Chair Seat acceptable for jumping???? Bernie Traurig chair seat?

Hi. I’m a new rider and new to this forum and have a pretty basic question, but am quite confused by it. I have 2 trainers and am being taught classical ear/shoulder/hip/heel alignment by trainer #1, and chair seat by trainer #2.

Trainer #1, a former eventer, is my dressage coach and is teaching me centered riding and I can feel the difference. My horse moves more freely under me, and is more responsive to my leg and seat. I feel more secure and his mini-spooks don’t phase me as much because my upper body doesn’t collapse forward. My lower back also seems to hurt less. When I post, I stay in rhythm without thinking about it. I have just recently started riding with this trainer. She maintains that the alignment should never change, regardless of whether you’re doing dressage or jumping (of course, going down steep inclines and drop-offs is another story). Of course, to me, this alignment doesn’t feel natural. I am used to sitting at a computer at my job.

Trainer #2, a former hunter/jumper, is my hunter/jumper instructor, and has had me riding in a chair seat for quite a while. I am definitely in a chair with my heels down, but my leg very forward, and that’s where she wants it to be. The difficulty, of course, is that this seems to go against classical riding position. I have MUCH less communication with my horse because my leg isn’t touching him in the right spot. He moves less freely and is less responsive. I seem to lose correct rhythm when posting and am more apt to double bounce in the saddle. Also, I think this hurts my back more. When my horse has spooked, I’m always thrown forward. My body forms a “V” and my upper body weight is thrown forward and I feel more likely to come off.

Question: Is a chair seat ever advised for jumping? Based on what I’ve read, the chair is to be avoided. So, why am I learning this?

Here’s what confuses me more. I have been watching Bernie Traurig videos and, unless I am mistaken, he teaches the chair seat. Look at what he says starting at :18 in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssFCklAH8co
He shows the correct position as having the leg very forward.
This is along the lines of what he shows in the videos that you can watch if you are a paying subscriber. So, if Bernie, a GM disciple says to ride this way, then is this correct?

Is there a divide in the riding world about chair vs no chair?

I am confused! :confused:

I think that the exercise in the link is intended to correct a leg that swings back, not to teach a student to ride that way. Once you do the exaggerated position, the correct position feels better.

A true chair seat is not going to work. It is going to put you behind the motion, where you can’t post correctly, etc. HOWEVER, when one is teaching riding to a person, and that person is learning jumping, the heel being down and the leg braced a little forward in the air over the fence is more likely to keep you in position than if the leg swings back. Oftentimes, with novices, they will adopt a chair seat trying to establish that solid leg that will keep them over fences. There is a happy medium. The ideal position of your heel-hip-shoulder being in line is ideal…and should be correct. The problem with novices is that they often don’t keep that position when jumping…the lower leg swings back and the rider is more likely to fall off. Therefore, some teachers when teaching will get the rider to brace the leg more forward going over a fence, until the rider learns to jump and hopefully keep a solid leg, and hopefully eventually figure out how to keep the ideal line. I hope this helps. As far as Bernie’s video, I think it is a misleading video to a novice. He is looking for that solid leg foundation. Remember, when jumping you should be riding in a foward seat–when that is the case your upper body is slightly inclined forward and your leg will be forward to keep that hip-heel-shoulder alignment. Because if you are riding with your upper body slightly forward going down to the fences, and your leg is behind you, your leg will swing back when you jump and you will be more likely to fall off. In short, trainer number one is correct for the alignment, but I suspect trainer number two is trying to keep your leg under you when jumping but you are managing a chair seat rather than what you are supposed to be doing.

I can’t think of a situation where you’d want a chair seat ever. I have never heard of anyone teaching a chair seat. I wouldn’t necessarily call Bernie’s position a chair seat, but his lower leg is slightly forward. I think he’s really trying to make a point about riders that have their legs too far back and get tipped forward, which is also no bueno.

I think x hit the nail on the head. The legs forward concept does help the beginning jumper keep the leg in the proper relative position and encourage the heel to stay down. I am one such person who benefited from that school of thought. Thinking “Fred Flintstone” heels really helped me keep a secure leg until I finally got strong enough and good enough in my mechanics to use my leg properly. Ultimately, if the first trainer is working better for you, just go with it.

In jumping you will learn to ‘fold’. You don’t just lean forward. Your butt moves backwards as well.

Interestingly, while I don’t think the video with Bernie is advocating a chair seat but rather a specific exercise to help someone get their leg in the proper position, that saddle he’s in does seem to put him farther back in the seat than ideal. I actually liked his leg better when he is demonstrating the too far back bit.

BUT - please note his balance…that isn’t an easy exercise for a lot of people. Posting without going all the way into the saddle requires that you are properly balanced and have a good leg. So more power to him.

OP - if you’re H/J trainer advocates a chair seat, I would question it. Riding behind the motion is really only useful when you need to ride aggressively and you should get back into balance ASAP after utilizing it.

Your dressage rider isn’t completely incorrect. the alignment you want (shoulders, hips, heels) is the same whether you ar talking about dressage or H/J. But it is not a static position. You WILL incline your upper body more forward as you go up in gaits or get into two point: about 30 degrees for trot/canter. Your hips, however, should stay over your heels.

I didagree with above. When you fold your hips are no longer above your heels.

Feel free to disagree, but closing your hip angle should not push your heels forward or your butt so far back that you are significantly out of alignment.

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I think you perhaps have the wrong mental image of “folding”, or have yourself not truly been “folding”.

I think it depends on 1) the jumping style you are trying to acheive and 2) your body. It’s weight and balance… if your upper body goes forward and your hips don’t go backward you are jumping ahead, laying on your horses neck or otherwise balancing your upper body on the horse, which happens all the way though the highest levels of the sport.

On the other hand if you are William Fox Pitt and 6’5" you are going to seriously unbalance your horse if you do that so you move your hips back.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/medias.photodeck.com/85944cb4-66ff-11e1-96ca-eff32e123410/Badminton-2011-SJ-William-Fox-Pitt-Cool-Mountain-10_bigthumb.jpg

[QUOTE=gypsymare;7918894]I think it depends on 1) the jumping style you are trying to acheive and 2) your body. It’s weight and balance… if your upper body goes forward and your hips don’t go backward you are jumping ahead, laying on your horses neck or otherwise balancing your upper body on the horse, which happens all the way though the highest levels of the sport.

On the other hand if you are William Fox Pitt and 6’5" you are going to seriously unbalance your horse if you do that so you move your hips back.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/medias.photodeck.com/85944cb4-66ff-11e1-96ca-eff32e123410/Badminton-2011-SJ-William-Fox-Pitt-Cool-Mountain-10_bigthumb.jpg[/QUOTE]

Again, not completely true. Your shoulders can go forward without your hips going back.* It’s called a squat. And squatting is pretty much what you want to do when you jump.

*Stand up against a wall in a fairly straight posture. Now squat. Your bottom will not be able to go backwards, nor will your feet be able to move, however, you can go up and down as well as lean your shoulders forward and still go down. If you BEND over, you will not be able to do it because you will put your COG out over your feet without being able to compensate by pushing your bottom back…and you will fall. Jumping isn’t bending over (or at least it shouldn’t be).

THANK YOU for your responses!

Gosh, I have so much to learn, and I don’t mean just about how to ride, but HOW RIDING IS TAUGHT. Thank you everyone, for your posts and if anyone else feels the need to chime in, please do.

This has given me great food for thought, especially the posts from “x” and “tbchick.” So, it appears that trainer #2 is trying to keep me safe until I strengthen my position enough to have my leg in the right spot, while trainer #1 is going for the correct position now since we are working on flat work.

THIS ALL MAKES SENSE TO ME! I am going to ask trainer #2 if this is the intention behind the approach, but I am sure it is.

THANK YOU all for enlightening me.

I do have to say, however, that riding the two different ways on the flat has really shown me how the smallest tweak in leg position can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD to the rider and the horse. It is quite remarkable.

Yes, I know I sound green. I am green. But I am a glowing green as I am just astounded by all the wonders of the riding and horse world. It is so wonderful!

Thank you all for sharing your expertise on this topic. I feel relieved and a little smarter! :slight_smile:

RugBug and GypsyMare, thank you for your posts. Yes, I think I am getting the “stick the butt out” thing okay…at least that’s how I think of it. I stick my butt back as if I am squatting at the gym and try to go for that stretch in the hamstrings. I’m slowly getting rid of my tendency to want to jump the jump for my horse.

Any tips for working on keeping my lower leg back (non-chair) when I am posting? I sense that this will just take lots of time, but if anyone has any tips or exercises that work for them, please share! I do know that I need to strengthen my hamstrings off the horse!

The best way I know to find your true center of balance over your feet is to post and stay up intermittently. By that I mean, one beat sit, 2 beats up, 3 beats post, 2 beats sit, 4 beats up, etc. Just keep mixing it up while posting the trot. Staying up and extra beat or two will quickly show you if you are ahead or behind your center of balance and you will fall back or forward into the saddle. Sitting an extra beat here and there will help loosen up your lower back and hips which helps your knees act as better shock absorbers once you’re back in half seat. If you can stand up without needing to balance on your horse’s neck, you’ve found the sweet spot. Once you find that, you will find your lower leg stays in place and the rest of your body from the knee up handles all the motion.

That sounds like a great exercise, tbchick. I am going to try that the next time I ride. Thank you! :slight_smile:

Just to clarify, the up part of this exercise is literally standing up. Your crotch will be slightly over the pommel. It’s is solely a balance centering exercise to train your lower leg where to stay. Don’t worry about how it looks. Grab mane the until you have found the spot where you don’t fall back.

Can I ask why, as a green rider, you are learning to ride from 2 different trainers? Just curious.

Good for you for asking questions and embarking on this learning process.

[QUOTE=kh209;7918996]Can I ask why, as a green rider, you are learning to ride from 2 different trainers? Just curious.

Good for you for asking questions and embarking on this learning process.[/QUOTE]

Hi. kn209. I would like to learn both dressage and jumping and each trainer teaches one of them, but not both. I started out jumping first, but later the opportunity to take lessons from the dressage trainer arose. I would rather have done it the other way around, but since they are both available now, I’ve added the dressage.

Ok, thank you, tbchick!