Do you sit heavier on the horse when you drop your stirrups?
Just a random question, but the thread about rider weight got me thinking about this.
I was told several years ago by a fairly BNT, that when you are sitting on the horse's back, and you drop your stirrups, you "gain" 20 lbs in terms of what you feel like on his back.
She was getting on to me for hacking around stirrup-less after a lesson to cool him out. Said he was tired and it wasn't fair for me to ask him to carry that extra weight.
I had a couple of issues with that...#1, I am fairly small, and horse was a big-boned TB, pretty sure that even if I DID gain an extra 20, he wouldn't be fazed. #2, we did no stirrups work in dressage lessons ALL the time. So what's the difference? At the time I was too intimidated to question her, so maybe she had a very good explanation for what that meant. It just never made sense in my mind. But then again, what do I know?
I understand that weight distribution can affect the horse. And with all of your weight in the stirrups, it's distributing your weight across the entire saddle, as opposed to all the weight translating directly down through the seat. I just don't see how dropping your stirrups could affect it that much.
Another thing that confused me- you're taught to sink your weight into your heels, thus putting a lot of weight down on the stirrups. But you're also taught to be light in the stirrups.
Well.... first, I don't think one is "heavier" when riding sans stirrups. But I could see how riding with stirrups would make ones "seat lighter" as in less contact with the saddle - allowing the horse more freedom with their back - vs. "sitting heavy" and perhaps not following the motion as much. But I think that would apply more to trotting and cantering rather than walking.
I know for my horse that would start out tight in the back - warm up was started in two point, and only after he was supple would I start really sitting. And I would want him very warmed up and working well before dropping my stirrups and really sitting deep (using seat).
No. Your weight and mass remain the same. The distribution of weight across the saddle tree and the horse's back may change, but the amount of such will not unless you experience some kind of bizarre gravitational fluctuations where you are!
OK, i've heard about seating deeper, but seating heavier?
And where, pray tell, do those extra 20lbs com from?
In my case, I'm told my position gets better when I'm stirrupless because I tend to lean some weight on the stirrups and forget to drop my leg sometimes. So it can affect your balance and the way you ride, but making you heavier sounds like one of those "stuff non-horse people say"
Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that to be a problem.
Originally Posted by DottieHQ
You're just jealous because you lack my extensive koalafications.
Dropping the stirrup does not magically cause a 20# increase in mass.
BUT if dropping the stirrup causes the rider to change their seat it could easily cause the development of "pressure points" at the end of the bars (particularly in the back) and this can have real and substantial consequences for the horse's back's health, safety, and welfare.
Most of the folks I see "sitting deep" push their butts back on the cantle and move their feet up onto the "dashboard." This WILL cause big spikes concentrated pressure at the ends of the bars.
If all they do is drop the stirrups but don't change their basic seat and it's proper weight distribution I don't see any change for the horse.
Dropping your stirrups doesn't make you gain weight. However, a 100# person sloshing about like a sack of potatoes is more difficult to carry than a 180# person with excellent tone, balance, and body control.
I would imagine, however, that if someone is so unstable in the saddle as to become comparatively "heavier" in their sloshing about without stirrups, they probably weren't much fun for the horse to tote around with stirrups either.
I don't know about 20 pounds as I agree that my horse is big enough that 20 pounds wouldn't make a difference to him but he does sort of grunt every stride when I post without stirrups so something changed. Good excuse not to ride without stirrups though!