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Improved poll for sitting position
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I would like to sit on my horse in position
   
   
   
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Pam
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 02:11 am
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Kathy, I think your horse's approval counts ALOT!!!!

Leah
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 Posted: Thu Jul 3rd, 2008 11:59 pm
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Dr Deb, you post on sitting position is simply outstanding. After reading it I have been very conscious of each of the elements of which you speak.

I had no idea that I was carrying some tension in my seat-not much but enough to count for sure.

Since letting loose of this area I finally feel 'at one' with my horses back...I honestly feel more stable than I have EVER felt on a horse.

I wish you would put this in a separate post to be easily accessed and linked for repeated readings!!!

David Genadek
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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 02:39 am
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Here are a few shots of a mold of a male and females behind so you can see the vaulted ceiling. These molds were made by sitting a rider on foam on the horse in the Jineta riding position.   Looking at the shapes you will see what Deb was talking about.  Also think in terms that the seat of your saddle should be the inverse of this shape for a Jineta seat.
First we talked about where to sit and now we are talking about how to sit. Debs wonderful description was assuming you wanted to ride Jineta but a similar description could be written for the Brida and Estradiota seats.  
Why is all this so important?
We talk lot about using energy to work your horse and for some that might seem a bit weird and way out there.  Here is a bridge concept that may help those of you that think this whole energy thing is a bit more than you can to deal with.  Horses understand a language of shape.  The purpose of ground work is to teach them the meaning of the shapes you will be putting your body in to ask for the shapes you want the horse to assume.  In the thread on Lunging Deb is talking about moving with the horse and having your feet in sync with the horse.  The horse is paying attention to your shape (they just do), and how it is changing.  You then transfer that teaching to the back. Your shape on top of the horse should be close to the same as your shape on the ground.  So this gives birth to some questions: What are the fundamental shapes you’re trying to teach a horse to assume on command? How doesthe shape change ?  What are the body shapes you need to be able to assume? In this line of thinking what would the pros and cons of the three seats be?   

David Genadek

Attachment: femalebehind.jpg (Downloaded 700 times)

Last edited on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 02:46 am by David Genadek

David Genadek
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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 02:42 am
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Here is the female version.
David Genadek

Attachment: femalebehind.jpg (Downloaded 694 times)

Last edited on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 02:43 am by David Genadek

christie
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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 02:45 am
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Recently my butt has been 'slapping' the saddle when I canter. Think jeans on leather, I'm not coming up a whole lot, I just figure I MUST be so that I keep getting this little slapping noise.

I let my horse just canter and go where she wants so I can practice different things, open thighs more, let legs hang long, feet out of stirrups, heels down, feet relaxed, lean back more, etc etc.

My last thought is that perhaps I am 'behind' her movement.

I ride in one of Dave's saddles that I had custom made and my friend thought perhaps it was too big for me and that's why. It's a 15 seat and I'm about 5'2 100lbs.

So tomorrow I am going to try and mentally and physically ride more 'foreward' with my entire body, I don't mean leaning forward.

Anyone have any clues as to why this might be happening?

 

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 06:16 am
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Christie, the person slaps the saddle with their butt when the pivot-point of the rider's rocking motion is outside of the area of the lower back + pelvis. In all likelihood what is causing this (the most common cause) is that you are pinching with your knees.

The only way to pinch or grip the horse with the knees is to use the major adductor muscles, as described above. There are two approaches to monitoring yourself on this: either mentally 'get inside' the muscles that line the inner aspects of your thighs, coaxing them into turning totally off; or, purposely take your knees right off the saddle, so that there is 'air' between the saddle and your knees.

In America, at local horse shows, there is often a fun-type class called 'ride-a-buck'. It is a carryover from the old Victorian-Edwardian ideal, which taught that a secure seat was primarily to be gained by pinching or gripping strongly with the knee-bones. So in a ride-a-buck class, at the start of the class every rider is given a $1 bill to place under each knee. The class then proceeds in the normal manner, with walk, then trot, then canter to the left, class reverse, and repeat all three gaits to the right. Anyone who drops either dollar bill is 'out'. The winner is the person who can go the longest without losing either of their dollar bills.

Obviously, according to what I have said in previous posts, this class is teaching the wrong things! Where the dollar bills should be placed is not under the knee-bones, but rather at the level of the widest part of the calf. This should be your anchor-point, and where necessary your gripping-point. If you must grip the horse, you should endeavor to do so at a point that is below the widest part of his torso.

When you pick up the canter, you must take enough hold of the horse with the calf of your leg that neither your leg swings back and forth from front to back like a pendulum, nor your upper body swings back and forth in the same manner. When your body is swinging, that's when your butt slaps the saddle. The keys to stopping the swinging are: (1) Anchor by the calf and (2) Release your waist.

At the canter, your upper body should be dead still. The motion of the horse is taken up and expressed in the small of your back/your waist: you have to LET your pelvis follow the up-and-down rocking motion of the horse's body at the canter. If your waist is stiff and immovable, you won't be able to do that. To follow the horse's motion at canter with your pelvis means your crotch will go up, and then it will go down -- INDEPENDENT of either your legs or your upper body. Your butt stays glued the whole time to the saddle.

A little grip from the calves of the legs can, at first, help you get the feel of this kind of total stability. I would also advise you to sit so that you feel that your upper body is leaning BACK rather more than you think it should -- almost, but not quite, to the point where you feel you might roll off backwards. You lean BACK and not forward. Leaning back will make you have to let your waist go and let your pelvis go so that it can rise and drop with the horse's motion. Leaning back will also help you keep your butt squashed down into the saddle.

It will take a little courage to really lean back -- you will have to lengthen the reins, and you will have to really let the horse go. You will have to give up "going fetal" -- hunching forward or rolling up in a ball, or in any other way seeking to physically protect yourself.

You will also have to give up any kind of "pumping", "humping", or throwing your upper body forward in order to hork the horse into cantering. You will have to give up worrying "whether" he is going to canter or not, or "whether" he will stay in the canter once he takes it. If he stops, so what? You can always start again. And as to horking with your upper body: if you have not previously developed the horse to the point that he takes the canter from very small urging of the calves of the legs, then whether your butt slaps the saddle at the canter is not what your real problem is -- first you have to get the horse understanding canter aids well enough that he takes the canter easily and stays in it until you tell him to do something else.

But once the horse does respond well to the departure aid, then, to canter on, you must give your whole self up to the horse; you must let him take you for a ride. You must, especially, let him take your pelvis -- your upper body will lag behind your pelvis to some degree, as if your waist were very supple.

Once you can depart the canter without leaning forward at all, and canter on in such a manner that your crotch is always ahead of your breastbone, and the whole cantering can be slowed to around 6 mph or less with no danger of the horse breaking gait, then you can begin experimenting with sitting straighter up. Ideally, at any gait, you want to find that position (you find it by feeling of yourself) in which the muscles of your lower back are the most at ease for the greatest part of the time. This lack of muscular effort is the primary sign that indicates that the pelvis is 'functionally', if not literally, level.

Play around with these thoughts, and let us know how it goes. -- Dr. Deb

David Genadek
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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 04:54 pm
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This has me thinking about a concept that is used by both Western and English Saddlemakers in seat construction. That is they think they need to narrow the bars or the panels of the saddle to create a narrow seat for the rider.  The photo illustrates where they narrow the bars. This area should be the prime weight bearing portion of the bar but yet they will eliminate a large percentage of the bearing surface with the notion it will make the seat narrow. Some saddle makers will call this a woman’s seat.  The bottom part of the picture shows a butt mold in the seat so you can see that this does nothing but create dead airspace.  A saddlemakers goal should be to fill in as much of the vaulted ceiling as possible.   If you go check your saddles you will find this dead air space on many of them.
David Genadek

Attachment: narrowbars.jpg (Downloaded 666 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2008 06:51 pm
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What is germaine here to mention too, David, is how a seat designed for a woman can in fact be made. From conversations I've had with you in the past, if I recall right what you said was that the seat is built ON the tree but not OF the tree.

One example of a seat built "on" the tree would be the old traditional Spanish Vaquero saddle, in which the seat is constructed by building it over a thong or strap that is slung between the (rather upright and high) pommel and cantle. This 'slung seat' concept can be seen in its skeletal form in the traditional American Indian saddles, which are of course directly based on those of the Spanish and Mexicans that those Indians encountered and learned from.

Another way to build a seat "on" the tree is to stack it on top of the tree, building it up from the bottom and using the tree as a base for the seat.

In either case, the upper contour of the seat can be as broad or narrow as desired, and can have whatever indentations in it that the shape and size of the rider's thighs seem to require -- because the seat is above the tree and we are not trying to make the tree do two quite separate jobs.

As you note, it is quite counterproductive to cut out part of the tree in order to make a seat -- because the job of the tree is to locate and distribute the weight coming down onto the horse's back over as large an area as possible.

I believe you mentioned to me that you could, theoretically, build just about any kind or shape of seat since you conceive of the seat as being separate from the tree. For comfort's sake I certainly prefer that the upper part of the seat be no wider than a Kotex, and I also find it comfortable when there are subtle concavities to the sides to accommodate the width/thickness of the upper part of my thighs. A seat in which the top surface is wide and flat just about tears my femurs out of the hip sockets, a most uncomfortable feeling -- something I've found on certain Western but also some English saddles.

The "womens' saddle design" that you build is one of the most comfortable saddles I ever rode, although I still remember the day ten years ago when you and I and Harry Whitney were out at the place in California where I used to keep Painty Horse. You had the prototype of the womens' saddle with you and we asked Harry to put it on a horse and go ride it to test it out. So he did, and he went waaaay out to the front of the property. We could see him riding in and out among the trees up there. It seemed he stayed out there an awful long time -- we could see him walking, trotting, loping, then coming back the other way, change and change again. Finally, he came walking back to the barn area. When he got up close to me, I could see him shaking his head. "Uh-oh," I thought. Aloud, I said "What's the matter?"

"Deb, I have bad news for you," Harry said. "Oh, no," I said. "I hate to hear that, but please tell us what you think anyway."

"Well, I have to tell you -- you haven't designed a woman's saddle," Harry said with mock seriousness. "You've designed a saddle for somebody who can RIDE."

Cheers, David, and with our gratitude for your persistent good work. -- Dr. Deb

Leah
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 Posted: Tue Jul 8th, 2008 11:12 am
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What is an English rider to do? David, you only make western saddles correct?

David Genadek
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 Posted: Wed Jul 9th, 2008 05:38 pm
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Leah,
     There are plenty of good saddles out there. The buyer just needs to know what they want and why and they should be able to find something. The brand is not important the design as it relates to the desired function is.
David Genadek

David Genadek
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 Posted: Mon Jul 21st, 2008 01:41 pm
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Deb,
     My current line of thinking goes more like this: 
We have four choices in saddle design;
1.       You don’t fit the horse or the rider.
2.       You fit rider but not the horse.
3.       You fit the horse but not the rider.
4.       You fit the both the rider and the horse.                                                                                                                                                                            
     The first choice might seem odd to us in this day and age but if you consider the Brida saddle in the beginning of its evolution it makes some sense.  Clearly the horse was just another piece of live stock and the soldier riding was not much more than that himself.  It was purely a utilitarian design.  Stick the knight on the horse in a way that he won’t fall off so he can kill the other guy and the king can win his prized hunk of land.  Ironically , today we are following a similar utilitarian design concept, however, now the utility is making a sale and the prize is a bigger bank account for the manufacturer and the retailer.
    Somewhere along the line the humans comfort came into play and the fitting the rider became the trend.  Here the mindset of the saddles construction is from the human’s rear down. The tree of what we now call English saddles is really for fitting the rider more than the horse.  Today there is an effort to take the English saddle with its’ history of fitting the rider and also make it fit the horse by properly shaping the panels under the tree.  Unfortunately, the long established history of the construction methods along with sociological forces continue to over ride reason, and have halted the evolution of the design.  We still see the extended front arch being used and stirrup hangers and riggings placed to far forward.
Jineta saddles followed a similar course but their evolution began with first fitting the horse.  Here again sociological forces have stalled the evolution of fitting both horse and rider.  Unfortunately, we see Jineta bottoms with Brida tops.   
The art of saddle making lies in fitting both the horse and rider.  The key here is in understanding the space between the shapes needed to fit the horse and the shapes needed to fit the rider.  It is this third shape that translates the shape of the  of the horses back to the shape of the human it is this third shape that creates the greatest challenge in saddle fit.  There are multiple shapes needed to fit the diversity of the human form and likewise with the form of the horse. The human pelvis has fewer variables acting upon it to change its shape than does the horses back.  Sex and weight become the major determiners of the seat shape.  Although the horses back should be as simple to identify, it is not because of the destructive influence of the thoughts of man in regards to how a horse moves.  These influences have created a massive proliferation of shapes that have the industry seeking ways to fit pathologies rather than accurately defining the needed shapes in the three categories, which are the horses back, the riders shape and  lastly the elusive space in between.

    The third shape can be thought of as a gear that is converting vertical motion to horizontal motion. Because we are vertically oriented we have trouble understanding horizontal movement. In gymanastics the event that is the most difficult for most to become proficient in is the pommel horse because it is the only event that requires horizontal movement. Originally the pommel horse was used to train riders. So a saddle acts as a gear that translates the vertical movement of man into the horizontal movement of the horse.

David Genadek

christie
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 Posted: Fri Jul 25th, 2008 05:42 am
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I hope I can ask this question under this topic. I didn't want to start a new one and searching under saddle fit came up with no results.

Just a quick question. I've got Dave's saddle and think it fits. I've seen his video too. 

My question is about fitting the rock of the saddle to the back. If there is no bridging and the rock of the saddle sits right on her back and fits her curve leaving room for the spine, how does this effect the horse being able to lift their backs in collection mode?

I've heard the idea that you don't actually want the saddle to fit, mainly for this reason.  

Dr. Deb
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 Posted: Fri Jul 25th, 2008 10:54 pm
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Folks, this really is Dr. Deb writing -- we've been having a bit of trouble the last couple of days with our server link-up, so temporarily I have to post "as if" I were a guest!

* * * * * * * *

Christie, this is one of the point of frustration we have in trying to teach "how to fit a saddle" to people. WHAT DO YOU MEAN when you say "fit"?

Do you mean "fit like a latex glove"?

Or do you mean "fit like a comfortable pair of shoes"?

The term for "fitting like a latex glove" is micro-fitting -- trying to match every little teeny contour of the back, making the saddle be an exact mirror image of that. This is not what we mean by "fit" -- because, if you do this, the horse will be very uncomfortable. The saddle that is micro-fit does not fit!

"Fitting like a comfortable pair of shoes" is what you want. You buy your shoes the right size, so that you have room ahead of your toes in front. You buy the correct "last" or insole, so that the shoe has the right width across the ball and the right amount of rise in the arch-support. You buy the right heel-cup so that the shoe does not ride up and down and so that the heel does not gouge into your Achilles tendon. But you do all these things, always, leaving a little extra room so that during the dynamic action of the foot -- when it is moving, when it is flexing, when weight comes down on the foot and that squashes the foot out some, then everything is the right shape yet nothing pinches.

So you viewed Dave's tape and you see from that how he puts his hands up there under the tree, and he says "this is not a PERFECT fit" -- by which he means, "this is not a MICRO fit" -- and then he says, "but it is a fit about as good as we can expect." What he means by that is -- and surely your eye can see this on the tape too -- that the SHAPE of the tree is right for the particular horse it's being fitted to: no bridging, enough rocker without it being an excessive amount, about the right amount of spread, and enough flare through the gullet.

So you fit a saddle by (1) looking for the right shape of tree, (2) making sure there is enough flare through the gullet especially, so that the flesh of the shoulder has somewhere to go when the horse retracts the arm with each step.

When a saddle that has the right tree in it is placed, without a saddle pad, on a horse's back, it will almost "click" into position. You learn to see what this means by comparing good fit (demonstrated on Dave's tape) vs. bad fit, where there is clear bridging and where the saddle "pushes back" even though it may be girthed on pretty firmly. Saddle fitting skill is mostly a matter of "eye" and "feel".

You gain "eye" and "feel" in this area just the same as you do when learning conformation. Learning conformation is not memorizing a list. There are no hard-and-fast points to it. The same with saddle fitting. You learn the PRINCIPLE of the thing, the concept, and then you go look at hundreds of horses, and this is how you get the experience that gives you the eye and the feel. -- Dr. Deb

Joe
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 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 04:46 am
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The Hungarians, the British with their Universal Patterns, and some other peoples use or used the slung seat concept.  There are some notably bad ones now sold as 'Mountie" saddles.  While they had many virtues, there were persistent mechanical problems with the saddles.

Joe

hurleycane
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 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 02:44 pm
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The shoe example really helps further my understanding of a good saddle fit and I hope you can bear with me for a few questions on my understanding of saddling theories/approaches for the western tree.

I have set aside any use for the flex bar trees that mimic the solid tree.  I understand the principle is it will move or give some with the horse's back.  But I hear/find there are many user problems with these trees.  Along with the potential for collapse in the center - there exists the complaint of how this tree "walks" over the horse's back with the shoulder hip and flexing action and slips out of place.  Many have problems with needing to overly tighten the rigging to compensate or adding no slip padding or breeching etc etc etc. Same for the flex panels - only they have pressure points at the attachments and little actual support afforded the thoracic area.

Now on solid trees, one prominent saddle maker says a saddle "should bridge" so to speak on a standing (relaxed back) horse so that when the horse raises the back the saddle "fits."  (This speaks a little to Christie's question I think).  In my mind this arrangement would require tremendous padding or a constant collected moving horse to prevent pressure points.  No standing in the shade for this combo!

And the approach that I comprehend more readily and seems to also be in Christie's question is the tree that appears to be "rocked."  This design may "look" like a rocker on a rocking chair as it's tree frees up the shoulders and hips with flares fore and aft.  But ideally the weight bearing portion of this tree follows the resting contour of the thoracic portion of the back with adequate side to side slope and front to back rock/curve.  Other than the raising of the engaged muscles in this thoracic area, this resting contour will not "change"  greatly when the horse is in motion/collection as the "rounding" occurs more posterior.  

Now if I am nearly right and at the risk of being completely foolish - I think the reason most of the rounding occurs behind the thoracic area is this area is relatively stable or fixed as a result of the architectural feature of the whithers, which are a compensation for a lack of stabilizing clavicles.  Am I close?

And here comes my understanding of the seat/bar relationship.  Brida verses Jineta may play into this - more so with brida (chair seat).  The proper bearing of the rider's weight to this "rocked" tree will depend on the design of the seat and the placement of the cantle.  I would think the low point of the seat would need to hit just forward of the cantle.  If not the saddle would rock back and bear weight only under the rider's hips (especially chair seat)  No???  

Another question here would be how far behind the cantle should the loss of back contact (ie beginning of flare) begin??  The cantle area should be the last point of contact on the resting horse's back with the slope of flair beginning behind it?  Yes?

I hope I have not completely tortured all the learned folks here with this post - but I wonder if I am getting close to understanding the dynamics of the fitted saddle presented in this thread and the question raised by Christie.





Last edited on Sat Jul 26th, 2008 03:22 pm by hurleycane


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