Why Sitting Up Straight Is Making Your Seat Ineffective

You’ve been taught to sit up straight since you first set foot in the stirrup. Eyes up, shoulders back, heels down- we’ve all heard it til we can repeat it in our sleep. But being put into a rigid posture actually creates more problems than it solves.

This rider has been struggling with her horses tight shoulders and back. In order to help her horse, we need to help her seat. We have been working on having an effective seat, which is one that is deep, supple, and can follow and absorb motion.

In the first photo, the rider is “sitting up straight.” She has her shoulders back. Her crotch has more connection with the saddle, which causes her seat bones to tilt back, and makes her low back arch. Because of this, her core is completely unable to engage.

In the second photo, she has relaxed through her low back. Because her low back is now flat, her seat bones are able to connect with the saddle and consequently her horses’ back. Her core is in a position to be able to engage. Her hands can follow softly, her legs can hang without tightness, and she can absorb her horses motion without interfering.

Now, she can help her horse have better shoulder freedom and lift in her back by not blocking the movement, and being able to affect it better.

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