Image: Copyright © Ajit Chouhan http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajitchouhan/6746056725/lightbox/
Improving your riding seat will make you a better rider, help you horse better understand you, and give you goals to work toward. Here are some great tips for improving your seat.
Take some riding lessons from an experienced rider or trainer. Even if you have already taken lessons some fresh teaching won’t hurt. Also try to take lessons from several different trainers at a time if you can. Every instructor has their own method of teaching and each one can show you something different. Be sure to tell your instructors you want to improve your seat, and ask them for exercises you can do on your own. If you can’t take lessons right away, ask another experienced rider or friend to watch you ride and give you pointers on improving your seat.
Take a video camera out with you and ask a friend to tape you while you ride, or set it up on a tripod. Watch yourself later and see what things you can do to improve your riding. Some indoor arenas have mirrors for this same purpose. Before using a mirror, make sure your horse is used to it and will not spook when he sees his reflection. Keep a log after each time you ride on the things you want to improve. Work on balance
Do everything you can to become more balanced. When you are balanced, your seat will improve. Ask someone to lunge your horse while you ride. Because you don’t have to worry about controlling your horse, you can work on improving your seat. Try balancing without stirrups, with your arms up, or your arms to the side. Ask the person longing to change gaits, stop,and turn your horse when you ask. This way, you can achieve balance at all speeds and directions. If possible, ride your horse bareback. bareback riding is one of the best exercises to improve your balance. Work on some non-equestrian balance. Things like yoga, ice skating, roller blading, skate boarding, and other balance-focused sports can help you become more balanced when you ride.
Get good feel
Developing good feel and timing is mandatory when developing a better seat. Work on some exercises in an enclosed arena with your eyes closed. Try to feel the horse at all gaits. Soon you will be able to feel when each hoof hits the ground. This will give you better timing for your seat. Do things like picking up a posting diagonal without looking down. Post a few strides then look down to see if you were correct. Ask your horse to canter and try to feel the lead he is on. Lunging exercises are also great for developing feel and timing.
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