Saddle fitter's posts about chair seat/alignment and using no thigh blocks

I’m stuck at home with my daughter who has COVID. I’ve been wondering about these post I’ve been seeing on Instagram from a saddle fitter. So I thought I would post here and see if anybody has seen it and wants to discuss it. This saddle fitter discusses that the well known shoulder/hip/heel alignment isn’t totally correct. She also is a strong advocate against thigh blocks.

I have no strong thoughts on it either way. Although I do think the shoulder/hip/heel alignment is ideal, this post does make me wonder if that can be rider/horse/movement dependent. Personally I always fight a chair seat, although some saddles make it better or worse. I do have some physicals pain and stuff so that’s what I always chalked it up too. I don’t think I could ever not strive for a better alignment but the no thigh blocks is interesting for me. here is a link. I will post some screenshots in the comments in case people can’t see it on Instagram. Her website says she’s an independent saddle fitter although it does look like she does sell Stubborn. Which I think Stubben’s theory on saddle balance has been discussed her.

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Both of the first two photos and probably the last, the rider appears to be turning their heel in to apply the spur or otherwise give a cue. It’s not possible to say at that moment what the neutral alignment actually is.


I was going to say the same. I don’t think you can take one picture of a rider at one moment in time and say definitively that they ride in a chair seat.


I’m really, really starting to hate these (not this one person in particular) “what do you think” posts. If you have an opinion, tell us, ffs, and then let the discussion ensue. I look for information and insight and find a bunch of blahblahwoofwoof and then a bunch of bafflegab from the saddle fitter. Ugh.

So, no opinion on this person’s posts except to agree with endlessclimb that these are not great comparison photos.

Also, imo, the definition of “chair seat” seems to be getting seriously warped by some saddle fitters these days to something weird about pelvis angle end of story. But, imo, it’s not just about pelvis angle, a person can have a “chair seat” with their pelvis in neutral, anterior, or posterior (most common though for sure!) tilt.


Honestly I don’t have an opinion on it. I’m really just an open minded person who likes to ponder things. No offense meant at all. I find discussion and alternate ideas interesting depending on what it is.

She posts A LOT about this stuff which is why it was on my mind.

I know Catherine Haddad also post on this saddlefitters stuff a lot in agreement. And I know she has some YouTube videos kind of advocating something similar. I saw that video years ago and just kind of tucked it away as something interesting but not anything that I heard from anyone else.


I did look up other photos of these riders and I do agree that it’s usually during a movement when they are using the spur.

Although like I commented above, Catherine Haddad-Staller comments a lot on this lady’s post and I know she advocates for something similar. I remember seeing some YouTube videos years ago. I just kind of put it in my head of something interesting but nothing that I’ve ever seen much anybody else talk about…

I’m not sure why my quoting got messed up! Sorry about that.

I really didn’t mean to upset anyone,
I just saw something that was a much different opinion than the norm and thought it would be worth discussing. As we know there can be a lot of radical opinions on the internet.


I disagree with the saddle fitter. Also the idea that the rider’s leg position in that one photo, “forces her to pull with her inside rein.” WTF? This “saddle fitter” would do well to study the concept of separation of the aids. Also, any saddle fitter worth their salt knows that men and women sit differently on a horse. The shot of Reiner Klimke (who I met back in the day, if I may drop a name) is a perfect example of that - it is also NOT a chair seat in any way, shape or form.

This blog post is from an ill-informed person. I would take it with a big chunk (not just a grain) of salt.


FWIW I don’t have radical views on equitation. I think that a rider’s equitation does have quite a bit to do with their, the rider’s, “conformation” if you will.

As long as the rider is effective and staying out of the horse’s way, it will be a beautiful picture. That said, “proper” equitation was developed as a way to effectively stay out of the horse’s way, so they will go hand in hand to some degree. I would not expect to see a rider varying drastically from classic equitation, without some sideways looks and a conversation as to whether they are effective in that way.


Sorry I meant more that the saddle fitter’s ideas were radical not yours. I tend to find many on Coth pretty traditional, educated and experienced overall. Which is part of why I brought the discussion here.


Absolutely ZERO offence taken on my part! I just went off on a rant about saddle fitters and their bizarre posting methods of late. I should apologize for the little derailment!

But, since you brought up Catherine Haddad-Staller, I agree with much of what she has said, BUT, I also think that trying to fit every horse and every rider into a one size fits all approach has some serious pit falls. From body shapes to sensitivities and preferences, and even what a rider has grown used to over years of riding, it just can’t be a one-size world.


Line up the dump trucks <- me being old and jaded and not quite as willing to jump on the choix du jour as I was when I was younger and most of all understanding that not all research is equal and even if it is really good, it’s not perfect and doesn’t take into account absolutely every variable!


I think I took your original post a little differently. I thought you were saying that maybe I had a strong opinion It was kind of trying to start a heated discussion. Which definitely is not my intent ever.

I think social media is definitely giving a platform for a lot of different ideas. Which can be good and bad. Sometimes I wonder if people are trying to be really “out there” or different which draws lots of attention maybe.

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I agree, you can’t take one moment in time and declare very much about that moment as it relates to the rider.
As for thigh blocks, it took me a long time to get used to them and I’m pretty fussy about where they are placed. I always rode pretty basic and flat seated saddles without much support via deep seat or knee rolls/thigh blocks. I don’t and never really have need them and have a pretty solid leg, so I’ve been told, but now that I’m in my 60s and have a young horse who likes to throw in the occasional surprise, I find the blocks are nice to have when those moments arise.


I tend to struggle with thigh blocks because I’m short But I will say the few times that I was able to ride in a saddle where I felt they were placed correctly, it felt like home. I’m not sure if that was the block or not or just the overall balance of the saddle though.


One thought I have a similar to seeing people posting GP jumpers with really crazy equitation. Like okay maybe this professional rider who is very fit can get away with it but not likely for the rest of us.

I would think similar to if say Ingrid Klimke doesn’t have perfect alignment for every second of a ride is not the same as me just letting my chair seat go so it’s thing lol. These professional riders have a lot of pieces that I just do not possess!