Making Adjustments

Adventures in Saddle Seat


At my last lesson [Styles], Coach Courtney moved my foot forward several inches. This had the effect of straightening my ever-slumping shoulders. It all starts with the leg. The effect was remarkable, at least in a saddle seat. It has been harder to implement with the home team.

Changes are easier for me to make in saddle seat. Partly, I’ve spent less time in it. Partly, I’m usually on reliable lesson horse. Mainly, adopting a new position is easier because saddle seat feels so d*mn weird. My hands are too high. I’m sitting too far back. I have my lower leg off. Move my foot here instead of there? Sure. What’s one more weirdness?

When I try to move my foot in a hunt seat saddle, forty years of muscle memory says, ‘Nope. That’s not how it’s done.’

I would have said that my leg position was decent. However, this small change at the other end of my body had an effect like a magic bullet. Suddenly I was straight, still, and sitting deep. Hard to believe that such a chronic position problem could change so completely. For the rest of the lesson, I didn’t even have to think about my shoulders, just my foot position.

Unbeknownst to me, I was sitting tipped forward ever so slightly: leg too far back, shoulders too far forward. I’m a good enough rider – why is this so hard to say – that I could compensate as long as my attention did not waver. I could hold my shoulders back until I started thinking about the horse, or got tired, or got distracted by a shiny object.

The possibility of this much positive change is exciting. Now to make it permanent, at any time, in any saddle. #wintergoals

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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