Switching Gears

Adventures in Saddle Seat


I have a card in my brush box that I read before my saddle seat lessons at Stepping Stone Farm. It gives me a headstart so that I don’t spend the first 5 minutes reinventing the wheel [Swapping Back and Forth]. Reverting to hunt seat does not require reminders.


Sit back, all the way to the cantle. It’s not the safety seat that eventers use when coming down to the Head of the Lake. It’s a balanced seat, just farther back to allow for lofty shoulder action. Okay, maybe not on Sam, but in theory.

Legs off. Heels away. Dig your knees in. Just like h/j trainers tell you not to do.
Feet forward, true h/j, worth noting

Hands up, way up, even higher.
Pinkies in. Saddle seat, rein goes around the outside of the pinkie. Hunt seat etc, rein goes between 3rd and 4th fingers. This issue has followed me into the show ring [Getting The Band Back Together].

Whip perpendicular, straight down along shoulder.

Energy goes up ^ not fwd >.

All aids are lighter.
Steady contact is ~1/2, still steady

If use lower leg, remove after.

Outside aids, esp canter. This one catches me in both saddles. I’ve sat on Milton getting ready for the canter, thinking, hunters, inside rein, outside leg.
Outside rein, outside leg.

Set hands at canter. Collect, collect, collect, every stride.

For canter transition, tip head to rail. more. Dressage has an obsessive emphasis on straightness; saddle seat, not so much.

Your Turn
I know several folks out there ride or have ridden saddle seat as well as hunter/jumper/dressage/eventing. If you rode/ride saddle seat, do these reminders ring any bells? If you still ride both, or any two differing disciplines, how do you switch?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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