Men Riding English

This group is established to offer friendship, support, advice and encouragement to what seems to be a minority - men riding in the English disciplines.

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Latest Activity: Jan 28, 2014

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Comment by John Freeman on June 29, 2012 at 12:46pm

Good on you Jackie. Belly dancing? I haven't heard that one but I was advised to channel salsa for the sitting trot. It works!

Comment by Jackie Cochran on June 29, 2012 at 12:41pm

The "duck bum" posture and caved-in back (not too much) was developed for the Forward Seat jumping/galloping position (the seat bones just above the saddle), the rider's butt serves as a counter balance to the rider's forward inclining head, shoulders and chest.  The slightly caved-in back helps keep the heels and knees down when galloping over uneven ground and jumping.  This is why you see them in Kournakoff''s book. his book is about the pure Forward Seat.  The Forward Seat was developed for crossing country at speed jumping obstacles by a cavalry man (Federico Caprilli) in Italy.

The neutral pelvis is good, good, good for when you sit in the saddle for slow gaits and for collection, and it is a very good to get that feel now.  Just remember that your neutral pelvis will be moving some to keep the seat bones in the saddle as one side of the horse's back rises while the other side sinks, and your seat bones will also have a little side-to-side movement combined with alternating forward (rising and out to the side) and back (sinking and moving "in") movement.  It sounds complicated I know.  Remember to breath as you move, holding your breath will stiffen up your whole body.

The swing idea is excellent.  I always told people learning to sit the canter to pretend that their pelvis was an ice-cream scoop, practicing your swing in the playground is exactly the same movement.  I also recommend doing belly dancing exercises, you do not have to move as much as belly dancers, but it will help teach you to move your pelvis in all directions, side to side, front to back, and one side forward, one side back alternating, something that can help with the sitting trot and to prevent "friction burns" on the seat bones at the walk and sitting trot.

Give yourself TIME, learning to ride is not a race.  Ride as often as you can, breathe, listen to your horse, and it WILL come.  Hey, I learned to ride with undiagnosed active MS, it just took me a lot longer than most people.  The key is to never give up. 

Comment by Christopher Koth on June 29, 2012 at 11:45am
Um, To clarify, I am taking little Levi to the swings so he can enjoy the swings, I'll focus on my seating motion on my own. No need to share that! :-))
Comment by Christopher Koth on June 29, 2012 at 11:42am
Thanks as always to you all for this great forum. I haven't been to a playground for many years but I am taking my 7 month old charge there today to get connected with the motions for the pelvis. Indeed I was thinking that a duck bum posture was the aim, but it makes so much more natural sense to me to use my pelvis to go with the motion of the horse. Now to bundle this little guy up for a trip to the swing set. GREAT feedback and advice everyone!
Comment by Christopher Hyams on June 28, 2012 at 6:43pm

Yep, 4 fingers in an all purpose saddle, a whole hands width in a forward seat saddle. An execise to remind you (you already know) how to "neutralize" your lower spine at canter. Go out to a  kids playground and find a swing set. Sit in the swing and do it, smoothly, get back in touch with that part of your body the "pumps" or does not pump, feel THAT posture, and also how powerful is the result of a minor change in tension, relaxation, push and release. close your epyes. Just let yourself feel it. Then, astride, having found how to and how to not use those muscles, let them move with the horse, in rhythm. Later on, when you are developing contact, later yet, the half may want to go back to the playground again before you experiment with using that muscle group to communicate a horse. 

Comment by Geoffrey Pannell on June 28, 2012 at 6:26pm

A couple of things that might help, make sure you are riding with a neutrel pelvis. Quite often novices ride with what I call " a ducks bum" it's when your pelvis collapses and your bum pokes out the back and your back is concave. Feel like your sliding your bum froward and lifting your "boys" up, this will get your pelvis neutrel and strenghten your position.

Good advice from John, although I would go 4 fingers from cantle to bum.

Cheers Geoffrey

Comment by Christopher Koth on June 28, 2012 at 9:22am

Geoffrey, I feel affirmed!  LOL   Well, the mystery has been solved. I was riding last evening and the saddle was indeed too small. But, they have another  that felt a lot better, for the horse and me (he's so very patient, I have to say).  I'm 5'11'' with a tall torso and shorter legs and I have located the proper length for the stirrups I'm using with this new saddle. The next step seems to be about learning to achieve that balance and seat properly, while also learning the rhythm of working with Winchester and the way he moves. Now, I think I can work on that canter transition a little more comfortably. Phew! Thanks so much all, I'm learning a lot through this. Don't you love a novice?

Comment by John Freeman on June 28, 2012 at 9:07am

Maybe more importantly, Christopher, how long are your legs? If they are putting you on a saddle used for teaching young riders, it most likely is too small for you. Its definitely of utmost importance that the saddle fits the horse, but if its too small for you, not only will it make you uncomfortable, but it will impact your ability to ride properly and could cause discomfort for the horse  as well due, to the impossibility of your sitting deep in the middle of the saddle. You need to be able to fit at least two fingers width between your butt and the cantle (back of the saddle).

Comment by Geoffrey Pannell on June 27, 2012 at 11:40pm

So, the next question is, how tall are you? Saddles are fitted to the horse , first and foremost. It is very improtant that the rider has a fitting saddle as well. I'm 5'9" my saddles are 17.5". Any smaller and yes, I have trouble with my manly bits!

Cheers geoffrey

Comment by Michael Saliba on June 27, 2012 at 8:52pm

Horse first, rider second.  It's not often you'll find a place fit a saddle to you if you're only riding once a week


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