The Seat

The above is page out of Ride right by William G Langdon, JR 1993

When I evaluated my seat by his methods, I found his number were correct. If there is a process that is completely broke, other than the study of the natural horse it has to be the development of the seat.  Modern horsemanship has not even started to study the effects of a quality seat on horsemanship, let alone build a process that really creates a quality seat.  I will not pretend I have a quality process, but I have spent a lot of hours testing and study the issue.

The goal of building a quality seat is to change your natural balance, which is 180 degrees out of phase with the horse’s natural balance, to match the horse’s natural balance. I suspect even with a quality process, this is a tough skill to master.  When I was a teen out of necessity, I taught myself to ride a bicycle by sitting in the handlebars. It took me a lot of time to reverse my natural balance in order to accomplish that skill.

When I started riding rough terrain with only balance, without stirrups and with my eyes closed, I realized that was the major issue in developing a quality seat.

The other issue is the lack of quality saddles in modern horsemanship. When per Langdon’s I changed my saddle to a saddle that had the stirrups directly under the seat, I found my seat/balance was very poor.  I had been riding in a chair seat and never developed very good balance.
I had my seat graded at some popular clinics, so this surprised me.

Over the years, of study the effects of the seat on horsemanship, is that people just assume they have a quality seat only because they have never studied the issue.

The primary function of building a correct seat is change the rider balance to be in sync with the horse’s natural balance



This is done in four stages.
The first stage is to learn to ride in rhythm.
The second stage is to build an independent seat.
The third stage is to ride in correct balance.
The forth stage is to incorporate the correct balance with grip.

When you put this together in your own riding, you realize why the above chart on good horsemen is true.  I also do not think this issue can be corrected overnight.

When you look at how a horse reacts to a poor seat, for the most part he just learns to adjust to the riders seat at the expense of his balance. This as the long-term effects of reducing the horse’s useful working life and his ability to work in balance on rough terrain.

For developing a seat on the lunge, this is a good video.


I have not started working on a quality process to develop seat, but if you combine the above video with Langdon’s book “Ride Right”, you will figure the issues pretty quickly.