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Hunter perch?

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  • Hunter perch?

    Hi, I'm a hunter switching to jumpers. I never learned how to sit the canter because I was taught the hunter perch, which I look back and regret learning. I've been reading these forums and articles and people either seem to say move your hips in the saddle manually or relax and become jelly-like. So which is it? Please help!

    Edit: I'm not jumping jumper heights right now of course haha. I'm just saying in the future I want to compete in jumper classes when I'm ready instead of hunter classes
    Last edited by sterlingthedutchwarmblood; May. 20, 2019, 03:35 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by sterlingthedutchwarmblood View Post
    Hi, I'm a hunter switching to jumpers. I never learned how to sit the canter because I was taught the hunter perch, which I look back and regret learning. I've been reading these forums and articles and people either seem to say move your hips in the saddle manually or relax and become jelly-like. So which is it? Please help!
    Never ever learned to sit the canter?

    Well, you just have to do it. You just have to get your butt in the saddle and find your balance same as if you were a total beginner. It will go faster than that.

    I would suggest investing in some longe lessons and using a neck geab strap. Slightly longer stirrups might help.

    Just sit in until you get your balance. Focus on keeping your butt in the saddle like a western rider. Once you get that you will start to follow the motion of the horse which is asymmetrical and scoops to the leading leg.

    You want to be relaxed to follow the motion but you do not want to be floppy. On the other hand you do not need to overdo pumping your hips. Drop your thigh, sit up straight, and sit in.

    Your jumper coach is your best guide, or you might try some dressage lessons.

    Comment


    • #3
      Drop your stirrups, drop your stirrups, drop your stirrups

      Comment


      • #4
        You've never ridden without stirrups? Seems like you haven't gotten the world's best education. Now is as good at time as any to learn!

        First off, there are two main seats you use in hunters and jumpers - a half seat and a full or deep seat. Both are used interchangeably throughout hunter and jumper course. A half seat is when you get up and out of the saddle, barely touching the saddle once per stride as you move with the horse. This is probably similar to what you describe as a "hunter perch" but it shouldn't be perchy, it should be fluid with plenty of movement from both your arms and knee. A deep seat is with your butt in the tack. You still move with the horse but your butt does not leave the saddle and you follow with your hips and arms.

        To learn that second seat I agree that you need to drop your stirrups!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Cocorona View Post
          Drop your stirrups, drop your stirrups, drop your stirrups
          I have done tons of lunging and dropping my stirrups. I do find that dropping the stirrups help a lot but once I get my stirrups back I'm still unbalanced. My horse needs a lot of leg and when i squeeze, i find myself locking my leg and tensing up, which I think is the main problem my seat is getting bounced out. Any suggestions?

          Also, thank you for the replies everyone! Much appreciated!

          Comment


          • #6
            I'll second a grab strap! I used to always perch. When breaking that habit I used a grab strap to kind of "pull" my seat into the saddle, which gave me the feeling of the hip movement that I needed, and also your hands will move with the horse's neck, so you get that following movement too. It was a bit of a breakthrough for me when I started using the grab strap the first time I asked for the canter in each ride.

            You replied while I was typing, the horse I was practicing this on wasn't an enthusiastic canter-er, so having the grab strap was extra helpful to keep me secure even when I needed to give her a squeeze. It helped to give that squeeze without getting bounced out, and helped me learn how to ask for more forward without popping myself out of the saddle

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by sterlingthedutchwarmblood View Post

              I have done tons of lunging and dropping my stirrups. I do find that dropping the stirrups help a lot but once I get my stirrups back I'm still unbalanced. My horse needs a lot of leg and when i squeeze, i find myself locking my leg and tensing up, which I think is the main problem my seat is getting bounced out. Any suggestions?

              Also, thank you for the replies everyone! Much appreciated!
              Then your position problems are being affected by a basic training problem.

              Your horse should go off a simple brief touch of the calf. If you need to squeeze so much you are bounced out of the tack, then you need to get horse more forward in general.

              There was a link to a useful article in the current thread ",Young horse more whoa than go." Work on getting your horse ahead of the leg. Do longe lessons too with your coach holding a longe whip.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like you need a better trainer then whoever taught you to perch on Hunters or the one you have now if it’s not the same person.Its not something that can be taught remotely, you need an eyes and hands on teacher who can communicate and not settle for mediocrity in a client.

                Need to solve the training issues now before you jump higher and start flying off the perch.
                Last edited by findeight; May. 21, 2019, 12:53 AM.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Yep, I recently moved barns and got a new trainer who is highly recommended by a lot of people I met at shows. I see so many other riders perching at hunter shows but watching the Maclay finals, I realize only a few riders perch, if any. Since I'm switching to jumpers I know I need to fix my seat for those tight turns and sticky situations!

                  Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll try a grab strap at my next lesson! It sounds really helpful
                  Last edited by sterlingthedutchwarmblood; May. 20, 2019, 03:22 PM. Reason: Edit: I'm trying to steer the conversation back to my original question. I don't mean to sound rude or anything at all! Should I be relaxing while sitting the canter or pumping my hips?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You need your seat to drive horse forward to the distances. If you cannot adjust horse's stride with your seat, you're not using 1/4 of your aids. Back to basics. Sitting the canter isn't difficult. In fact, if you recall, it's the way you began canter. If not, then I'd say your trainer really did you a disservice.

                    Please don't consider raising the height and doing 'jumpers' without this essential aid in place. Best of luck to you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's also possible that you have made your horse dull to the leg by clamping your legs into his sides for stability while perching.

                      You should not be clamping your lower legs to the horse for stability when you two point.

                      I would suggest mastering the full seat and also working on keeping your calves off the horse and reteaching the leg aid with the reinforcement of a crop.

                      IMHO no one can ride a correct two point if they can't also ride a deep seat.

                      When you return to two point work, drop your heel and make sure you aren't wrapping your calves around the horse.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To your clarifying note at 3:20, in my opinion the answer will vary a little depending on the horse. A horse with a naturally smooth canter who's light off your leg, I think you can just think of relaxing, holding your upper body tall, and letting your midsection glide with the horse. For a horse that needs to be pushed a little because he's not yet light off your leg (which does need to be established, and with a crop to reinforce the leg), or a horse who is not naturally as smooth, you probably need to think of manually moving your seat in order to make a point of trying to stay with him.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't have any additional tips for you to help you learn to sit, but you might enjoy watching this video by Bernie Traurig about the different seats one uses on course.
                           
                          I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Properly sitting the canter isn't really something that can be taught over the internet. You need a good instructor who can answer your questions real-time in a lesson. The motion of the hips and seat is not a hard and fast rule, and what may be appropriate on one horse may end up looking like a monkey humping a banana on another. No one wants to see that. In general, the hips should be on the looser side, but the midsection should remain firm, to avoid the whole humping situation.

                            It is common to lose the position once the stirrups are picked up; I suspect your stirrups are quite short and suggest lengthening them to a flatting length. That will allow you to relax the leg and find the feel you have without stirrups a bit easier. Similarly when you drop your stirrups, don't allow your legs to go entirely slack; you should still be keeping a similar shape and feel to your leg as with stirrups, and that will help you gain the correct feel.If you watch the Big Eq riders test without stirrups, their leg position doesn't really change in angle or connection, perhaps just lengthening a bit.

                            The best use of the internet is to watch videos of riders in a variety of seats so you can get the mental picture. There is no one correct seat for one discipline. Plenty of jumper riders (particularly Americans) prefer the light seat (Ann Kursinski is a good example). The Europeans tend to use a more consistent deep seat. However, the seat you choose is more dependent on the balance and canter and horse's way of going over a particular discipline. You'll see wildly varying seats especially within the jumpers, but sometimes within the hunters, too, as horses tend to have seat that suits their particular style.

                            No proper seat includes the perch. Ever.

                            A proper seat should be considered as a spectrum of depths. From the lightest of two points to the deepest of dressage-type full seats, each has a time, place and application and riders of all disciplines should be familiar with the full spectrum.
                            Jennifer Baas
                            It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              completely agree with Mac above, I'd also add that I would discuss with your new trainer what faults he's seeing in your leg position. Do you keep your foot shoved forward? are you clamping with your knees or calves? Is your leg educated enough to add a spur? are you using your thighs /upper leg correctly or leaving it slack and relying on your heel?

                              I suspect you're isolating parts of your leg without knowing it instead of using the entire leg effectively- perhaps you could try a few dressage lessons as well!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I don't have any suggestions to perfect your seat, but I'll commiserate with you. I used to be able to have a deep seat, but then took a break from riding for about a year and came back into it leasing a horse with a very lateral canter and whom was very heavy on the forehand that ended up creating some bad habits in my riding (4 years worth). Had another trainer come to our barn who does a lot of dressage (and eventing, but lots and lots of dressage) who is working on fixing the habits I've picked up over the years. Some things we've done/are doing:

                                1. My saddle was too small so sizing up helped me a bit. The wrong saddle size can work against you.
                                2. I do a ton of no stirrups work including no reins and no stirrups on the lunge with my trainer so that I ONLY focus on my balance. Was doing a private lunge lesson EVERY week for months... unfortunately scheduling isn't allowing that right now, but if I could do one a week indefinitely I would because it is so helpful.
                                3. As stated above, use a grab strap. I love mine and if I feel like I am getting bounced about I will grab it to help pull myself back into the seat.
                                4. If you can only do 5 strides of a good sitting canter then just do 5 strides and then go back to trot and do half a circle and then go back to the canter. 5 good strides is better than 10 bad ones.
                                5. I started leasing a horse with a way better canter so that I can focus more on me than trying to maintain a "good enough" canter and trying to work against the horses movement that was bouncing me out of the tack. Not always a plausible option, but if you can ride horses with different canters that may help you.
                                6. Think of pointing your knees down and keeping toes up. Most hunters are TONS of heels down because that is what we hear constantly... but most of us also have heels that are fine. I used to have in my mind over and over "heels down heels down" when my heels were already down and in good position due to muscle memory... and I was continuing to push to a point where they were going to far forward. When I think toes up and knees down it keeps me from over doing the heels and getting my hip alignment out of wack.
                                7. Quit riding on your crotch (easier said than done) and pretend like you are pulling up a bar stool to sit in to get your bum in the saddle.
                                8. Imagine being a weight lifter. Weight lifters need to keep their weight on their bottom half and so imagining that helps me think "sit deeper". Pretend you've got ankle weights. Draw up whatever visual helps you... trust me, it can help even if it sounds strange.
                                9. For me I have to think about pointing my toes under the horse to get the right part of my leg against the saddle.
                                10. Engage those abs. My trainer used to have me do canter to walk transitions and literally make me make a "ooff" noise and engage my abs like someone just punched me in the stomach. Helped me from leaning out of my seat and perching to halt. You will have to continually remind yourself to engage your abs. You should feel your abs while riding and if you've never used them before they will HURT when you do it right... at least until your muscles get used to it.
                                11. Working with a dressage trainer can be an eye opener. Try it if you can!
                                12. You don't need to hump and pump, but you do need to know how to open your hips. You can't effectively sit a canter with closed hips - this is my biggest issue and the hardest one to fix for me. Once you can actually sit the canter correctly you can start working on a driving seat if your horse needs it.

                                That is what I can think of off the top of my head right now. It can take a long time to fix bad habits and you'll feel like you are getting nowhere at times, but if you are putting in the work I promise you are making small changes that will eventually fit together and you'll be able to see and feel the change.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by sterlingthedutchwarmblood View Post

                                  I have done tons of lunging and dropping my stirrups. I do find that dropping the stirrups help a lot but once I get my stirrups back I'm still unbalanced. My horse needs a lot of leg and when i squeeze, i find myself locking my leg and tensing up, which I think is the main problem my seat is getting bounced out. Any suggestions?

                                  Also, thank you for the replies everyone! Much appreciated!
                                  When you feel this happen it’s good to think of tucking your tailbone underneath you. That will open your hips enough to flow with the movement of the horse rather than resist it or bounce against it.

                                  Its also ok to go use a lighter seat (modified 3 points of contact versus full contact) if your horse has a big canter and you don’t need the full seat contact.

                                  Having a trainer teach you how to use all 3 seats is going to help your riding* immensely! (Full seat, two-point and three- point)
                                  Last edited by Fiona_785; May. 22, 2019, 11:56 PM. Reason: Typo

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by sterlingthedutchwarmblood View Post

                                    I have done tons of lunging and dropping my stirrups. I do find that dropping the stirrups help a lot but once I get my stirrups back I'm still unbalanced. My horse needs a lot of leg and when i squeeze, i find myself locking my leg and tensing up, which I think is the main problem my seat is getting bounced out. Any suggestions?

                                    Also, thank you for the replies everyone! Much appreciated!
                                    Your horse can make this more difficult for you if he isn't really in front of your leg. Horses need to give us a good place to sit on their back. Inverted and behind the leg is hard for anyone to sit. Being round and forward really helps, which is why a lunge lesson may be more helpful than you dropping your stirrups and going around on your own. The person lunging makes the horse go forward and usually side reins are used to encourage roundness. All you need to do is focus on you!

                                    I've been riding for over 20 years (OMG I just realized I'm old) and still get the occasional lunge lesson to tweak my position.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      That third seat is also called a Half Seat. Butt in the saddle but the amount of weight in it varies and is controlled by hip angle, shoulders stay above the hips and don’t move indepently, only via changes in hip angle.

                                      Sounds confusing and it’s very, very hard to master but mastering it allows a rider to advance to a very sophisticated level where it looks like they are doing nothing.

                                      If you go back to Deweys post, #13, the riders in the upper right and lower left pics are using the half seat. Note the upper right rider’s fanny lightly in the seat
                                      with a slightly closed hip angle, straight back and shoulders only slightly forward as she sends her horse straight forward.

                                      The lower left rider is also in a half seat but has opened the hip angle, bringing shoulder slightly back very close to full seat but still not all the way there as she executes a corner. Note both these horses are ahead of the leg and both rider appear to be very correct Eq riders.

                                      Then we go to the real world Jumper riders driving their horses up into the bridle well ahead of the leg. First rider, upper left, looks like he’s on a short corner to a big fence. Obviously he’s out of the saddle here but compare his leg and shoulders to the two Eq riders. It’s almost identical . You could drop him on the ground and he’d be standing straight on his feet. That’s one strong and very correct position. Weight out of the seat but legs are exactly where they’d be if he was in it and he has not closed the hip angle, he’s got horse precisely where he wants him.

                                      The rider on the lower right appears to be having a bit of discussion with this horse about coming forward so has dropped well behind to drive him up and forward. Hes in a driving seat and has opened his hip angle to bring shoulder back and seat deeper in the saddle. The remarkable thing about all four of these different riders working different pace and control questions is if you compare ALL four of their leg and back positions, they are almost the same. Everything is generated from controlling the hip angle. No shoulder throwing, no loose below the knee leg. And no hint of a perch.

                                      Try to watch these videos over and over looking at just between waist and knees and how that controls everything. Hopefully you will have an “ Edison moment” and the light bulb will go off and you’ll get it. It’s all about that hip angle. Also suggest you watch MacLaine Ward, who, IMO, does this better then anybody.. And watch the Maclay Medal Finals. Once you learn to see and understand it, it all makes sense. Won’t make learning it any easier but at least you’ll know where you are going.

                                      One hint on full seat. Drop your irons, sit up straight, try to touch your belly button to your spine and pretend you’ve got a hundred dollar bill in your back pocket, sort of roll your hips under and sit on your pockets. Suggest you start at the walk, then sitting trot, then canter. You have to loosen up your core and retrain those muscles and your brain because it won’t feel right. And you will be sore, mostly abs, glutes and upper hammies right under your butt. That’s where your seat security and true control of the horses body really comes from. Surprises me the number of trainers out there who don’t teach this despite the numerous upoer level clinicians and authors who stress it.
                                      .
                                      Finally, your saddle may not be helping you at all. It might not put you in a proper spot to let your legs, hips and shoulders align properly or allow you to control them. It could also have you slipping and unable to stay in a correct, strong and balanced position. I had one like that, mid price range. My ( Medal Finals winning) Pro rider could not even stay with it. You need to right tools ti be successful. Might include a different saddle...maybe trainer too.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        findeight
                                        Thank you for this post! I've never made that connection before and it gave me a lot of things to think about and look at when I am watching videos and riding.

                                        Comment

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