Training Tip Tuesday - Are Your Stirrups Helping Or Hindering Your Seat?
Developing our seat is a life long endeavor! Even the best riders can improve their seat by practicing and focusing on staying soft and quiet as they ride. When teaching students how to ride, I always emphasize how we should use our stirrups to help maintain balance and position. Stirrups shouldn’t take away from a soft and quiet seat.
Our human instinct is to press on the stirrup bar as though it was a brake pedal. You get the picture; the horse gets faster and our foot wants to slow it down. If you allow your foot to press hard while the horse is picking up speed, your seat is going to raise out of the saddle. You’ll probably find yourself smacking the saddle with your seat.
With practice, you can find security in your seat as it lightly polishes the saddle. Keep your leg stretched long, flex your ankle to keep your toes up and your heels down to create a relaxed foundation for your seat. I use my stirrup bar firmly only when I find myself in a tough spot during a speed maneuver that challenges my balance. In these times, I use pressure on my stirrup bar to overcome gravity, you might say. 98% of the time I am applying only light pressure to my stirrup bar so that I am not pushing my seat up and out of the saddle. Keep this in mind as you ride. A soft and quiet seat will really help your effort to become one with the horse.