This week, this question came up: “What does deepen your seat mean?”

Now, that’s a GREAT question.

That’s what this podcast is all about.

Our seat is the most fundamental part of our riding, and it is multi-dimensional. It is our most direct line of cueing and communication with a horse. It is the center of our balance. And when our body is aligned, our limbs are loose, and we are focused; it’s as if we are one with a horse.

When we understand all that’s involved with our seat, we can continue to develop this means of communication with our horse for a lifetime.

1. Experiencing your seat in unison with your horse…

    • Expand the concept of “seat” to mean the lower trunk of the body.

    • The hip bones are aligned with the shoulders and down to the ankles for much of the time in the saddle.

    • When a horse is moving, our seat moves in a variety of ways and rhythms with a horse (depending on the gait, speed, situation, etc.).

2. Use your seat proactively with your eyes and breath for…

    • Slowing down

    • Stopping

    • Speeding up

    • Turning

    • Smoothness in all maneuvers

3. How-to reminders:

    • Keep your body loose

    • Give your horse time to feel your seat

    • Go to your seat/eyes/breath first for communications and transitions

    • Legs/feet come next as cues

    • Hands are used as support last

Before I go, I want to remind you that learning a new skill or deepening a skill has many layers.

First, you learn what you want to do and why it’s important. In this case, we’re talking about riding with an active consciousness of your seat because it is the most direct line of communication with your horse; it is how you develop feel, and it can help you stay calm and focused on the inside as you stay softly anchored in the saddle.

But here’s another critical point. It’s not just understanding what we’re doing and why it’s important that allows you to grow a skill. It’s the practice of the new behavior day-in and day-out and refining your technique indefinitely.

You come to any riding session with your own positive behaviors as well as things you need to improve – and so does your horse.

This is the spot where many people neglect cultivating a skill to higher levels. If they only understand that a behavior is important but don’t really practice it strategically over time, they return to their default skill levels – for better or worse. No true progress is made.

In the case of developing more feel through our seat, it’s easy to want to move on to more complex maneuvers and just assume that we know about our seats and what to do.


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