Achieving the Seat
The Chair Seat
Many of our modern design saddles automatically position riders in the chair seat. A rider sitting on his tail near the rear of the saddle with his legs forward is said to be acquiring a chair seat.
With the weight on the rear of the saddle and the legs in the forward position, a rider may feel that he had acquired a fairly secure position. This may be true, until an emergency arises. The Classical seat allows weight to be distributed evenly over the center of gravity of the horse, thereby achieving balance, which in turn leads to true security.
seat is often seen on showjumpers and cross-country riders. The forward leg prevents the rider from diving over the horse's head when landing from a jump. So a slightly forward leg position is necessary for jumping, but doesn't work for dressage or flatwork.
Some dressage saddles, with their long, straight cut flaps, place riders closest to the ideal position. General purpose and close-contact saddles, ridden with short stirrups, instantly push the legs out of the imaginary line of gravity.
The Three Point Seat
The Chair seat can also be referred to as the Two-Point Seat. This can simply be translated into sitting on the two seat bones. The two seat bones are the two points. The Three-Point Seat composes part of the classical seat. The third point is the inferior pubic arch, i.e. the fork or crotch. The three point seat forms a triangular base for the seat. When the rider is sitting on all three points, the pelvis will gain natural support that will hold it in the correct position. Only be sitting exactly in the middle of the saddle on all three points of the base of the pelvis can a rider open his legs and mould his thighs around the horse.
"The rider must sit rather forward in the deepest part of the saddle. His weight must be on the two pelvic bones and the crotch, that is three points of support."
A.K. Frederiksen, Danish cavalry instructor.
The ideal seat can influence the horse significantly. By flattening the back (tilting the pelvis backward), the horse can be driven forward into a more extended pace. Likewise, by enhancing the curve in the lower back (tilting the pelvis forward), the horse can be gathered into a more collected pace, as the seat will act as a restraining aid. By manipulating the pelvis while seated in the classical position, not only can you control the pace, but also the direction you want to go by subtle shifting of weight between seat bones.
When you mount, remove both feet from the stirrups. Sit erect, almost reaching for the sky, then open your legs wide, keeping your knees straight. Squeeze them as far away as possible from the horse, then relax. Place your feet in the stirrups again. Voila! In most cases, you will have achieved the classical seat!
If you have a fleshy thigh, tuck the fleshy part to the back of the thigh, leaving the inner thigh as close to the horse as possible.
Opening and relaxing the buttocks will help your body absorb the movement of the horse.
Remember that a strong, secure seat is also a sensitive one. Through practice, a sense of feel will develop, a harmony between horse and rider will be achieved.