The Seat of Power

Revisiting the Independent Seat

The third item on the Riding 2 checklist is the same as for Riding 1:

3. Exercises at halt & walk

The only difference is we want you to be able to do them at the walk as well as the halt.  So go back to this post and review those exercises now.

I continue to harp on the independent seat because it is so crucial to all riding, not just mounted combat.  A rider who grips with her knee lifts herself further from the saddle, bounces more at the trot and canter, and is much more vulnerable to falls if her horse stumbles or bucks.  A rider who uses the reins for balance hits his horse in the mouth at every stride, sending mixed signals and dulling the horse to rein aids, or worse, hurting the horse’s sensitive mouth.  Developing an independent seat is not just a way to make you a better mounted combatant and more effective rider,  it is a kindness to your horse.

For more on the independent seat, see this Equiculture article

Aside from warm-up exercises, what else can you do to improve your seat?

  • Take lessons on the longeline.  In haute école schools like the Cadre Noir and the Spanish Riding School, riders spend years on the longeline before they are allowed to touch the reins.  This allows you to focus solely on your seat while someone else controls the horse.

    Pony club tests require riders to perform part of their flat ride stirrupless at trot and canter. Note the leg position remains the same, and there is a straight line from bit to wrist to elbow.
  • Ride stirrupless or bareback.  I recommend dropping your stirrups at least once on every ride.  It’s amazing how beautiful riders’ positions become as soon as they stop bracing against the irons.
  • Drop your reins.  Periodically knot your reins (so they don’t droop and become a hazard) and practice guiding your horse with your legs and seat alone.
  • Use an observer.  Ask your instructor or an experienced friend to watch you ride, checking that your shoulders, hips and heels are aligned, that your hands follow the horse’s mouth, that your hipbones follow the horse’s motion.  A video camera is a good tool for this as well.
  • Mess around. I’m fairly convinced that kids develop good seats so quickly, not just because they’re young and malleable, but because they spend hours simply fooling around on horseback.  They ride backwards, sideways, and ‘Indian style’ clinging to the sides and necks of the horses.  This kind of ‘play’ fosters a deep awareness of their own and their horses’ bodies and movement, translating into relaxation and confidence in the saddle, without which a ‘perfect seat’ is impossible.  vaulting practice

Be safe, and be aware of your own limitations, but don’t be afraid to stretch your comfort envelope now and then.

August Offerings

It’s only two months until Carosella 2013!  What are you doing to get ready?

Intro to Mounted Combat

Know your way around a longsword but have never ridden?  Or grown-up on horseback but never swung a sword?  Or are you new to both?  Whichever category you fall into, Intro to Mounted Combat is the place to start.

Sunday 4th August, 10am – 12:30pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
cost: $99 + gst*
*add the Mounted Combat workshop in the afternoon for only $50 if you sign up for both

Mounted Combat Workshop

Our monthly workshop features work from the ground, the falsemount, and for those who have their Riding1 or higher, from horseback.

Sunday 4th August, 1:00 – 4:00pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
cost: $60 + gst

Cavaliere Classes

Ongoing classes include Riding, Horsemanship, and sword drills.  Riding and Horsemanship assessments for those wanting to sign off their levels occur on August 24th

Saturdays, 10 & 24 August, 4:00 – 7:30pmRed Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
cost: $60 per class; $200 for 4 classes

Integrated Package

Take Mounted Combat and both Cavaliere Classes in a single month at the great rate of $120 (Three classes for the price of two).

Mounted Games Practice

Get your game on!  Mounted games practices are held every Friday from 5-7pm at Red Colt.


Don’t let the beautiful summer weather pass you by — see you at the barn!

Jennifer Landels, Maestra di Scuderia
Academie Duello Cavaliere Program




Jennifer Landels Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.

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