What type of saddle do you use!

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What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Jo on Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:02 am

This is a really interesting topic because I recently read an article that indicated that a well fitted treed saddle was as good as a treeless. So what does everyone use?
For me it was down to Trelawny's size and growth - he is a BIG horse, and still growing and a treeless saddle will grow with him and I bought a Barefoot Nevada because I like the western saddles (watched too many westerns as a kid!) Having said that Trelawny is a bit oversized to be a cowpony - but we can pretend!
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by FlorayG on Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:23 pm

Yes the active word there (words sorry) are 'well fitting'. If it fits your horse when he's fat it won't fit when he's thin. i know, I just had to dig out a size smaller jeans when a cold spell hit 'cause i've lost weight while in cotton trousis. No treed sddle will fit all the time unless your horse doesn't change shape. You can of course use adjustable ones, I used a Reactorpanel for 12 years ( I had one of the first ones out and still got it) this is the best compromise for a treed saddle that will always adjust to fit. But now I have gone Western, I looked at the one you got but in the end went for the 'real thing' and got a Bob Marshall treeless from the USA, best thing I ever did, the most comfortable saddle in the world.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Cyndi on Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:05 pm

I have a Barefoot Cheyenne (with the Grandeur Physio pad) with the English stirrups. I am contemplating buying the Western fenders and stirrups for the saddle, as I grew up riding Western. I thought that the English stirrups looked so sophistocated with the saddle...but I think I'll go back to the familiar. Maybe I will have better balance in the Western gear...kind of a psychological thing? Another reason I went with the English stirrups is because my knees get VERY sore with Western saddles. However, that was always the stiff-fendered treed saddles. The Barefoot fenders are supposed to be nice and light and supple and apparently you don't get sore knees from them. My knees get sore because they are forced outward with the stiff fenders, rather than being able to bend more so that my knees are facing forward. That's what you get for being knock-kneed!!!
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Sydney on Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:53 pm

After using synthetic harness I really liked the idea of being able to hose my tack.
My western is a tex-tan. Theres something about a tex-tan that fits me so well. They are super comfy. The only brand I found that was balanced for me and wide enough for Indigo.

My english I have is a wintec, without CAIR. I will not use cair for several reasons.
1. They are never the same firmness day to day because of the little air pockets the density of the panels can be harder or softer depending on the air pressure and temperature making the saddle fit differently in different seasons and even day to day.
2. I found it bounced a lot more. My mare has a bouncy trot and I felt like it was a bazillion times bouncier.
3. They can pop with very little change in altitude. I guess CAIR had a huge lawsuit when an endurance rider got really hurt when the panels burst.
4. They can pop period. They warn you to watch what you set the saddle on.

I would love to try treeless. No one around here has one for me to try. The woman that certified me to do my massage therapy said they break down a lot quicker than a normal saddle. I have been eyeing a pretty nice looking one on e-bay.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Jo on Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:57 am

I think as long as you keep the treeless physio pad (like a numnah) up together there is no reason why the treeless saddle shouldnt last. I am chuffed to bits with mine - it is incredibly comfortable and flexible and whilst I bought it as a nubuck I have actually treated it will normal leather conditioner so it has reverted back to proper leather - which I think looks loads better. They probably dont have the shelf life of say a traditional english saddle, which if looked after could last a lifetime in theory, but I wouldn't swap it.
Re the fenders - I have found that using western fenders has stopped me from getting sore calves because I dont wear knee length riding boots - just walking boots. Whenever I ride my friends horse in a traditional engish saddle and stirrups I always have to wear wellies to stop my legs rubbing against the stirrup leathers - the fenders on the Barefoot stop all that.
Re the "well fitted" treed saddle - absolutely and interestingly the article was to do with master saddlers - who presumably make the "well fitted" treed saddles.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:32 am

What is 'well fitted' anyway? Question

It doesn't take much thinking about and observing to realise/see how much a horses back changes shape when it is moving so anything that doesn't allow for that range of movement is not going to be comfortable for the horse.

I use both Treed and Treeless.

My treed is a wintec
Non Cair - I agree with Sydney. When I first got Ember she had some difficulty allowing people on her back and even now can explode into her bronco impression if necessary. Once a horse is bucking the cair panels act like trampolines and hitting the deck is a certainty.
However I fit it along Balance principles and fit it wide with lots of squahy padding underneath, usually a polypad and also something like quilted leg wraps under the pommel as well, that way when her back changes shape in movement, the padding will squash rather than constricting the back. She goes very well in it.

The treeless is an Equinelibrium Hackabout. I have the synthetic one which is so comfy.
I used to have the leather one that I loved too but a friend tried it and wanted to buy it so I sold it to her and bought the synthetic one. I use a mattes correction pad underneath. I agree with Jo and good pad is essential with a treeless saddle.

I use either one depending on whatever I am doing. I like the treeless but as it has dressage type girth straps sometimes Ember finds that they make her sore where the girth fastens. I haven't solved how to deal with this yet so she has a rest from it and I use the treed.

I find comfort is everything for both horse and rider, after observing how much a horses ribcage can expand just from breathing I won't use any girth which is not elasticated. And as far as Ember is concerned it has to be elasticated at both ends, fleece lined and padded Exclamation Exclamation Laughing
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Sydney on Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:33 am

Something that irks me that I see a lot of riders around here doing is just getting a saddle and supplementing the lack of fit with more saddle pads.
I agree with the horses back changing and different saddle pads are good there but something so often is over saddle padding.

I think of it this way: if you had a ladies dress shoe that was too small on you, it pinched your feet. You wouldn't put on a pair of wool socks to make it fit better. Same thing should apply with a narrow saddle on a wide horse.
Same thing for a shoe too big. Even though you put on 6 pairs of socks your foot still slops around in the huge shoe. Same thing with a narrow horse and a wide saddle.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by armargo on Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:15 am

I like this topic, keep it going please as I don't have a saddle for Jacko yet and have been looking at all the different types available on different sites but just can't make up my mind as to which one would suit him best.

Its one thing reading the descriptions, etc on the sites but personal experiences are always a good insight too flower


Sheena
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by bohohorse on Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:10 am

I have a Barefoot Cheyenne for hacking and jumping. I have English leathers with it but after reading Jo's points about the fenders not rubbing I might try those... I now have a set of full chaps which stop that but I do like to ride in short boots. I use a Hillason memory foam, non slip pad underneath. I didn't like the Grandeur pad but thats just personal preference.

I also have the Barefoot London for dressage with a Mattes pad. I found the shims in the Mattes useless so I cut the stiches dividing the inserts and shoved a Wintec riser in there! Now it's great.

I love the increased feel and movement you get with the treeless. I think comfort is vital for both horse and rider, the horse can't be comfy if you are unstable, fidgeting or thrashing and the rider can't be comfy if the horse is stiff, cramped or hollow.

I've also got a gorgeous memory foam and sheepskin seat saver but I don't use it all the time. I've seen that you can get memory foam replacement seats for the Barefoots but they are expensive so I'm going to have a go at making my own Very Happy
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by mazrush on Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:56 pm

I have just bought my fourth treeless saddle. We have two Torsion Gp saddles, one lined with wool and the other lined with sympantex. We use eqitex pads with both. The Torsion is a very well made and comfy saddle which never moves across all types of steep terrain. It is fine for jumping too. The leather is lovely and both saddles have worn well. Theyíve had a lot of use over the last 5- 6 years and look good and havenít needed any repairs.



When I bought my first treeless saddle, my kids kept arguing about who was going to use it. At that time I couldnít afford a second torsion so I bought a Trekker Talent. To be honest, I thought I was buying a Barefoot but got a bit mixed up and phoned the wrong company. I donít think the Trekker is as good quality as the barefoot. Itís quite ugly too but very comfortable. Itís lasted very well though the black dye has worn away. One of my daughters likes this one best. We use a polypad with this one with a foam Balance pad between this and the saddle.



My most recent purchase is a Total saddle Solutions dressage saddle from ebay. It is my favourite as it helps you to sit correctly. Also you can use it for competing (though I have done unaffiliated dressage in my Torsion and no one said anything) as the look more like a normal saddle. They cost a fortune new and I think I would expect a better finish If Iíd bought one for the full price. It is a bit unnerving to start with as there isnít much wither clearance as the saddle flexes with the horseís back. All my ponies seem to like it though and move freely in it.. It does have a gullet, unlike the Torsions and it came with a chamois lined numnah and various shims, which I havenít needed as all my ponies are barrel shaped.



I really like this topic as itís interesting to hear what people think about the different makes of saddles. When I bought my first treeless saddles it wasnít so easy to research things online and there was no ebay. Before I bought my last saddle I looked at the equinelibrium saddles but wasnít confident about buying one. Might have considered it if Iíd read this first. Also, Iíd no idea cair panels could burst.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by armargo on Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:35 pm

mazrush wrote:Also, Iíd no idea cair panels could burst.

I didn't know that either, not one site I saw saddles with cair panels mentioned it ......... Shocked

This forum is really becoming a mine of information for me cheers


Sheena sunny
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by lightertouch on Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:34 am

We're currently having a fascinating discussion re. the Total Contact saddle which I'm thinking of getting, in the Yahoo group. http://www.total-contact.co.uk/ Its inspired some strong responses!

I'd love anyone's opinion if they've not yet commented Smile So far I'm pretty enthused by the level of sensitivity I'm told it helps create, that it doesn't slip, doesn't need to be girthed tight (an issue for me and the barrel-shaped (as she should be!) one Crying or Very sad ) is treeless and that horses love it. The concerns are that it may not distribute stirrup pressure as widely across the back as other saddles, leading to greater damage, quicker, at specific points, in particular muscles.

Tell me what you think Question Very Happy sunny
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Wyrdhorses on Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:58 pm

I have treeless saddles.

I have a Sensation Hybrid, 2 Startrekk western saddles, A Dartmoor Treefree and an Exmoor Treefree (both for sale to buy a smaller seat Exmoor) and a western treeless similar to a Bob Marshall (think its a Hilason).

Ive had quite a few treeless saddles (14 I think- maybe more now, I will have to total it up again!) including 2 Ansurs, a Fhoenix, Trekkers, a Startrekk Dressage and Barefoots.

I love my saddles, I like the fact that I can use my favourite saddle on any of my horses (well if it fits I can!), I can use the same saddle on my TB as I can with my cob.

I am not convinced by the total contact, just looks like stirrup bars covered in leather, and looks like it will cause some serious pressure points.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Cyndi on Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:46 pm

I would love to hear what you all think of this...

I went ahead and purchased used Western fenders for my Barefoot Cheyenne. I rode with them for the first time today. I feel better having a wider area for my foot to be on, but the part where the stirrup attaches to the fender was really irritating my left leg - cutting into it.

Don't laugh, and while giving advice, please be gentle Sad Here's the "issue" I had at riding lessons this morning (besides the irritation to my leg), and some possible explanations: Last week, my mount was a slim Quarter Horse mare, and I was riding in a treed Western saddle. Today, I was on a taller and wider gelding, and was using my treeless saddle. I felt much more secure while trotting and posting last week...but the treeless sure was nicer on my bum today!! This morning, I felt like I was airborne while trotting, and my feet were loose in the stirrups. I mentioned it to my instructor and he suggested we shorten the stirrups. I felt somewhat better after that, as far as loose feet goes, but still felt like I was going to fall off my horse, just from a lack of balance. When I'd go up in the air, I felt like I could fall either way to the side. My horse could sense it, and kept stopping. I could feel myself leaning forward, and he'd stop. I am just finding it really hard to stay seated straight!!! Even when I post I feel like I could slip right off if the horse turned to the side. Is this just a matter of time and practice? I really don't want to give up on my treeless saddle. I don't want to depend on a treed saddle to keep me on the horse, I want to learn how to balance regardless of what saddle I'm using.

I wasted a lot of time waiting for my stirrups to be shortened, and I didn't want to take up all of the instructor's time with my 'problems' (there were five students today), but I think next time I will let him know exactly how I'm feeling up there. I have to work next Saturday, so I'll be missing the lesson, and I fear I'll be even further behind the others. The other people in my class have either taken lessons before, or else have been riding horses for years and are now taking lessons.

Part of the problem might be my body position in the treeless saddle. I'm not in the chair position I was in on the Western saddle. That could be throwing off my balance. I need to work on stretching and strengthening my leg muscles so that I can maintain some contact in my upper thighs while trotting. Plus, I have to open up my pelvis so that I can have a nice long leg in the right position. I was told once that I have a natural chair seat position, so I need to change that.

Am I on the right track with my thinking?
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Sydney on Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:31 am

Does your western stirrups/fenders have stirrup hobbles? They are the little straps that keep the actual stirrups from twisting around in an emergency and getting your foot caught. Heres a picture http://www.western-saddle-guide.com/images/stirrup-hobble1.jpg
Anyway, my textan had big bulky ones. I got a pair of nylon english spur straps and put them on and I dont get rubbed any longer. The buckle should also be on the inside towards the horse. If that fails try getting a pair of half chaps. My first saddle was a butt buster and rubbed my legs something terrible. Even though I rode strictly western then they saved my legs until I learned better and got a saddle that fit me.

The bottom of the stirrups should hit your ankle bone when your feet are out of them for any classical riding position, english or western. You may even feel more comfortable with them a tiny bit shorter.
Falling forward is a problem with a lot of beginner riders. It's a combination of slouched shoulders and popping up heels.
This is what I tell every student when they first start.

Whats the first thing an airplane has to have down when it goes to land or else it will crash?


It's wheels. That is why you have to have your heels down or else when you go to stop or post because of the motion you will crash.

Secondly remember this point: The elbow is the single most strongest part of a human body. When you bend your elbow you strengthen that point. Now make two fists and imagine you have an ice cream cone in each hand. If you tip your hands the ice cream falls off the cone so you can't tip your cones. Remembering these three things, heels, elbow and hands/ice cream cones will keep you sitting strait.

Everyone can tell when I am teaching a beginner lesson because I am hollering "don't tip your ice cream!!" from the arena lol.

Also try finding your seat bones. With your horse standing still bring both legs all the way forward towards the horses sholder, then all the way back towards their rump. Then finally let your legs settle beneath you out of your stirrups. You should feel like your sitting real deep and on your seat bones. It's a really secure feeling but once you get the hang of it, it will come naturally to you. This also streaches your hips so older riders really benefit from this.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Cyndi on Sun Nov 30, 2008 3:00 pm

EGAD!!! I replied to you, Sydney, then lost it before I sent it!!! I'll try again...

First of all, thanks SO much for the advice!

Yes, I have stirrup hobbles. It felt like the buckles were digging into me, but that's not possible, so I will make sure I check it very well next time, because my right leg was fine.

Will also check the length of the stirrup according to your suggestion. The stirrups were as short as they could go, so they had to punch a new hole for me at lessons (thus my comment about 'wasting' time - but I am very grateful they did it for me). They punched an extra hole, so if I need to shorten them more, it's possible.

Slouched shoulders and popping up heels - EXACTLY!! Especially the popping up heels...and truthfully, I have to really concentrate on sitting straighter and not slouching. I feel like my foot is entirely airborne when I go up during the trot. When I come down, my foot is either too far back (only my toes are on the stirrup) or else too far back (at one point, the stirrup was right against the heel of my boot). How does a person sit low during a trot? I am one of those people who can't sit and make myself sink to the bottom of the shallow end of a swimming pool, while my puny kids could! I flip and float up! During the trot, I feel like an out of control rag doll up there, flopping around, and I pray that I don't fall off.

So I should bend my elbows more? Have my hands belly button height? That feels comfy for me even while I'm sitting here.

The ice cream cone analogy is perfect!!! Just sitting in the chair right now, I feel so much more balanced with my elbows bent, slightly tucked into my body, and my hands in that ice cream cone position! I think this might be a major breakthrough!!! It feels like it brings my center of gravity to a more defined point. Jason said how we hold onto the reins doesn't matter to him, so I'm going to give this a try. It seems like more of an English hand position than a Western one, but if it works, you can bet I'll keep doing it.

I'm not sure about the seat bones thing. I would rather sit more on my back pockets than my seat bones. With our Parelli instructor we did an exercise where we took turns being a horse and had someone 'sit' on our back (not full weight, obviously, but enough to feel a difference). There is a huge difference in pressure when you sit on the seat bone than on the fleshy part of your bum, but it sure makes you have to open your pelvis up more to achieve a comfortable seat while maintaining that shoulder/hip/ankle line.

Another thing I'll do is make sure that the saddle is sitting high on the withers. That is suggested with the Barefoot saddles, since there is no tree to interfere with the shoulders. I'm wondering if I had the saddle too far back and it was leaning forward a bit, thus making me lean forward more than usual (like I need help in that department!). I did walk the horse around the arena with the saddle slightly loose, so that the saddle would fall into a natural position on its own.

Thanks again for your most valuable advice! I really appreciate this group!

Cyndi
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by FlorayG on Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:34 am

Two things I would add - you're obviously a 'short-arse' like me, and we don't have the natural shape for riding . Look at the others in your class - I bet the one that sits nicest has the longest legs, so just resign yourself to having to work more on your short legs to get them to position correctly. Second, unless you're training for a group competition, the speed of progress of the rest of the class is irrelevant to you, don't grieve about being 'left behind'
When I was training with a classical trainer years ago, he used to say he was wasting his time, however hard I tried I would never be a good rider. He meant elegant, which to him was the same thing, and you need long legs to be elegant on a horse
oh, and this sometimes helps... think of the rising trot as DOWN (up) DOWN (up), not up, down, up, down etc.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Sydney on Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:17 pm

And for trotting on the correct diagonals remember: rise and fall with the leg on the wall!

Something that helped a young girl that was bigger and short was doing a lot of transitions wile trotting. No I don't mean walk/trot/canter I mean standing in the stirrups for 4 paces, sitting for 4, posting for 4 and then two point for four. You can try it at a walk first. Doing two point at a walk definately builds those muscles.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Cyndi on Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:20 am

Thanks ladies!

No, I'm not training for a group competition (thankfully!!), so I will try to remember to just go at my own pace.

Very interesting comment about the DOWN (up) versus UP (down). Makes sense.

I'm average height and weight - 5'4", 135 pounds. Short body, so longer in the legs...which you'd think would be an advantage. lol

The rise and fall with the leg on the wall is a good thing to remember! I will try to do both of you proud by doing my best to implement all your advice!! I should try those transitions too. I hope that others in my group are a bit slower in grooming and saddling their horses so that I can do some of this stuff in the arena before lessons start Smile
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by FlorayG on Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:26 am

Well, compare the time taken to put on a bridle, bit, fasten a noseband, add a martingale - all on a horse that objects - and the time it takes to fasten a halter, especially if it's the halter you caught the horse with in the first place! I suspect you have 15 minutes more than they do! cheers
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by bohohorse on Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:21 am

Interesting to read the latest updates on this thread Smile

Cyndi (putting my Pilates instructor head on now) you will continue to struggle with the shoulder/hip/heel alignment if you are sitting on your pockets. Sitting that way tilts the top of your pelvis backwards, flattening the natural curve in the lumbar spine and you will not be able to maintain a neutral (correct) spine. To compensate, you will have to slump your shoulders forwards. Chances are, your feet will also creep forward too. For posting/rising, the shoulders should be marginally in front of the vertical (leaning forward almost imperceptibly) while the spine remains in neutral, with your hips moving slightly forward rather than up. Trying to go straight up and down will result in a loss of balance as, by the time you come down, the horse has moved forwards and you are left behind!

Sitting on your sit bones needn't be painful for the horse if he is correctly saddled/padded. In fact, if you get a REALLY good instructor to correct your sitting posture, you will notice the exact point that you get it right because the horse FLIES! You can feel him or her saying 'Thank you! You aren't getting in my way now..!'

Let me know if the bit about posture doesn't make sense and I will try and find some pictures. Smile
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Cyndi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:31 pm

I totally get what you are saying about the posture! I thought it was just me, struggling to get that position right, when in reality, it may not even be possible. What a relief! I still need to work on my posture, but I will take things in small steps.

Your description of me rising and then getting left behind because the horse has moved on, is perfect! I'm trying to think back to when I trotted on a horse and felt good and secure, and in those cases, I was much more relaxed and moved my hips slightly forward when I rose (moved with the horse, not against it). Some of this has been natural for me, yet in my mind I kept thinking that I don't know anything (because I've never had lessons before), so I've been trying too hard to do what I think the instructor is looking for. He may not see the little things I'm doing or not doing, so it'd be hard for him to correct me. Perhaps I'll try what feels most natural and see what happens. Can't be any worse than how I felt up there last week.

Thanks much!!
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Sydney on Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:09 pm

Cyndi, it is possible to get this without lessons. I've only had a handful of lessons where the instructor sat there and nitpicked at things like riding position but when I did have lessons I found I benefited from my own trial and error a lot more. What I learned most I have got firstly from the horses, secondly from what I felt was right and thirdly what I learned and observed and they have all been correct. Watching, asking a lot of questions etc oh and making mistakes Razz can't learn anything without mistakes. Never be afraid to ask questions. You may feel like people may look down on you because you have to ask instead of knowing. A stereotype I hate about the horse world is if you ask you don't know, it's impossible to know all.
You got it right about moving your hips so keep that idea. Your lower leg should be still and to post properly you should not be using your lower leg to lift yourself out of your saddle. This will tip you forward and make your heels pop up and if the horse hesitates or slows down/speeds up you will fall forward/backwards but its mostly always forward. Your hips should be doing the work not your legs. If you can post with stirrups you should be able to do it without them.

To prove this point to my students once they get the rising trot to show them if they are doing properly I bring a piece of paper and cut it and half and write their names on them then place them under their knees. I then ask them to trot around the arena posting. Students that have an especially hard time with this get 5$ bills instead of pieces of paper. If they can keep them they keep the $$ so it really motivates them. If they keep falling out thats all we work on for the lesson until they get it.

Youtube also has some very helpful videos on people learning to trot.
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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by Cyndi on Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:22 am

Click, click, click, it's starting to make sense! Smile When people in here describe something that will happen if I do 'this' or 'that', it is exactly what is happening to me! Like your comment about tipping forward and the horse hesitating or slowing down/speeding up, making me tip forward even more. That's what happened last week! I must be using my lower leg without even noticing. In my first lesson, the instructor was telling me to use my knees to help myself rise in the trot. In a chair position I was able to do that and I felt better. The horse I was on that morning had a lot of 'go', so she didn't hesitate. The big fella I had last week kept stopping and I'd fall forward, as I didn't have that chair seat as much.

So it's okay to squeeze my upper leg, right? It's the inside of my upper thigh that is doing the work, not so much the knee? Just sitting here, I'm trying to do the right movement. If I tighten my butt and "slide" my pelvis slightly forward in a rhythm like I'm trotting, my thighs automatically tighten up. Am I on the right track here? I struggle with the whole 'tightening' the butt muscles thing because of being told or reading about how tightening those muscles will make the horse think you want to go faster, or does that only apply to the legs?

Thanks for your patience with all this!

Oh, I should try putting money under my leg! Hmm...maybe I should put the money for my lessons there. If it falls out, he gets to keep it, but if it stays, I get to keep it. LOL What motivation!

~C~
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Cyndi

Posts : 780
Join date : 2008-08-09
Location : Ontario, Canada

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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

Post by mazrush on Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:19 am

Hi cyndi
a few years ago I had a horrible ankle injury which made riding very difficult. It was just a few weeks before a dressage championship I'd qualified for. I really wanted the chance to ride in an arena with flowers round and it was a big thing for me to have qualified. I developed a way of riding to protect my ankle which sounds a lot like the problems you are having. I tipped on to my knees everso slightly and overtime I had real problems dropping my right heel. Unfortunately at the competition there was a company making DVDs of the competitors and my husband thought it would be a nice memento. Now I have my bad leg position imortalized. (my pony looks ok, if a bit lazy)
All I wanted to tell you is that I spent a lot of my off-horse time working on my bad ankle as people can tell you to drop your heels or lengthen your leg (my friend who teaches me used to say that every few seconds) but if the muscles can't do it it won't happen. I consciously put the back of my heels down when I walk uphill, along corridors, anywhere. I also put one leg infront of the other and then reach down and put the palms of my hands on the floor and these two things hve made a real difference to my ability to keep my heels down when I ride without concentrating on doing it as the muscles up the back of my lower leg have now stetched back to their original position.
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mazrush

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Re: What type of saddle do you use!

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