How do you stay in the saddle?

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daddyfid
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How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by daddyfid » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:57 pm

I am a beginner rider and need some help/advice on how to stay in the saddle when my horse gets into a rough gate or turns sharper than expected. My horse is great but I seem to be not real secure in the saddle. I have had a few other more experienced individuals ride my horses and they make it look so easy. They do sharp figure eights during warm up and they look like they could do them and drink coffee of the horse at the same time. When I try them I seem to about slide off the horse. Would the saddle make a difference? I am riding a M&W trooper saddle. I know experience has a lot to do with it but any suggestions/advice would be great.

Thanks,
Brian

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by kninebirddog » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:21 pm

if you can I would suggest you get some riding lessons
so a person can see how your riding to be better able to tell you what you need to do...
With out seeing what your doing to get out of balance or timing.
or if you cuing your horse which causes the to sharp of turn

and if you know someone with a very nice horse a great way to learn and gain balance is to ride bareback in an arena
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by EddieF » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:40 am

I am just starting to learn how to ride, so I can't really help. But I will say that I know what you mean about other people making it look easy. This video is from my fourth lesson, I've never ridden before these lessons. So this canter, is barely a canter. I couldn't believe when I saw the video, I FELT like I was going about five times faster than this!! I watch it and I am amazed at the difference between how I perceive what I'm doing and what I am actually doing.

But each time I get a little more comfortable with what I learned in the previous lesson. At first I couldn't really let go of the horn at a trot, then I 'graduated' to only using it to steady myself at the canter.

Anyway, my wife, who rides a lot (English) as we start shopping for a saddle keeps talking about a suede seat because it's 'sticky.' I don't know anything about Trooper saddles, but what is the seat made of?

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by tenbearsviz » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:05 am

Lessons and saddle time... Pretty straight forward.

You aren't secure because you are using a whole different set of muscles. Saddle time will help develop those.

Find someone to correct you and to help you keep your horse in a gait. Gaited horses will get lazy at your expense and keeping you smooth is a lower priority to them.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by ezzy333 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:43 am

Use your legs. Thats why we have stirrups.
Bet it will help.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by Karen » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:03 am

When I first started riding, I rode without stirrups a lot. This forces you to sit deeper in the saddle than you normally would with stirrups and really improves your balance. If you have an enclosed area to ride in, work on riding without stirrups at a dog walk first, and once you think you're comfortable maneuvering at that speed, try it at a flat walk. This is probably not the right exercise for a beginner if your horse doesn't have good brakes...but as long as you can stop him if you get off balance, you should be fine. Another thing you can do is lengthen your stirrups a bit. Not quite as effective as riding without stirrups, but a lot of people ride with them too short, and then brace in them, which messes up your balance.

Just some ideas.
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by Brittguy » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:28 am

Your stirrups may be adjusted too long.Don't adjust them so much that your legs are bent a lot , that will give you leg cramps after you ride awhile. When sitting in the saddle you should be able to stand up in the stirrups and have space between you and the saddle.That way when the horse turns sharp to the left your left leg will press into the stirrup and keep you secure.You will find it helpful to be able to lift out of the saddle just a little bit at other times like maybe when he comes down after jumping a ditch or he starts a rough trot.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by shags » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:56 am

Ditto on the lessons; they really help. In the meantime imagine your body is a sack of jello with bones. Let yourselfrelax and settle into the horse - that's the jello part - but arrange the bones properly. A lot of beginner guys sit in a protective way that isn't relaxed or well-balanced.
You might want to try a different saddle with a deep close contact (to the horse) seat to make you feel more secure. Just make sure it fits the horse.
Ride as much as you can in a safe non-scary environment, and pretty soon you'll be more confident.
Good luck to you.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by brookzee » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:42 am

keep your heels down, thats what my daddy always told me anyway.
you just need to start slow and progress as you are more confident. you also need a horse that will allow you to do this. a saddle with a balanced ride will be easier for you to ride in. i say balanced ride meaning a saddle that lets you hang your legs forward,hard for me to explain without showing you. when you get the oppurtunity , you should sit in other saddles and on other horses, to help you figure out what is best for you, thats where a few lessons may help. congrats on the new horse and just take it slow and enjoy yourself.
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by daddyfid » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:16 am

Thanks for the great input!

When adjusting stirrups, how much space should there be between the saddle and you butt when standing up?

Does anyone know if western saddles are easier to stay in than troopers?

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by rockllews » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:27 am

Heels down, sit deep. Don't rely on your stirrups... you need to develop balance and it's all in the seat. An instructor would be a great asset- they've got all sorts of exercises up their sleeves to help develop balance. Like one said, if you're horse is okay with it, practice riding without stirrups (in a round pen or safe arena type setting). Even better, start riding bareback (with a bareback pad if necessary). You will learn to balance without relying on your legs/stirrups. Practice riding with your arms in an airplane position, vertical, down, etc, with/without someone lunging the horse- this will help decrease any dependence on your hands/reins for balance. Also, don't ride too "forward." I've been dumped once because of an insecure seat when I lost a stirrup at the canter- had I been sitting deeper in the saddle (all-purpose English), I'd have been fine....

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by aylaschamp » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:28 am

The saddle you have chosen is comfortable enough but leaves very little to grip on to if you aren't sure which muscles to use. Having said that your inner thighs and upper calves are what keep you on the horse. There is a saying used quite commonly "Horses are a rich mans thigh master" After you ride if your inner thighs aren't sore then you aren't using the right muscles. Your saddle is much like an English saddle so its very important that you are sitting up balancing yourself. If you were dangling a fish weight on a line from your ear lobe down to your foot you should have a straight shot. That line should from from your ear,shoulder, down your torso, hip, just behind your knee down your calf and to the ball of your foot. Also make sure you are looking exactly where you are going, if you want your horse to turn, first turn with your head and shoulders, this will not only prepare you physically for the turn but also que your horse with your seat. Many people try to sit back on their butts which can be more comfortable but takes your ability to balance away and in a saddle like yours that's not going to help you at all. Where you hold your hands its also a factor if you have your hands too high or too low that will also take away from your balance. So with your hands you want them just above the horses lower neck/wither area, no more than an inch or two off the horses neck but not touching or below that area. With the saddle you are using I would suggest taking not just lessons but English lessons since that is the type of saddle that is most similar to your own. Another thing you might also want to consider is trying a western saddle. The upside of a western saddle is the added security, the down side are they are heavy and very hard to get out of should you ever need to get out of it quickly.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by kninebirddog » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:40 am

with your stuirrups you want you legs bent just enough so you can post with out launching you out of the saddle to much gets you riding in front of the action of the horse

you do want to be on your packets
if you sit to straight again this will get you in front of the action of the horse making your jar to much and get out of timing

a few lessons from someone will be the best thing they can show you how to adjust your stirrups and also alert you when your body is getting to ridgid and what to do to get in back

many new people try to hard to balance with the legs instead of the body and when they get nervous clamp down on the horse with the legs then try to balance with the reins

these are all things which cause rear ups as clamping with the legs is a cue for the horse to move forward and then when your balancing and pulling back on the reins which is a cue for the horse to stop at the same time next thing horse is going up ..this is a wosrt case senario
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by R-Heaton » Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:16 pm

Yea,,,,I'm with everybody else its just going to take time and practice. I have always been a big believer in riding bareback, it will make you a better rider. To answer one of your question,,, when I stand up in the stirrups I can barely fit my hand between the saddle and my unmentionables.

One thing about being a new rider is you have no bad habits,,,, if I were you I would just go to riding bareback for the winter. Its kinda of the Karate Kid "Wax on Wax off" method. You ride bareback for a while and bruise up your family jewels and cramp your thighs up a few times and you self teach yourself whats the most comfortable way to sit and stay on. Then when you go back to a saddle,,,, it will be a cake walk for ya.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by tenbearsviz » Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:17 pm

daddyfid wrote:Does anyone know if western saddles are easier to stay in than troopers?
Daddyfid,

Many troopers suspend the rider above the horse. This will raise your center of gravity and make you feel somewhat top heavy. Westerns keep you lower and more in contact with the horse.

I recently sold my Haggis trooper and changed to a western due to poor fit on my new horse. I loved the trooper because it made up for some bounce with a trotty horse but hated the extra lift. The new horse is like riding a motercycle so trottyness isn't an issue any more.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by MOOSE » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:14 pm

I havn't read all the posts on this thread. But first Eddie you look you are doing great. LET GO OF THE SADDLE!

That is coming from the lesson person in me. I gave lessons for about 5 years to beginers. If you are new to riding riding takes many muscles that one doesn't even realize they have. You can do some home exercises to help you out. Go to a set of stairs and let your heel drop down and stretch out that calf muscle. That is going to be your life savior in the end.

I am going to try and describe this the best I can but it may not be the best.....

To get the idea of sitting deep in your saddle sit up straight in a chair. You probably will feel a hollow part in your lower back(where a lumbar would go on a lumbar chair).Start by bringing your belly button toward your sping so it pushes that hollow in your back out and sit push that momentum down into your hips. Your upper back and shoulders should still be in this corect posture position. But that is the feeling of "rolling your hips" to get a nice deep seet. Then transfer that over to sitting on your horse. But as you roll your hips into that deep seat also point your heals down til you think you can't push them down any further. This will extend your leg and help you become even more deep in your saddle. The more you work at it the better you will become. When I measure my stir-ups I take the bottom of them and put it in my arm pit than reach up to the saddle and the area of the leather from the seat of the saddle that starts to cover the stirup (fender) will fall right in the middle of my hand if my stirups are the right lenght. This is a key as well.

You will get soar you will get frustrated but keep practicing. Also ask your instructor to give you a 10-15 minute bareback walk only lesson. This will really help build your core muscles of your stomach and back along with really help you feel how the horse moves. With big bulky western saddles it is sooooo hard to really feel the horse move. The more you understand how your horse is moving the easier it is as well to adjust to their movements. Even riding at a walk bareback will help you A LOT!

Letting go of the saddle will force you to work those muscles you need for balance. If you hold on to the saddle you are not making your legs work and your core work. You are taking all your body balance into your hand. Another good exercise is to put the horse on a lunge line with your instructor being the one who is lunging. You then ride with no reins and your hands poitning straight out (like on a balance beam) you work first at a walk until you feel balanced and then eventualy move up to the trot and to the canter. I also always made my students ride with no stir-ups so they had to use their entire body to stay in the saddle. Too many people rely on the stirups and in the worst situations the only thing that is going to save you is the bond with your horse and knowing how he thinks, moves and acts and your balance and ability to ride with your horse....

hmmm... maybe I should go back into giving lessons ;-)
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by rockllews » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:52 pm

Beth, It sounds like you use a lot of the exercises/methods my instuctor uses. I started riding at her barn in 3rd grade just basic western... never rode in a saddle once for about two years in lessons with her. (My grandma's horse I grew up on was only ridden bareback, too.) Then I went back to lessons with her when my TB was ready for riding a few years ago; I wanted to go English with him, so I was starting fresh.

Sitting deep in the saddle : KEY and you explained it well. I can still hear her encouraging "Sit! Sit! Sit!" when I'd be out of position and unbalanced.

Other things I'd constantly hear in lessons "Heels down. Elbows bent. Not too forward." My poor mentor had to nag me like crazy! The occasional "toes in."

Knine explained the dependence on legs well too- it is sending huge mixed signals to the horse when it's going too fast for your comfort, you're squeezing your calves and thighs, yet pulling on the reins and saying easy/whoa....

Sound advice folks. :D

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by RayGubernat » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:10 am

daddyfid-

I ride a Tucker and it is similar to an M & W. M & W is a first class trooper style saddle . If anything the Tucker is a little higher off the horse's back. I am a lousy rider , so I will not give you any other advice except to say that if the saddle you have now fits you and fits the horse...stick with it and get used to it.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by EddieF » Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:56 am

MOOSE wrote:I havn't read all the posts on this thread. But first Eddie you look you are doing great. LET GO OF THE SADDLE!
I know! I will! But that's how it's been going. Holding on the first time I got on a horse and walked. Then next lesson, letting go at the walk and holding on at the trot. Then letting go at the trot and holding on at the canter. So I'll get there!

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by MOOSE » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:54 am

Eddie I wasn't yelling at ya. I should have put a smiley behind that. You have no idea how many times I was teaching a class of 10 kids and had to holler across the arena with a smile on my face to LET GO OF THE SADDLE! LOL :-) You are doing great!
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by Karen » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:58 am

MOOSE wrote:Eddie I wasn't yelling at ya. I should have put a smiley behind that. You have no idea how many times I was teaching a class of 10 kids and had to holler across the arena with a smile on my face to LET GO OF THE SADDLE! LOL :-) You are doing great!
That's too funny! I rode with friends a year or so ago who threatened to duct tape my left hand to my thigh so I'd stop grabbing at the saddle.
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by EddieF » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:24 am

The guy who is teaching me has to get tired of saying the same old things. "Heels down!" "Look up!" I stare at the back of the horse's head like there's information there.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by RayGubernat » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:40 am

EddieF -

Try raising your sights just a little. If you make a habit of looking out between the horse's ears, out in front of the horse, you will see much of what the horse sees and be more dialed into the horse's movements. I got that little gem from one of the RFDTV horse trainer programs. It has worked for me.

I guess it works sorta like wingshooting where you look out beyond the bead front sight concentrating and focusing on the bird with the sight kinda fuzzy in the foreground.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by MOOSE » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:36 am

YES looking up and beyond where you are riding to where you are going will really help with your balance as well. It is kind of like looking at your toes when you walk. You would fall over a lot! :-) You need to look where you are going.
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by rockllews » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:19 pm

EddieF wrote:The guy who is teaching me has to get tired of saying the same old things. "Heels down!" "Look up!" I stare at the back of the horse's head like there's information there.
Don't worry! He's used to it! :wink:

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by hustonmc » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:42 pm

I laughed reading this because I've been riding for 20 years and realized, I don't know how to ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now mind you my riding includes sitting on a mule as I navigate my way up a narrow trail on a steep mountain side miles from nowhere with a pack mule behind me. I was always taught to keep pressure in the stirrups so if they took a quick crow hop or jumped sideways 10ft you just have to stand in the saddle and reach for more reins. Actually when I was 16 I broke a mule colt out from start to finish, she is the mule I use to this day. I guess it's like saying you have a great hunting dog that you kill tons of birds over but just holds point long enough to get within shooting distance then off to the races, still a good hunting dog but not a "broke" dog. My mule is perfect for what I do but if someone that actually knew how to ride would probably laugh so hard they'd fall off, which would hurt because she's 16-2. I'm going to have to try some of this stuff, I guess if I've gotten by this long why change, yet it might come in handy some day.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by Jmackk » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:31 pm

Hustonmc, I know people are going to yell at me for this, BUT if thats how you ride, and you are comfortable and in controle, dont change. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and yes there is a proper way to ride. But if that horse, mule in this case, knows how you ride and is fine with is, then dont change. People are all tought to ride the same way, so that anyone can ride anyones horse. If you have millions of people wo ride differently it will confuse the heck out of the horse. So, just think of it this way, you have a custom ride :mrgreen:

And I would not recomend sitting up straight in a Weastern Saddle. Lean back and tuck your butt under you,(dont exagerate it, just a little) this will lower you center of gravity. Leaning forward tells the horse to go, the more you lean formard the more you give him the idea to go, since you lean forward the faster you ride. And yes you should be able to ride without stirups and with relaxed legs. Its practice more than anything.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by lightonthebay » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:36 am

Brian, practice and enjoy, keep your mind at peace and "let the force be with you". Following the advice of the horsemen (that includes women of course) on this site will also help tremendously. If you keep at it, soon you will have the reigns in your teeth, a winchester in one hand and a colt in the other while blazing away at evil doers.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by CherrystoneWeims » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:27 am

My advice to beginner riders-

Do your darndest to find an instructor who is a Dressage rider/instructor. They will teach you the proper way to use your seat, legs, and hands. They will also teach you to ride in an ENGLISH saddle. To me that is the best way to learn to ride. You will have closer contact with the horse and learn to use your seat correctly. A good rider uses their seat more than anything else to control the horse.

An English saddle also won't get you into the habit of grabbing on to the saddle because there really isn't anything to grab onto! One of the worst habits is grabbing the saddle. What do you do if the girth slips?? If anything else the thing to grab is MANE!!

I rode a lot of Dressage growing up and in college. It was one of the best foundations for riding pretty much any horse and taught me to be very secure in the saddle no matter what kind of saddle I am in. My instructor would start out EVERY lesson with no stirrups. I also was made to ride blindfolded (even jumping!!) with no hands when I got to be a better rider. Pretty scary but a great learning experience!
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by Jmackk » Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:21 pm

Cherry, I do agree with you that you learn more in an english saddle, I am currently learning to ride english. Its a requirment were I work, everyone there ether know or will know how to ride english and western. I could already ride western so they gave me the job, but I have to put in extra hours learning to ride english. Honestly I would not put a beggining rider in an english saddle, because it is more difficult than western. Everyone who learns to ride out here is put in a western saddle for at least the first two ride so they can get there barrings. But you do learn more from english than wester, I think its best to know both.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by ezzy333 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:05 pm

We learned as kids without a saddle. Dad made us ride for several years bareback. He was always afraid we would get hungup in the stirups. Bit it is a great way to learn. We went from ponies to horses and then to steers and bulls. It will always be an important part of our childhood. We capped it off by getting 40 broncos shipped in and breaking them all to ride before selling them. I should be honset though and admit we only broke 39 of them as an older mare they snuck in was never broke and she stayed and raised some nice foals.

My advise is just get on an spend the time getting comfortable. It will happen pretty quickly.

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by Kiki's Mom » Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:03 am

Daddyfid.....

A quick way to get a close adjustment to your stirrup length is to place your hand flat on the middle of the saddle seat and pull the stirrup up to your armpit/shoulder. This will get the gneral range of length you need for proper fit. You may need to adjust it by a hole either up or down from there but you will be close.

Go ahead and treat yourself and get yourself some riding lessons, you will be glad that you did. Karen's suggestion of riding without your stirrups in a confined place is right on. When you can comfortably sit through the all the gait changes WITHOUT your stirrups you will have mastered the techniques you need to be a competent rider. :wink: :wink: :wink:

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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by rockllews » Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:35 pm

I started out bareback, too. For about ten years that's all I rode, and I know it's been a great help in my balance and seat when riding English now. That's how my instructor starts all her students, too. (Well, not 100% bareback but with a stirrup-less bareback pad.)

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TEX-X
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by TEX-X » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:05 pm

just ride....you come off enough times you'll learn to stay in the saddle.....i did...I even did a wild mare race a few years ago and was still stuck to the saddle as it slid under the horses belly

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SHOWTIME
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by SHOWTIME » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:12 pm

Anyone who is starting or would like to better their abbilities should listen to Karen on page 1. Loose the stirrups all together when recreational riding. I have participated in all rough stock rodeo events at some point in the last for years and now still competively ride bareback horses and whenever I fall into a slump it is due to lack of timing 99% of the time. The first thing I do when I am not riding well is get out the old ranch horse and ride her bareback or in a saddle without stirrups so I can feel the movement and get back into my timing and SETTING THE HORSE NOT THE SADDLE.
{~ITSINTHEBLOOD~}

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ezzy333
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by ezzy333 » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:41 pm

Brings back memories of the hour I have ridden bareback because my Dad wouldn't let us have a saddle that we might get caught in. I hated it because you would get soaked with sweat if it was warm while working the horses. But it sure taught us how to ride.

Ezzy
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=144
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=207

It's not how many breaths you have taken but how many times it has been taken away!

Has anyone noticed common sense isn't very common anymore.

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Ruffshooter
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by Ruffshooter » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:24 am

Okay, here is a stupid question from one that rode a horse once that decided to go to the barn instead of finishing my ride. :oops:

How do you get on the horse when you are not in good shape with no stirrups? :oops:
The best part of training is seeing the light come on in your little prot'eg'e.

Rick

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ezzy333
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by ezzy333 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:31 am

Get the horse up next to something you can stand on. But there are not many places like that when you are in the field. Probably best bet is stick with a shetland pony. :lol: :lol:

Ezzy
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=144
http://www.perfectpedigrees.com/4genview.php?id=207

It's not how many breaths you have taken but how many times it has been taken away!

Has anyone noticed common sense isn't very common anymore.

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Ruffshooter
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Re: How do you stay in the saddle?

Post by Ruffshooter » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:45 am

I had one of those throw me when I was a kid and she was either fat or pregnent. :oops:

I figure maybe I would need to get in shape to do the hillbilly tail jump like on those westerns.

I keep looking at these horse threads and watching my step daughter riding her three gated in competitions and watching the horses at the stable pasture down the road and then the horse back trials sound like a ball. All pulling me, towards a horse some day. But, then my wife slaps me and I stop thinking of it for a while. :wink:
The best part of training is seeing the light come on in your little prot'eg'e.

Rick

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