(I had this as a response to a comment yesterday. Then I thought, Aha A Post and moved it.)
Q: How on earth do you rise in the trot without the
stirrup leg to balance you? Core strength? … The basic assumption I am making is that you are pivoting from your knee in Saddle seat, versus using the leg against the horse, as in hunter/dressage style.
A: My instructor tells me that back in her day, the lower leg position was far more extreme than required today. Also, saddle seat equitation guru Helen Crabtree writes that she does not believe in non-stirrup work. She feels the brace between the stirrup and the knee is the basis of the seat. Sounds weird to me, but you can’t argue with her record.
My feeling is that the routes are different but the destination is the same, at least in the current seat. Digging one’s knee into the saddle is against everything I was taught. OTOH, if done correctly in a saddle seat saddle, the result is a tight upper leg/upper calf against the horse. Move yourself to the center of the saddle & you have dressage. Hike the stirrups & you have hunt seat. At least as far as my understanding goes at the moment.
Gratuitous Cat Picture