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As any rider will tell you the quest for an independent seat is the ultimate goal. The ability to ride in harmony could take many hours and quite possibly years to achieve (think Spanish Riding School). Both of which I have in limited amounts! I’m a once a week lesson student that just stopped hourly practice rides. That means one hour of mounted riding time a week. And years? I’m 42! I’m running out of years! I need to fast track my independent seat.

Hmmm, what skills do I need to get this job done?

Wanted: Independent Seat

Skills Required: Relaxation (both physical and mental), balance, ability to follow the horse’s motion
Communication Skills: Clear use of aids (legs, reins and seat)
Benefits: Harmony with the horse
Experience: No prior experience needed. All may apply.
Salary: Based on experience. Blood, sweat and tears, sore muscles and finally after many hours and possibly years an independent seat.

I also understand that riders that take lungeing lessons progress very quickly. So, I agreed to be a lunge line guinea pig. We weren’t sure how the school master would react but he was a…well, school master. I on the other hand? Yeah. Well, I guess I need these lessons.

I knotted the reins and placed them on the horse’s neck. That way they were out of my way but within reach if I needed them. Then I attached a grab strap to the front of the saddle. I just might need that during sitting trot to prevent myself from being catapulted across the indoor. Okay, I’ve official surrendered all control to my instructor. She’s responsible for controlling my horse’s speed and the size of our circle. I’ve been told to do nothing with my legs. Absolutely nothing.

We started at a walk without reins. I held my invisible reins and concentrated on following the horse’s movement.

Side to side, hip to hand. Not bad.
Let’s pick up a posting trot. Yeah, let’s! Piece of cake.
Now a sitting trot. BIG. TROT.  I’m okay. Relax.
Wait? Was that a canter stride?
What was that? A buck?!
Stop messing around. TROT!
Hmmm, shift back a little. Better.
Now walk. Okay, walk. Ack! Pitching forward.
Grow tall and sit into it. Okay, slower trot, slower, taller, walk.
Darn. Brakes are sticky.

Now without your stirrups. Deep breath, let’s go!
BIG. TROT. Where’s that strap?
Breathe. Relax. Side to side.
Look no hands!

Things were far from perfect. Especially those downward transitions. I’m learning to rely less on the reins and more on my body. I trust myself and my balance even more.

Independent seat here I come!

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