Balance on the horse
• From your toes to your nose
• Feet and ankles soft
• Lower legs – hang like a string with a weight from the knee
• Upper legs and torso on the leather – highlighted U – independent seat
• All the weight should be on your seat of your pants
• Waist soft and can twist
• Arms straight with a bend at the elbows
• Hands holding a pistol
• Level hands make level shoulders
• Shoulders are a carpenter’s level, your hands will help achieve this level
• Back straight
• Head on a swivel with soft eyes
• Ride in the center – do not ride in the front or back of your seat

Sitting back shortens stride makes the horse lift front end, like go up hill. Sitting forward loads the forehand, deeper stride makes the horse run faster, like a jockey. Lean away to the outside for turns and load the outside leg, do not lean inside a turn.

Independent seat
Your lower body has to be locked onto the horse so it stays right on the leather. Your seat becomes one with the saddle and the horse. Your upper torso is relaxed and loose. Sit straight and load the outside of the horse, let your waist be loose and relaxed, and follow the horse’s movement while you direct your horse. Your body motion dictates (body energy), the gait or speed of your horse. The horse learns to move from your signals and become smooth and natural. You can speed a horse, slow a horse or stop a horse by your seat.

Body energy
When I ride my energy comes from my center, my belly button, I drive with my seat, and all energy flows in the direction I am instructing to my horse. If it is forward my energy is going forward, if we are trot or jogging all my energy is flowing into a jog rhythmically, if we are cantering all my energy will be running rhythmically. If we are walking my energy is walking rhythmically. When I am on a horse I gain 4 legs.

   Author - Steven Holt