiple horses a day don't always have the strength to successfully fight the tack and maintain a balanced position in ill fitting tack.

    I still have not found a close contact saddle that works really well for me except those in which the seat is a bit too small and my knee is poking over the flap...for some reason a bigger seat and/or more forward flap seems to push the stirrup bar too far forward from the center of the seat in most makes. I always find myself compensating in the other direction to avoid a chair seat and end up tipped too far forward. I have a dressage saddle that has terrific balance of me and it is a night and day difference how much easier it is to maintain a decent position in it, so I KNOW what I'm looking for, I just have to find it!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    7,456

    Default

    I agree about the saddle. I have a super-long leg like you and find I can't ride in extra-forward saddles because they always seem to give me a chair seat. I have extra long flaps but not extra forward so my femur can go down and lengthen instead of out in front of me. Might be a configuration to look for.

    I have a Smith-Worthington Stoneleigh AO that I adore for this reason -- it is built for long-legged riders and takes up my knee without being too forward in its balance. They are on super-clearance on the SW website if you want to consider something like that. I bought mine in 1995 and it still looks terrific.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    50

    Default

    I agree with everyone - defintely saddle.
    I had a lovely Childeric that I ADORED!!! But after struggling with forcing my leg back and never getting there, along with 5 different people telling me my saddle didn't fit me, I finally made a change.
    It took LOTS of trials, but I now have a saddle that fits, is comfy, and allows my leg to find the correct position - which helped me get fitter in the right way.

    I feel your pain.
    Very frustrating, but so worth it in the end.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA
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    1,811

    Default

    Well saddle can make a difference but I have the same issue and it's because I jam my heels down too much. The jointed stirrups do NOT help this...they make it worse.

    I have to ride withought pushing on my irons and jamming my heels down. That helps me not get into a chair seat.

    Just offering another POV
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
    www.elainehickman.com
    **Morgans Do It All**



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    972

    Default

    I'd try ditching the flexible irons before giving up the saddle. That's a easy issue to rule out. Does this saddle have blocks behind the leg? If so, thats another issue worth looking into. Good luck!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2011
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Canaqua View Post
    I agree it's a saddle problem, but not necessarily Antares specific. Your long legs are probably the issue, I have them too and have suffered the same problems in some saddles. If you are long from hip to knee, stirrup bar placement may be a problem in many saddles. Schleese has a good pictorial explanation of the issue:

    http://www.schleese.com/documents/Le...0June%2008.pdf

    THANKS for this...interesting reading!

    I still have not found a close contact saddle that works really well for me except those in which the seat is a bit too small and my knee is poking over the flap...for some reason a bigger seat and/or more forward flap seems to push the stirrup bar too far forward from the center of the seat in most makes. !
    THIS is really interesting to me as funny enough until I bought the Antares 18" I was riding in a too small 16.5" CWD and rode in it WAY better and no chair seat problem. Knee poked over the front of the flap unless I was in 2 point and then it looked/fit better, ditto over fences. Loved that saddle but was embarrassed about semi bum hang-over the cantle and I know it's not good for your horse's back for you to be in a too small saddle.

    I just don't know visually when looking at a saddle how to judge stirrup bar placement? Is that possible or do manufacturers have a way of specifying what the placement is or is it all standard to each brand? i.e. can you order an Antares for instance with the stirrup bars further back? Or do you have to sit in it and either get a pic or have someone on the ground assess?



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
    Posts
    8,455

    Default

    If it is the position of the stirrup bars (and it is likely they are too far forward) you can put some rubber tubing or a martingale ring over the bar before you put the leather on. This helps put the stirrup leather more underneath your center of balance.

    However, if the saddle isn't fitting your horse properly (pommel high) it could also be tipping you back enough to put you behind the motion.

    I also have very long femurs and had to look long and hard to find saddles that put me in a balanced position. Sometimes it's not the ones with the extra forward flaps and you just need to live with your knees up against the edge.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
    Location
    MD
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    3,831

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Canaqua View Post
    I still have not found a close contact saddle that works really well for me except those in which the seat is a bit too small and my knee is poking over the flap...for some reason a bigger seat and/or more forward flap seems to push the stirrup bar too far forward from the center of the seat in most makes. I always find myself compensating in the other direction to avoid a chair seat and end up tipped too far forward. I have a dressage saddle that has terrific balance of me and it is a night and day difference how much easier it is to maintain a decent position in it, so I KNOW what I'm looking for, I just have to find it!
    This is where I am now as well. I'm only 4'10", but have a long hip/knee length for my height. My Frank Baines dressage saddle puts me in perfect balance, but I haven't found a CC saddle yet that doesn't either give me hip pain or put me in a chair seat. I've been resisting calling the different reps out because I really don't wan't to spend 3K on a saddle that I use once a week for a lesson, but it may well come to that, as I refuse to give up my h/j trainer. If my dressage saddle fit the horse I ride at her barn, I would just use it and only do flat work.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 22, 2009
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    2,927

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogie View Post
    If it is the position of the stirrup bars (and it is likely they are too far forward) you can put some rubber tubing or a martingale ring over the bar before you put the leather on. This helps put the stirrup leather more underneath your center of balance.
    This. I used vet wrap that I twisted and wound around the stirrup bars a couple times before I put on the stirrup bars. It's significantly helped my position in my vega, which has too short flaps and too forward stirrup bar and puts me in a chair seat.
    .
    .
    .



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2011
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    349

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
    This. I used vet wrap that I twisted and wound around the stirrup bars a couple times before I put on the stirrup bars. It's significantly helped my position in my vega, which has too short flaps and too forward stirrup bar and puts me in a chair seat.
    Do you have a picture? Does it set the stirrup leather farther back? Sounds like it would just make the bar bulkier.



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