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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2012
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    South Central PA
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    Default *update post 21* The right tack vs too much support that leads to laziness (Saddles)

    I'm looking for thoughts and opinions on this train of thought I've recently heard from trainer I rode with a few times...

    Many (okay ALL) the saddles I've ridden in generally push me into a chair seat. It makes it really difficult for me to post/get into two point when I'm almost sitting on the back of the saddle, plus it causes my knees to twist and bruise, and me to collapse forward. (Note: these are all lesson saddles/borrowed saddles from friends)

    Recently I came into a great deal and got myself a saddle that (except for a slightly longer flap than I want) FITS me. I can easily two point (and stay there), I'm center and my knees don't twist and bruise anymore. My muscles are doing what I know I can do, I'm easily balancing myself through turns, stops and the opinion-ations Miss Mare occasionally has (which are a lot fewer now that we can actually move together)

    What confuses me is that this trainer says that having that kind of saddle support will make me lazy and dependent on the saddle rather than my own abilities...

    Here's the thing, when I practice in my saddle and then ride in saddles with less support/no support/wrong support, I'm actually more able to fight against the chair seat than before and ride correctly.

    So peoples thoughts on equipment making us lazy? What about if it just doesn't fit the person? Does it do more harm than good? Does it teach bad habits/muscle memory? (My experience is YES)

    Note: I am not looking to out the trainer, or disagree, or anything. Everyone has their thoughts and thats what I'm asking for as I like to know all the facts/opinions before making one myself.
    Last edited by sam.j4; Mar. 3, 2013 at 09:28 AM.
    Telling a worrier to relax is counterproductive. Then we worry about relaxing.



  2. #2
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    Nov. 9, 2011
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    Island of Heart Surrounded by the Sea of Intuition
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    I'm not a professional by any means but I would think that you want equipment that puts you into the correct position. why else would people spend all this money on saddles fit specifically for them and there horse. I say Perfect practice makes Perfect. Go with the Saddle that fits you and your horse!
    The Love for a Horse is just as Complicated as the Love for another Human being, If you have never Loved a Horse you will Never Understand!!!


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Mendocino County, CA: Turkey Vulture HQ
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    I don't believe equipment can make you "lazy." I think it can get in the way of an effective position.

    It sounds to me like this new saddle is helping you ride better, which is the whole point of a saddle.

    Now it may be that what your trainer is arguing is that there is an even better saddle out there for you, one that has the right balance and has different levels and amounts of padding. For example, certain kinds of "support" can keep me from using my leg effectively. So that's the question to ask: "if not this saddle, what would you recommend?"

    It's hard to know without knowing your ability, seeing the saddle, etc.

    And the last point is that the cost is a factor. If you like this saddle and it's inexpensive, then for sure it's a keeper. If it's an expensive saddle, and you wouldn't be able to move on from it, you might think a bit more about it if the trainer is really opposed.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
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    Nokesville, VA
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    Does running with both hands free make you "lazy" in comparison with running with one hand tied behind your back?
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2003
    Location
    Alberta
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    5,384

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    You can't be effective if a saddle puts you into the wrong position....as this saddle is putting you in a good position, then you are already a more effective rider. And, this does not equal lazy! If YOU like the saddle and you feel more secure in it and it fits your horse, it shouldn't matter to trainer what kind of saddle it is. Is your trainer, by any chance, trying to get you to purchase a saddle that they'll get a kick back on?
    Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2007
    Location
    Michigan
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    10,527

    Default

    I found my best solution was an old-fashioned flat saddle as the position is ALL me. But if you're buying the new kinds with padding (which feel kind of funny to me) why WOULDN'T you buy the one that fits you best? I mean, yes, first priority is does it fit the horse (I got the flat saddle because Lucky didn't fit my old AP and he's the stereotypical skinny TB) but after that, it's your butt in it, not the trainer's.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7

    Default

    My thoughts on the matter go something like: For a very long time I was riding with my stirrups a half-hole too short. I had a hard time getting my leg around my horse, somehow they managed to encourage me to draw my leg up even further when cantering, I was in a serious chair seat that I fought to push my leg back out of, and my heels were almost never down.

    Just recently, I took the advice of someone who said it looked like my stirrups were too short though didn't believe they were, and dropped them a half hole. Instant change! My heels were easier to keep down, I could get my leg around my horse more, it was easier to keep out of a chair seat, and I all around felt more stable.

    Who knew?

    Anyway, my point is, I think it sounds like the saddle is working for you. And at least if the saddle is helping get you in a position that's working for you...you can build up that muscle memory to keep that position in another saddle.
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2009
    Location
    Camp Creek, WV
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    Default

    Not true for everyone...but the saddle I have that puts me in a chair seat is built with a stirrup bar that is too far forward for me. From what others have told me, this is a common problem for women, as many saddles in the past were designed by/for men, whose pelvises are made differently than ours are. Look at the Schleese saddle website, at some of his saddle fit for women stuff. I'm not saying to buy one of his saddles but some of his points make sense. If you have found a saddle that fits your body, so you can ride in a good position compared to what you had before, find a polite way to tell your trainer to shush. Is the new saddle a bucket seat, fluffy flap, knee and thigh block one? If so, I guess I could see your trainers point to a small degree, but it is still ridiculous. Better to ride in a couch with a seat belt than have to fight a saddle that will NOT let you put your leg where it should be!
    If said trainer is concerned while you are still learning you will become dependent on a fluffy style saddle (and we still don't know if the one you like actually is), continue to ride in what puts you in good balance. Be on the lookout for something more pared down that still puts you in a good position...but don't get talked out of what is actually working! A saddle that works for you makes a huge difference to your riding.
    Good luck!


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    41,592

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    You want to be comfortable because you being as balanced and comfy as you can will be best for the horse, that doesn't has to continuously try to compensate for your out of balance self.

    Comfortable rider = comfortable horse.

    There are rough horses and those make it hard to teach beginners, because they never quite can get with the horse.

    There are way smooth horses and those make it hard to teach an independent seat because there is little to balance on those.

    So, while there is several to consider in how comfortable a rider may be, tack, horse and the rider's fitness and conformation also, I would go for, in general, the more comfortable, the better.

    It is a real relief to find a saddle and horse that fits one rider best and if you found one such saddle, at least try using it for a while before considering why and if to change again.

    The more skilled a rider, the more it can be effective in most any saddle or horse, but will be it's best in the most fitting, for that rider and task at hand.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2002
    Posts
    3,885

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    I don't understand the trainer's point of view.
    If you're constantly struggling against the saddle to be able to still ride correctly, yes you're expanding energy, but it is wasted energy, IMO.
    A saddle that fits makes a wold of difference. Like you, I struggled with a couple of saddles that did not help me at all over fences. And my green (at the time) horse sure let me know that she wasn't happy! I had trouble staying in 2-point, my lower leg would fly backwards over the fence, etc. etc. Sensitive mare would react with a boink/take-off on landing.
    When I finally found a saddle that fit me, she started to behave much better when jumping. Coincidence? I don't think so.
    My saddle is not particularly comfortable, in fact, a friend who rode in it found it too hard and flat for her taste, but I feel very secure in it over jumps.
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Posts
    594

    Default

    I used to feel like "The Good Rider" can be effective in any saddle (I'm not one of those, but I aspire to be someday.) I feel differently now, though. Now, I think it isn't really about whether or not the saddle makes riding "easier," but whether its construction works with or against your body.

    I bought my first non-Wintec saddle several months ago, and I've been trying to make it work because it is expensive and lovely and custom fitted to my horse, but it is terrible for me. I've been fighting with it for months and all I have to show for my effort is back pain.

    The saddle I now need to rehome has all the "easy buttons" -- the big thigh blocks, the deep seat, etc. -- but it simply doesn't work with me, so therefore it is harder to ride in. Quite the opposite of leading to laziness! On the other hand, the most comfortable saddle I ever rode in was minimalist-style with no knee roll, so not something that would lead to lazy riding, but it fit my body well.

    The moral I learned from this story is that there are two bodies involved in riding. Nobody's giving out ribbons for masochism, so I'm going to get a saddle that us fits both!!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2009
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    4,598

    Default

    The trainer's thinking is absurd, in my opinion. You should not have to fight your tack, and that does nothing to make you a better rider.

    It's kind of like saying marathoners are lazy unless they run in scuba flippers.

    I don't understand how using a piece of equipment that impairs your ability to hold your position would do you any good at all.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
    Posts
    2,048

    Default

    This makes me think of the lesson barns where none of the saddles fit the horses, or the riders, but the instructors tell everyone they just have to learn to ride despite them - the old "builds character" approach. I actually had a pony club person tell me not to tell families that their kids needed new/better saddles, but to just keep teaching the kids to ride as well as they could with what they had - "don't blame the tack for their bad riding." I did not agree.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2008
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    1,108

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    Quote Originally Posted by suzier444 View Post
    Nobody's giving out ribbons for masochism
    "It's kind of like saying marathoners are lazy unless they run in scuba flippers. "

    As someone who has struggled with this problem, I love the above quotes!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Posts
    436

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    Which style do you ride? (English, western, dressage...) And what brand saddle did you buy that is working for you?

    I have the *worst* body in the world for riding and I'm always struggling to find a saddle that doesn't hurt and put me in a chair seat. Any saddle.

    Quote Originally Posted by sam.j4 View Post
    I'm looking for thoughts and opinions on this train of thought I've recently heard from trainer I rode with a few times...

    Many (okay ALL) the saddles I've ridden in generally push me into a chair seat. It makes it really difficult for me to post/get into two point when I'm almost sitting on the back of the saddle, plus it causes my knees to twist and bruise, and me to collapse forward. (Note: these are all lesson saddles/borrowed saddles from friends)

    Recently I came into a great deal and got myself a saddle that (except for a slightly longer flap than I want) FITS me. I can easily two point (and stay there), I'm center and my knees don't twist and bruise anymore. My muscles are doing what I know I can do, I'm easily balancing myself through turns, stops and the opinion-ations Miss Mare occasionally has (which are a lot fewer now that we can actually move together)

    What confuses me is that this trainer says that having that kind of saddle support will make me lazy and dependent on the saddle rather than my own abilities...

    Here's the thing, when I practice in my saddle and then ride in saddles with less support/no support/wrong support, I'm actually more able to fight against the chair seat than before and ride correctly.

    So peoples thoughts on equipment making us lazy? What about if it just doesn't fit the person? Does it do more harm than good? Does it teach bad habits/muscle memory? (My experience is YES)

    Note: I am not looking to out the trainer, or disagree, or anything. Everyone has their thoughts and thats what I'm asking for as I like to know all the facts/opinions before making one myself.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2004
    Location
    Yonder, USA
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    I agree with everyone who said "use what works best for you to achieve a correct seat". I've literally logged thousands of hours in saddles that didn't necessarily fit me well and it's been an enormous pain in the a** to retrain myself to ride more correctly now that I have my own horses and tack and can afford to make everything work together more correctly.

    That said, I've heard a lot of trainers opine that people ought to learn how to ride with minimal crutches (knee blocks, thigh blocks, deep seat, hanging on to a grab strap or horn, etc) so as to develop an independent seat. That is a very, very different concept than having to fight against any saddle that puts you in a bad position.
    ---------------------------


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2000
    Location
    CT
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    2,432

    Default

    Does the trainer agree that these other saddles "put you in a chair seat"? Could it be that they just dont fight your tendency toward a chair seat?
    The only way I can make sense of the trainer's comments is if they feel that the saddle is adequate but you have not yet developed the skills or strength to perform correctly in it. (also a problem if you just want to ride and enjoy your horse!) The padded saddle may hold you in a good position. For many of us thats great, we'll just ride in that saddle! But if you are working on improving your seat, you may find that you develop bad habits of bracing against the padding to hold your position and that you may never develop the strength to do without blocks and padding.
    I think that, ideally, you want a saddle that enables and encourages a correct position, but that provides enough leeway to adjust your position and improve your skills. But a lot depends upon your condition, ambition, and what you need to avoid the cold, hard ground!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2012
    Posts
    105

    Default

    My thought is the saddles you've tried (that have put you in a chair seat) probably don't fit the horse(s) you've been riding. If you feel that your leg is in front of you and you need to pinch your knee to get out of the saddle that sounds like a saddle fit issue for the HORSE, not the rider. I also totally disagree with the lazy comment your trainer made. Proper and effective riding can be achieved by doing exercises like no stirrup work, 2 point, sitting trot, pole work etc.
    PS if you are getting bruises on your knees from over compensating for poor fitting tack (rider or horse), I might suggest you look into taking some lessons elsewhere. It sounds like your trainer is ok with your whole position being incorrect



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2012
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    Twin Cities
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    2,200

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    I have found that "deep seated" saddles tip me forward and, like others have mentioned, prefer a bare-bones flat saddle with no rolls, blocks, etc. I have been eyeing old saddles on ebay & wondering how I would find one to fit both me & my horse. Right now we have a $$ saddle that fits her, not me (came with her when I got her). I hate it.


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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 19, 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    I'm very sorry, but that was a stupid thing for any trainer to say in a case like yours. I too suspect the saddles didn't fit the horse properly - an unbalanced saddle really affects the rider's position. Even a slightly narrow saddle will lift the pommel, making the rider fight to keep their balance and position. Yes, a rider can learn to keep their position in such a saddle, BUT it creates problems in the rider.

    I had a very wide horse at one time. When he jumped he would literally jump through my legs - I'd slide back 3-4" still in my two point. He was just too wide for me to put any power into my legs to hold onto him. Until I found my "magic" saddle. It had long billets and getting the girth out from under my leg made him just that bit narrower to allow me to keep my leg on when he jumped. And this was a minimalist no rolls, blocks or padding for the rider. Such a tiny little difference made all the difference.

    When I was trying new saddles one time I rode in one that had a very wide twist and I simply could not get my leg on my horse. It just wasn't possible for me in that saddle. Another tiny thing.

    The saddle balance thing I mentioned can be a tiny difference too. You may not even realize it's there. Another time, another horse outgrew my dressage saddle and I bit the bullet and replaced it. I discovered that my body had been compensating for the slight uphill balance of the old saddle and I literally could not post trot in the new saddle because it was level! Talk about embarassing! My muscle memory kept tipping me forward to compensate for the no-longer-present uphill saddle balance. And this new saddle DID have knee blocks.

    When I was trying jumping saddles last summer I rode in one that fit my horse, but the saddler and I felt it wasn't doing me any favours. Until I shortened my stirrups a hole (to the correct jumping length - I'd been riding a bit long because I hadn't had a jumping saddle in 2-3 years). Suddenly it was great because my leg fit into the hollows around the blocks. The saddle wasn't holding me in position with the blocks, the blocks were defining the shape of the rider who would fit the saddle. It's easier to manage in a saddle that doesn't fit the rider when there are no blocks and padding to get in the way, but the saddle shouldn't lock the rider into position. I rode in one that did lock me into position and I hated it. It had the same sort of blocks and padding my saddle has, but it didn't fit me properly.

    A saddle that locks the rider in position might cause a certain degree of laziness or reliance on that lock, but a saddle that fits the rider properly, no way. You should feel like your body and legs simply fall/drape into position in the saddle. You are absolutely right that riding more in a saddle that allows you to maintain your position easily will make you better able to handle riding in a saddle that pushes you out of position (on the rare occasion that you can't avoid it).

    And now you have learned first hand how silly that statement is, and can pass on your experience to someone else who struggles with their position.


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