With your knees and toes going straight ahead, your thighs should be flat against the saddle. Be mindful that if your knees or toes are turned out, you are most likely grasping with your calves, which will not benefit your horse, regardless of disposition.
If you were to draw a picture of a perfect ride, the position of your legs would be at full stretch, with your heels just touching the horse's sides. However, in reality, it is very common for riders to have their feet touch the horse's side somewhere between their knee and ankle. This does not harm the horse, but it does mean that you do not have full control over your leg.
Generally, there are two types of seats: those where the rider sits upright and controls the horse with his/her legs, and those where the rider kneels on the ground and uses his/her hands to control the horse. The position of the legs determines which type of seat you are using. If you are sitting up right, then your thighs should be flat against the saddle, with your shins perpendicular to the horse's spine. Your feet should be pointed straight ahead, with the balls of your feet touching the horse's ribs. Your knees should be bent slightly, but not too far so that they are rubbing against the belly of the horse.
In this position, you are controlling the horse with your legs.
Maintain your weight center and balance by keeping your feet exactly behind your hips. Raise your seat slightly out of the saddle and, if required, grab the horse's mane for balance. Maintain a relaxed and open posture with your shoulders and chest elevated and open. Use your legs to control the horse - don't hold on too tightly or be afraid to let go sometimes.
Running horses often want to move forward so they can reach higher ground or avoid obstacles in their path. If this is the case with your run-of-the-mill farm horse, keep encouraging him with soft voices and soothing touches. The more comfortable he feels with you being around, the less likely it is that he will try to shy away from you.
If the horse you are riding does not want to stay put but keeps moving back up onto his hind legs when you run past him, stop suddenly. This will throw him off balance and cause him to fall back down to all fours. As soon as he has righted himself, continue with your journey.
Horses need time to recover between runs. If you make them work too hard at first they won't have enough energy left over for later. Keep this in mind when choosing which horses to ride daily. Only take those horses that seem ready to drop with fatigue after one run-out.
While riding, your legs should drop down from your hips, allowing you to stand "on your own two feet" if your horse wasn't there to support you. Goodnight's legs are relaxed and dangling slightly below her horse's cinch in Photo 1A. A straight line may be drawn across her ear, shoulder, hip, and heel. This is known as the trotter's line.
The more forward you can get your shoulders, the easier it will be to ride balanceably. In fact, most riders prefer not to reach for the reins with their hands; instead, they let their arms follow the movement of the horse's head. Doing this makes it easier to keep your seat and maintain your balance while still being able to see where you're going.
The closer your knees are to your chest, the more balanced you will be in the saddle. However, don't cross your ankles or hang them too low or you might find it difficult to steer effectively.
Your position is always being adjusted so that you can sit comfortably on your horse. If you feel stiff or sore, try moving around a bit. Perhaps you could bend one knee at a time or rock back and forth to help loosen up tight muscles.
Once you have found a position that works for you, stay in it! It's very important to find a balance between being close enough to your horse to be able to communicate with him but not so close that you become cramped up inside the saddle.
During a ride, your thighs will also feel the heat. "Pinching your legs together to apply pressure on the horse to improve pace or merely to stay mounted will also target the inner thighs," Turner noted. Over time, this can lead to pain, so it's important not to use this method of control if it causes you concern.
Horse riding can be good for your thighs in general. The weight of your body and the muscles that are used when riding a horse can help keep your bones strong as you age. Also, the constant movement of riding helps lower your risk of osteoporosis.
However, if you experience pain when riding, we recommend that you talk with your doctor about what options are available if you want to continue doing this activity. Maybe you can find another way to control your horse or adjust your position so that it's less painful.
Instead, at the canter, you should stretch your leg downward, allowing it to lay fairly freely at the horse's side. Calf muscles should be stretched and weight should be shifted to the heels. This should force your knees to lock less, allowing you to sit the canter more efficiently.
Move your hips in time with the canter. You want to move with the horse during cantering. The canter is a three-beat pace in which your hips should follow the swaying of your horse's back. The horse's inside and outer hips go up and down in fast succession during the canter.
1. Properly position the saddle on your horse's back. If you want to see how the saddle rests directly on your horse, don't use a saddle pad. Slide the saddle forward slightly on your horse's withers, then backward until it reaches the natural resting spot indicated by his shape. The saddle should not be too far forward or back; if it is, adjust it so that it fits properly.
2. Attach the straps. Loop the reins through the girth (the metal ring on either side of the saddle) and secure them near the horn. Then loop one strap over each shoulder and fasten the other ends together at the chest area.
3. Put the footrest on. Place the footrest under the opposite foreleg just behind the front leg. Move the footrest up or down as necessary to get it to fit correctly. Make sure it isn't too high or low; otherwise, your horse won't be able to reach its full range of motion with its legs.
4. Tighten the cinch. Pull the buckle tight enough so that when you release it, it clicks into place. This is called "cinching" the saddle down.
5. Mount from in back. Have someone help you mount from behind by grasping the tailbone area with both hands.