A balanced seat
‘Good attitude is most important. Good talent is second. George Morris’
A correct position requires the rider to sit in the best balance possible to allow the horse to perform the work and movements required without undue stress and strain.
This means that the rider must sit over the horse’s centre of balance, just behind the withers, more or less over the eighth rib. This is about the same place that would be comfortable if the rider were sitting bareback.
It’s important to note that the rider needs to sit square on the horse and not slip to one side, being level when viewed from the front or the back.
Given that most people’s own build is not symmetrical, often carrying weight more on one leg than the other, this is not easy but making riders aware of this problem can have its own difficulties.
The head of the rider and how they carry it above their shoulders can also have an effect on the overall balance. Riders who tend to look down to one side as they ride will upset their overall balance in both the horizontal and vertical plane. The rider looks straight ahead in the direction of travel, but if it is necessary to look down, this should be done with the eyes only.
The head should not be dropped nor pocked forward and the jaw should not be stiff.
On the horse the rider should be able to sit squarely in the centre of the saddle without undue tension and feel fairly balanced in order to follow the natural rhythmic movement of the horse, through their seat and hips.
This should allow the rider to be harmonious without undue extraneous movement of the limbs and torso.
The rider should try to maintain two simple straight lines through their position. First ear, shoulder, hip to heel, and second, elbow, hand, down the line of the rein to the horse’s mouth.
Their position should then be balanced over the horse’s natural centre of balance, and allow for development of their core stability. “No substitutes for time in the saddle, and there are no shortcuts”, George Morris.