Chair Seat to Classical Seat

Riding For Women

Dec 09

Why is the “chair seat” so familiar and the “classical seat” so elusive?

Rider in chair seatHorse - Piaffe silotte

Familiar indicates a habit, and habit comes from a long line of possibilities such as human nature, cultural (being told that a stiff back is standing up straight), self-image (wanting to seem taller or shorter)... . Yet the one thing that all of these possibilities create is unbalance, and to keep from falling other habits are created.

As an example, sit on a stool with your feet on the floor, and

make yourself taller. Do you feel more or less balanced, and what do you do to keep yourself upright? If it is unclear do more of what you are doing to make yourself tall until you notice a difference. Now imagine riding this way.

Now,

make yourself smaller. Do you feel more or less balanced, and what do you do to keep yourself upright? If it is unclear do more of what you are doing to make yourself smaller until you notice a difference. Now imagine riding this way.

Perhaps one of these seems familiar to you – if so, this is your habit and balance.

So here we are, wanting to ride with a “classical seat,” and finding it difficult to maintain. Or that it is easy to maintain until a bobble arises then – whoops, right back to “chair seat.”

The reason is your sense of balance remains calibrated to the “chair seat,” it has not recalibrated to the “classical seat.” So when the bobble arises you automatically go to the balance you are familiar with – the “chair seat.”

So what to do? Give your central nervous system the opportunity to recalibrate. How?

On the horse, sit in “chair seat” and do what you did on the stool, i.e., make yourself taller then smaller, and notice the effect each has on your balance. Sit in the “classical seat” and do the same. Now compare what you felt between the two “seats.”

Ride in the “chair seat” and imagine a bobble (your horse trips, speeds up, spooks…), and notice how you balance yourself, for instance, perhaps you tighten in the hips, wrap your legs around your horse, or grab the reins….

Now, ride in the “classical seat” and imagine the same bobble and notice the moment you switch to your “chair seat” balance. Go back and forth like this, and at each bobble in the “classical seat” begin to recalibrate your balance, i.e., instead of tightening your hips let them stay free, instead of wrapping your legs around your horse let them continue to drape down, instead of grabbing the reins let your hands stay neutral… this awareness, done on the horse or in your imagination, is the sensory information your brain and nervous system needs to recalibrate your balance.

Spend a few minutes each time you ride exploring your seat and balance this way, and soon a “classical seat” will be yours bobbles or no bobbles.

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