I’ve been fairly honest on this blog about my lack of [any] formal education when it comes to equitation. My training to this point basically revolves around not hitting the horse in the mouth over fences, and staying on. Not so formal training includes friends in the arena yelling at me (which I invite). So it comes as no surprise that after years of riding dirty stoppers, run-aways, and the occasional naughty
train Irish Draught, I’ve developed a very defensive jumping position- namely, the chair seat.
Part of my issue in the past has been that my stirrups have been too long, and going back to some images of me riding it’s fairly obvious that’s lending itself to my poor eq.
cajoled convinced to shorten my stirrups up in the extreme, and this week bumped up into stirrup leather territory that has never been punctured.
Yesterday was a bit better than this even, as with every stride I reminded myself to attempt to “point my knees down” and post back into my heel. All went well at the walk and the trot, but my attempts at two-pointing without chair leg at the canter sent my ankle into fiery spasms that took minutes to recover after every session.
Some of my struggle is obviously built into my muscle memory at this point, but all of the photos here have another thing in common (other than my two year old self, because duh): the saddle.
I remember when I was shopping for a new saddle (probably 8 years ago), I was specifically looking for a saddle that had a more forward stirrup bar. Now I wonder if the forward flap and stirrup position are adding to my frustrations to find a more solid lower leg. When I have my leg completely under me, it hits the rear block. But, I certainly don’t want to blame my poor position on the tack if that’s not the culprit either.
At this point the tack issue is probably all moot, since it’s not really worth saddle shopping until I know what equine prince charming I’ll end up with. However, next weekend I’m on the horse hunting trail again and trying anywhere from 4-7 jumping horses, and I’d rather not feel like more of a numpty than I normally do.
[Edit: scroll down to comments to see various video progressions of the chair seat, with this video as being what I consider my “best” position in this saddle]
Saddle experts and eq princesses, chime in- what can I do to find my balance and not be disgraced by my chair seat woes? Is there anything I can do with my current saddle to fix the issue? Is it the saddle at all?