Last week we looked at improving the seat and I had a few questions about seat bones.
The Seat bones are one of our main communication tools when we ride. Your horse knows where they are, he knows if they are moving or if they are still and if one is sat somewhere different than the other.
Your instructor may sometimes ask if you can feel your seat bones and I bet many of you give a kind of nod not really knowing if you can or you can’t. Or you may be able to feel them but they aren’t level and you don’t know what to do about it.
First things first let’s find your seat bones. There are a couple of ways you can do this. Most simply you can just sit on a firm chair and sit on your hands, and you should be able to feel a bony lump in each cheek (yes even through any extra padding…..).
Another great way is using a ball. Either a tennis or hockey ball or a spiky physio ball (if you google it make sure you put physio ball as just spiky balls brings up something else…..) Either seated or lying down just pop one under your bum cheek and have a roll around. Then take it out, take a moment to notice how it feels and then do the other side.
If this feels a little uncomfortable you may be inhibited in you glutes which will in turn affect your riding and I would suggest spending a little more time using a ball in this way to release them. It is also really useful to do this for a minute or so before you ride.
You can also try riding (if you have a bombproof horse!) with the physio balls under your seat bones , you may have seen the Franklin balls used for this. If you find you lift a seat bone on corners and circles this will help you to stay level as you will be trying to keep the ball in place.
If you are un-level in your seat bones a gym ball should become your new chair of choice. Just sitting on the ball and lifting your feet will help you to get the feel of a level seat. Obviously if you aren’t level you won’t be able to lift both feet! Feel free to hold onto something solid to help you get your balance first that way you can feel which way you need to shift your balance to find your central point. Just doing this alone has improved my position and balance in the saddle.
Once you have found your seat bones try this little challenge to show you how much your seat bones affect your aids. In walk feel your seat bones move forward and back in time with your horse, now try to slow your seat bones down and then make them still. What does your horse do? If you did it right he will have hopefully slowed down or stopped completely-clever pony!
I hope this has answered your questions and given you some things to go away and try.
Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to talk about.