Adopting a correct riding position is a concern for every rider. There are usually two groups of riders that deal with the chair seat problem: new riders at the beginning of their training, and many, many riding instructors teaching the basics. Because no matter how often chair seat occurs, there is often a lack of practical approach to successfully tackle this seat flaw. Sibylle Wiemer and Dr Britta Schöffmann explain here how they solve the problem of chair seat in a practical way and what exercises can help you improve your overall riding position.
The riding position can be affected by the saddleDressage trainer Britta Schöffmann always starts by looking at the saddle. “First I look to see if the saddle fits”, she says, “because chair seat can also occur when the centre of gravity is shifted too far back.” If the saddle tips backwards, the rider’s thighs will automatically slide forwards. “The problem is often remedied by elevating the back of the saddle.” Other possibilities: the saddle form is not ideal, or the rider’s thighs are too long or too wide for their hips. Sometimes, the rider’s anatomy simply doesn’t fit to the horse’s. It will not be easy for a rider with short legs to sit correctly on an extremely wide horse. In those case, finding the correct riding position will take practice and time.
What is the chair seat?Instructor Sibylle Wiemer has direct knowledge of this problem, as well as its misinterpretations. “One frequently hears the term chair seat to describe a riding position where people sit on their backsides and ride with very short stirrups”. That, however, isn’t chair seat. “In chair seat, the pelvis is so pitched that the rider tips back like he or she is sitting back on a chair or a sofa, the arms extended forwards and the feet pressing into the stirrups for stability. The knees are raised, and the rider’s feet are either under the knees or in front of them. The typical chair seat position has four components:
- The upper body pitches backwards
- The arms are held out in forward extension
- The knees are raised up
- The feet are positioned too far forwards