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how do you find your 'dressage seat'

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Thanks for the wonderful descriptions Velvet!

    Just wanted to add a few things...

    Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
    Make sure you are truly allowing your weight onto your SEAT on your horse's back.

    Don't hover. Don't try to 'take some weight off.' Both very strong/fit riders and heavier riders tend to try to hover, rather than truly allow their weight to rest on their seat.
    I do think I'm allowing my weight to sit, but think that then I tend to let my legs slide forward into a chair seat. I think I struggle finding that balance between riding off the crotch with my weight down into my heels and sitting down but letting weight go into my legs as well.

    Originally posted by petitefilly View Post
    To the Poster: Try relaxing in the seat. AS a hunter rider you wanted to stay more in a two point, off your crotch type of seat with the leg pinched at the knee to stay on. You now have to have your knee loose and elastic. It is no longer a pivot point, it must move with the horse, for a time you will want some actual space off the saddle for your knee so you can feel your seat bones drop into the saddle. I do a lot of exercises with the leg by rotating the leg inward, or outward to ease the hip joint which is probably tight on your body. The hip opens, the knee drops, the leg loosens, and the seat becomes deeper.
    I'm way beyond a two-point and pinching with my knees, it's really finding the balance I describe above.

    As Velvet mentioned, I do use my thighs a LOT and need to learn to relax them and sink down. I also noticed that the longer stirrups make me uncomfortable. I try to reach for them or end up going back to using my thighs and have no weight in the stirrups at all.

    If I work on the longe without stirrups, is it OK to grab the pommel to pull myself in or is that counter-productive?

    Thanks for all the help!

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by ottblove View Post
      If I work on the longe without stirrups, is it OK to grab the pommel to pull myself in or is that counter-productive?


      Yes, this is a great way to 'find' your seat.

      BTW Eventing dressage is NOT different than pure dressage.
      http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

      Comment


      • #23
        If you are on the longe, always keep on hand on the pommel at all times. With that said, it's okay to reposition yourself and open your hips more by using your hand on a quick adjustment, but be careful not to use it to hold you pressed into the saddle. You really need to find your balance point. And as pinto said, you need to relax your buttocks. (The confusing thing is that later you'll add a bit of butt muscle back in, but you need to learn to sit deeply for now--not HEAVY.)
        "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

        Comment


        • #24
          hunt seat to dressage

          i went from hunt seat to dressage in 1991. I definitely agree that Centered Riding technics help. I also recommend strongly Eckert Myers and the balimo chair. It is switching from holding on with the adductor muscles, to riding more with the "core" abdominal muscles. It takes time.

          Comment


          • #25
            Nothing beats lunge lessons from someone who knows how to teach this.

            Hard to come by, though, because it requires both the good trainer and the right horse that someone is willing to use for this. Most of the appropriate horses with the good gaits should not be subjected to lunge lessons.

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
              Go find a four board fence and climb up to the top board. Sit on it. Then remove all other body parts (from the fence!) except your butt and sit up STRAIGHT and balance. That is how it should feel when you are riding!
              How wide's the top board??
              (can't be bothered thinking up something unimaginably pretentious and typing it here to make me appear urbane and witty)

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
                Go find a four board fence and climb up to the top board. Sit on it. Then remove all other body parts (from the fence!) except your butt and sit up STRAIGHT and balance. That is how it should feel when you are riding!
                haha i was going say somthing simular - like ride from your arse
                haha

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by Brady'smom View Post
                  How wide's the top board??
                  Regular fence board - isn't that 7/8" ?
                  ... _. ._ .._. .._

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    developing a dressage seat - i think there is no one single thing that does it - longeing without stirrups, riding without stirrups, riding with one stirrup, riding with both stirrups and no reins, exercises in the saddle, exercises while not riding, exercises off the horse that develop core and leg strength and suppleness, a stretching routine, something that develops basic aerobic fitness....

                    i also think a person can go along and do all of this and not see progress - someone to guide them in how to do exercises in the saddle correctly, when to not drop the stirrups (especially initially it can be very counter productive), even making the stirrups too long and trying to reach for them can help, but like any exercise that can backfire if done at the wrong time or done without thinking thru what is to be accomplished by it.

                    some people ride w/out stirrups and then can't keep their leg correct with stirrups, some of these people pull their knees up and tense their leg to hang on (riding defensively, or 'clutching') so that riding w/out stirrups actually causes problems that are very hard to fix.

                    i think being relaxed is a big part of it, and allowing oneself to flop around and just try to follow the motions initially...then there comes a point where that's counter productive too and it's time to firm up the position.

                    the horse one rides is really crucial. a big mover can cause a lot of 'clutching' and position errors - some people get very, very crooked when riding a horse that simply has inappropriate gaits for where they are at. the smallest mover possible for a very long time tends to actually produce better results in most people. if a person feels overwhelmed and overfaced at every step they are going to develop bad habits. some horses are just jarring and lack suppleness, and some of these are jarring no matter how skilled the rider is, but a person learning position can't possibly be expected to train and improve the horse's way of going at the same time - so the horse chosen is really important. some smaller movers are actually very unsupple and jarring, it's hard to find an appropriate horse to learn on.

                    bottom line is just a lot of checking the position in the mirror and lots of instruction by someone who spots mistakes. everyone is uneven in some way and everyone has to work on it - indefinitely.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      I had a dressage lunge lesson yesterday on my draftieX beast. We haven't been doing dressage for very long. Mainly hunt seat.
                      My big revelation was that I found out that I can bring him from a trot to a walk just using my seat!
                      It really blew my mind.
                      I hope to do lunge lessons maybe once a month or so. We worked on the lunge for about 1/2 hour and then canter transitions off the lunge for about 15 min.
                      I can't believe how much there is to learn :-)
                      Sorry I can't give advice about finding your seat EXCEPT to say that I have found personal success with balance in riding bareback. But, my horse is round and comfy like a Lazy-Boy, so no worries about sharp withers.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        To the OP I totally know what you are going through! I also started out as a hunter/jumper rider and it took me quite a while to be able to do a decent sitting trot. and i know what you mean about work without stirrups. my jumping trainers used to make me ride without stirrups and post all the time, so that did not help me relax my thighs. in fact, it was quite the opposite!

                        one thing that helped me was understanding hip angle. just to clarify, when you look at a horse and rider from the side the hip angle is the angle that the rider's leg makes with their torso. as a hunter your stirrups are short so your knees are more bent and you have a small hip angle. that is what i had to fight when i switched to dressage. whenever my thighs would grip my knees would bend and i would gradually draw my legs up into that smaller hip angle. this would cause me to constantly lose my stirrups and have trouble getting my weight into them.

                        to deal with this i had to learn how to keep my torso straight and my legs long with an open hip angle. you have to keep your spine straight by using your core stomach muscles to support. don't let your back curve in or slump out. when i first got on the horse i would stand up in the stirrups and let my weight settle down into them to get the feel. having mirrors in the arena helped a bunch! it takes a lot of core strength to maintain your position, and your body has to remain a unit (if that makes any sense ). your legs should have a firm connection with your back so that your whole body can move with the horse (i think hunter/jumper riders grip so much with their legs that they prevent this from happening). i would definitely try to take advantage of lunge lessons if you can.

                        it's sort of a catch-22 because it is harder to maintain a good position if your horse isn't balanced, but it is hard to balance the horse if you do not have a good position!

                        Try not to get frustrated, and good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Hey AR!

                          How did that fence sitting go?
                          ... _. ._ .._. .._

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
                            Go find a four board fence and climb up to the top board. Sit on it. Then remove all other body parts (from the fence!) except your butt and sit up STRAIGHT and balance. That is how it should feel when you are riding!
                            Ouch! Thud! Just fell off the fence.
                            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Seriously though, get yourself some longe lessons on a schoolmaster. A horse on which you can learn to do your transitions with just your body, a horse you can spiral in and out with just your legs and seat. And don't let them make you keep your toes up, that's what stirrups are for. Forcing your toes up without stirrups only succeeds in stiffening your ankles. You don't want any part of you stiff(except after riding )
                              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                If you can't balance on your seat bones on a static fence - how are you going to do it on a undulating "board"? Forget trying to making the horse "do" anything. If you can't balance it's pretty pointless.
                                ... _. ._ .._. .._

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  developing a dressage seat - i think there is no one single thing that does it - longeing without stirrups, riding without stirrups, riding with one stirrup, riding with both stirrups and no reins, exercises in the saddle, exercises while not riding, exercises off the horse that develop core and leg strength and suppleness, a stretching routine, something that develops basic aerobic fitness....
                                  Jeessssus, Louise-us, Slick! How shaming can you get! These are things folks do to improve. You're making fun of the kinds of work people put into their riding. You're scoffing, so I can ASSume you aint' working on your own seat none. Nothing like marginalizing techniques of trainers and hard working folks across the country. Feel better for it? Your disdain for other riders and absolute confidence in your own superiority is laughable, even to those of us who've heard this from you before.

                                  Go sit on a tack.
                                  Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Ok, I can get annoyed with know-it-alls as much as the next person. But constantly berating someone isn't any more attractive.

                                    But on another point, I think your comprehension of that post is incorrect in the first place.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Agreed. Tenfold. Grow up, get on with life, and hire a tutor for reading comprehension. Very useful stuff.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        the post i wrote said i feel no one thing alone develops the dressage rider's seat - all the exercises i listed, i think together help to really develop a rider's position and seat.

                                        it's often said riding without stirrups alone does it, i don't agree with that entirely, despite being a really useful thing i have spent a lot of time doing, however, unless it's mixed with other things and done very well, then one finds people can't ride with the stirrups, and that's a problem that many people have posted here and said they now can't ride with stirrups (so without stirrups there may be some clutching or riding defensively). i think the person's program has to be designed to avoid that pitfall.

                                        i think every rider who wants to be good is always working on improving their seat in many different ways. i think it's a constant and a lifelong process that never stops. anyone can always be better. many people admired reiner klimke simply because he would cross his stirrups and warm up at a big show without them. i thought he was an inspiration that encouraged lower level riders to really work and constantly improve.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          It is clear, AnotherRound, that there are certain posters here that can really push your buttons. Sometimes I agree with them. Sometimes they push my buttons too. Learning to sit on your hands can be a useful skill. It is starting to look personal and that is just tiresome.

                                          Comment

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