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Sliding back in the saddle during sitting trot?

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  • Sliding back in the saddle during sitting trot?

    Preface to this question/issue: I've been out of the saddle for about a year and a half + and while I am quite fit (was a varsity athlete, avid runner and weight lifter, and I cycle everywhere- as is typical in this country) I'm not RIDING fit and I'm rusty.

    I just bought a new horse and today was ride 3 but I tried to do some more sitting trot work and I found that when I sat the trot my butt kept sliding to the back of my saddle. I didn't really feel like I was bouncing around a lot or anything (mirror check confirmed this) but I felt like I was just not in the right "spot" in the saddle and kept having to adjust myself back forward. It was the same with and without stirrups but I didn't notice the problem at the canter or posting.

    Saddle is a close contact saddle that I've not really ridden in before, but I don't remember having that issue before in a CC (Although honestly, maybe I've just forgotten) and I've got about 4 fingers to 1 hand's breadth behind my seat to the cantle.

    I'm guessing my issue is I'm pinching/too tight somewhere, but I'm not sure where so any ideas of what to try to fix this would be appreciated! I'm not working with a trainer yet as I've only been here three days and I'm still working on finding someone and transport, etc. I also want to get a bit more saddle time before I embarrass myself or something.

    Horse is a big/wide 17.2 and I'm used to lighter horses in the 16 hand range so perhaps that has something to do with it. He is a good mover but not a HUGE mover so I feel comfortable staying with him when I'm sitting in a "good" spot in my saddle but of course as I slide back towards the cantle that gets harder.

    Any suggestions? Just stick with it and try and get riding fitter? Do more yoga? Take up tennis? I did try and get video but my video person only took clips while I was on the opposite end of the indoor arena or right in front of them so they are useless for assessment purposes.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    If the saddle (stirrup bars, twist, flaps, seat) doesn't fit you, it won't fit you...

    But, try stretching you hip flexors and rotating your pelvis so you are sitting more on the front of the "three points" of your seat.


    • #3
      Does the saddle fit the horse? If it's a bit too narrow for your big wide guy it may be sitting too high in front, which would indeed cause you to slide towards the cantle.


      • #4
        I suspect that whether due to saddle fit, or bad habits, you are bracing in your legs. Try staying in a kneeling position, with your knees slightly bent under you. You may need to shorten your stirrups to get and maintain the feel.

        This would I hope bring your seat further forward in the saddle. Of course too big a seat will allow this to happen too.
        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.


        • #5
          If the saddle don't fit you it might be the saddle, but my personal opinion is that the saddle is just a tool and doesn't really change your way of riding.

          I would try to get in shape and really try to engage your core.

          My tip for this would be (because it helped me..
          In yoga they tell you" tuck in your tail"....and IMO thats the same as engaging your core. So really really try to focus on doing this in the transition to trot. Thats essential.... Once you trot, you first keep on doing this and then you try to follow the horse. You will find out that it is a lot easier to stay in the right position when you do this. An additional plus is that you will engage the horse for the transition as well...


          • #6
            Close contact saddles (jumping saddles) are not made for sitting - they are made for you to get OFF the horse's back. So while it is true the saddle may not fit you, it is also a saddle that is not made for sitting trot.

            You say your butt was sliding back - was your entire position sliding back, or did your legs go forward (Chair seat)? It may also be partly because the horse is wider then you are use to - you mention he is bigger then others you've ridden. Height really isn't an issue, but width is. If he is wider then your comfortable hip span, you are going to find yourself slipping to a point where your hips aren't "spread".


            • #7
              Indeed if the saddle does not fit rider or horse, this is going to happen.
              If the stirrup bars are too forward it will happen.
              If the seat is pitched upward in front, this will happen.
              If the seat center/ balance is not suited to the horse, this will happen.
              If the seat is too large for the rider, this will happen.

              Get some eyes on the two of you, including a saddle fitter. You should probably do more hours in the saddle just getting that long leg and alignment core strength back in gear before trying too much sitting trot. Sitting trot is all about core and dropping out of your hip properly
              -- * > hoopoe
              Procrastinate NOW
              Introverted Since 1957


              • Original Poster

                Thanks everyone! Had a saddle fitter look at the saddle and we made a small adjustment and it has made a big difference. Still doesn't fit me perfectly but fits the horse well so we'll stick with it.

                Thanks again


                • #9
                  My mare has a wide barrel and is a bit of a pear shape, narrowing toward her shoulder. Especially when she is fat. It made finding a dressage saddle that didn't slide forward tricky. It can also make my LEG slide forward, and thus butt back and encourage a chair seat. Quite unattractive. I have to really think about pushing my heel down and back and letting my thigh be long, even in my jumping saddle. We never get to blame the horse for anything, but on this I say with confidence that it is all HER fault!


                  • #10
                    Glad you have found some improvement but I was wondering if the sliding happens when you sit the trot w/o stirrups?


                    • #11
                      "Close contact saddles (jumping saddles) are not made for sitting - they are made for you to get OFF the horse's back. So while it is true the saddle may not fit you, it is also a saddle that is not made for sitting trot."

                      Took the words right out of my keyboard. This is your problem. A CC saddle is designed for a very light seat/half seat/2 point position, not sitting trot. It's got a very shallow, nearly flat seat and that of course would cause you to slide back.

                      I suggest you get a dressage saddle, try again, and see if that corrects the problem.


                      • #12
                        While it's true a cc saddle may not be best for sitting trot, in the short-term, a well-fitted one is perfectly acceptable to use.
                        weixiao , don't forget to lengthen your stirrups on your cc saddle if you're doing lots of flat work in it. That's helped me get deep into the seat and be secure; if I forget to lengthen them (~ 3-4 holes), then I always slip back in the little bit of sitting trot I do too.
                        Case in point: I have a custom-made dressage saddle and a custom-made cc saddle (same fitter/brand). Recently, my dressage saddle appears to have broken, and my saddler is slow getting back to me . In order to ride at all, I have been using my cc saddle. My instructor came for a lesson and ** I had to use my cc saddle for my dressage lesson. Well, my instructor was so complimentary about my position, and I was able to do ALL the figures and movements we had been doing previously in my dressage saddle (First Level, with some 2nd movements). Now, I don't do much sitting trot anyway because my spine won't take it, but when I did, I was just as secure as if I was in my deep dressage saddle. I felt secure enough to show 1st Level in it 3 days after my lesson. and received the same scores as if I was in my dressage saddle. Now, I don't plan to do upper levels in it, but I certainly wouldn't hesitate to do up to 3rd level movements because it's so well fitted and balanced with my longer stirrups.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for the feedback and ideas, everyone!

                          jonem004: I think I'd like to blame my horse's shape a bit too! haha He is much larger and much wider than what I'm used to so I think it'll take some time to learn how to wrap my leg down around him.

                          Magicboy: yep, problem was the same with and without stirrups

                          Mondo: dressage saddle will be helpful in the future, for sure, but I know I'm capable of sitting in a CC saddle so I wanted to figure out what was wrong. Seem to have mostly got it sorted and hopefully I'll pick up a dressage saddle later this winter or in the spring. I want him to fill out a bit before I fit anything new to him.

                          Fanfayre: Stirrup length is a really good point! I lengthened my stirrups a couple of holes but I think I could stand to go down another for flatwork. I'll give that a try tomorrow even though I think the problem is mostly resolved. Thanks!