TRAINING NUGGETS #1

Neighbor, may I borrow your seat bones ? I can't find mine!

Ha! I got your attention, didn't I !. Good. Because we have to look into the most important tool of classical riding. The seat bone. If you ask me: what's that? - you are a fortunate member of the equestrian world, because you are not afflicted with wrong ideas about where, what, and why. So, let me give you a leg up into the saddle since that is the area where a rider may find that ominous thing. Or not.

First of all, there are two of them. Left and right. They are the lowest point of the pelvis which is shaped semi-circular, somewhat like the runners of your childhood rocking-horse. A lot smaller, for sure. You'll say: Ah, yes. I know that, I am sitting on that all the time! Right, you got it, or rather you did not. What you are sitting on are your, whatever you want to call them, buns - buttocks - butts - or, if you did not drop out of your anatomy classes, glutei maximi. In short you are really sitting on those soft pads of muscle. Those things have the habit of contracting when pressure is exerted upon them. Not always, of course. If you for example, sitting in the saddle, would raise your knee, let's say some six to nine inches, you will stretch that muscle and thus get rid of that beautiful cushion and the seat bone springs into action. Why not testing it. (let's hope your mount is complacent and has the patience of an experienced riding instructor). O. k. testing! Put your hand under e.g. your left butt (or whatever you call it), raise your left knee slowly and you will feel the seat bone pressing down. Keep your hand there, you won't draw blisters! Now get tall, sit truly erect and get your head up, looking straight forward. You will notice that, as you did these things, the pressure on your hand increased. You did? Good for you. Because now I can explain 'why'.

If you do not shield your seat bone with hand or buttock muscle, the pressure will penetrate your breeches, underwear, saddle blankets, saddle, and the horses skin in order to finally wind up as a pressure point on the (wasn't it left?) back muscle of the horse. Bingo! Another muscle with pressure on it. Of course! It will contract, while the right muscle elongates. - You do know that all muscles come in pairs, don't you, one to contract one to elongate. Well not always. But that's for later. Thank you! - Now, what is your horse's opinion to such frivolous activity? Yes. You are right. He is evading the pressure by bending. If you had been walking, your horse would have turned left, wouldn't it. Gosh, without left rein? Yep, without left rein, just with left seat bone. What do you think would happen if you sat real straight and had your head up, thus accumulating on the seat bones the weight of your body and that of your head, never mind that dumb talk 'airhead', even airheads have their weight!? Well, any suggestions? Right. The horse would bend more and the circle would get smaller and if you exaggerate, I guess you wind up in the dirt.

Here comes the 'later' from above. What would happen if you had learned enough to be able to activate both seat bones at the same time? Surely your horse goes right and left at the same time? Half this, half that! Well, that, I think, I would call straight forward. The learned books about riding or dressage or whatever call that 'driving'. In short, your seat bones have been assigned the task of driving aid.

Before we come to the end of the seat bones (no pun intended) I have to add a word of caution for those mature riders who have accumulated their wealth below the seat bones. Get on a diet first. Your seat bones are no powerdrills. They only handle muscle and a very limited amount of wealth.

(By the way neighbor, forget it! I found mine!)