seat is developed over many hours on the lunge line, riding
school horses and a variety of other horses across the country
side and in the arena. A rider with sufficient balance,
coordination and understanding of the aids can help restore the
horse’s natural relaxed easy rhythm and independent balance
under saddle. This natural movement that the horse had when he
was not carrying a rider must be reestablished. The horse’s legs
must swing forward in their natural steady tempo like pendulums
of a clock. This can be practiced out on the trail or on large
open school figures in the arena.
horse’s rhythm/tempo and relaxation have been well established
he can easily learn to take longer, fuller strides in response
to the driving aids and to maintain his natural tempo while
extending his whole spine forward. This improved rhythm and
relaxation causes the horse to reach forward and downward with
his head and neck toward the bit. When the horse is consistently
reaching for the bit the rider can offer him a following,
yielding contact (without the rider trying to artificially
position the horse’s head or neck with the bit – the horse’s
natural head position gives the rider important feedback on the
horse’s way of going so it’s important not to meddle with it).
As the horse achieves a sufficiently degree of independent
balance and relaxation and the rider receives the contact that
the horse offers, acceptance of the bit comes naturally.
contact has been established the rider can begin to focus on
straightening the horse. All horses are crooked to some degree.
Some horses have legs that swing every which way – like wind
chimes blowing in the wind. Various exercises are used to
improve the horse’s straightness which helps the horse’s legs
become more evenly loaded and swing more correctly forward so
that impulsion can be added and efficiently directed into
position, rhythm, relaxation, contact and straightness are all
interconnected. Improving one element will often improve the
others to a certain degree. Likewise, when one is out of kilter,
the others will also suffer.