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"Seat belt" for a Hunt seat saddle

Let me start by saying that I am deeply ashamed to be asking about this since I started riding seriously in 1970. I’ve owned horses, trained up “green broke” horses, and “broke” some of my horses to saddle, I used to jump 3’6", gallop, trail ride etc… I already know how to ride and right now I am riding with the best riding instructor I have found since I began riding oh so long ago on her lesson horses.

But I have Multiple Sclerosis, and due to “supply issues” of the one prescription drug that actually helped with my personal case of MS is temporarily unavailable and I am rationing my remaining pills down to 10mm/day from my usual dose of 30mm/day. I am having issues with my balance–especially my side to side balance, coordination, and my endurance is simply non-existent. I can only ride for 30 minutes at a time, and nowadays I only ride lesson horses who are used to dealing with beginners. I also have had “long Covid” since my case of Covid-19 Alpha in January of 2020, which has made all my neurological symptoms WORSE.

Wednesday, during my riding lesson on a 31 year old Appendix Quarter Horse who has been a hunt seat lesson horse for a few decades, he got startled, took one rapid step to the right, and I fell off, SPLAT. (I did not hit my head, I landed on my left buttock, rolled over onto my back, and after a few minutes I could get up and walk with 2 canes.)

We were walking. It had been drizzling and this tends to make my saddle pretty slick (Pegasus Butterfly Claudia jumping saddle, 17") and even though I was wearing silicon full seat breeches AND I have the rubber “Rider Grips” (no longer available) on my saddle flaps it was like I had no grip at all with the saddle. Luckily I had my MIPS helmet on, I use the Tech Venice Slope safety stirrups and I use the stability stirrup leathers (from Millbrook).

I am allergic to Neoprene–it causes hives that end up in blisters, I still have some scars on my skin from the last time I used something on me with Neoprene.

I cannot use the spray on grip products for saddles since they gave me the worse acne of my entire life (I’m 73) on my inner thighs when I tried them on my saddle flaps.

Until I get to a “new normal” with my MS (hah!) I feel like I need a “seat belt” on my saddle, just something that can tell me that I am off balance so I have an extra split second to regain my balance.

I searched on-line and only came up with two products.

The first one, the Unisit Strap System at https://www.unisitstrap.com. This is made for dressage riding, for a rider developing muscle memory to improve their sitting trot and canter. I do not ride dressage, I no longer do the sitting trot over 3 strides because it affects my central nervous system badly (my brain bouncing off my skull repeatedly), and I get up into 2-point the rare times I get into a canter. I do a LOT of 2-point at the walk when I warm up the elderly lesson horses I ride and when my riding teacher tells me to do so I can correct my lower leg which tends to drift back or to get my heels down. The Unisit costs over $300.00 US too, really expensive for something that might harm my nervous system by keeping my seat bones in the saddle, and make my riding worse for the elderly hunt seat lesson horses I ride.

The other possible solution I found on-line was the “Western Sure Grip Saddle Seat Cover with Leg Bands” at https://challengerhorsewear.com/products/horse-western-sure-grip-saddle-seat-cover-adjustable-leg-bands-4206?](https://challengerhorsewear.com/products/horse-western-sure-grip-saddle-seat-cover-adjustable-leg-bands-4206?) This product is made for Western barrel racing saddles to deal with the challenges that barrel racing riders face during their barrel races. Unfortunately for me this shop is right where the horrible Texas storms hit last night and it will probably take some time for them to get back to me. Their site did not say what the “sure grip” is made of, I really hope it is not made of neoprene, and I need to know if there is any way I can use it on my hunt seat saddle.

Does anyone here know of any other solutions that might work for me? Until I can get my MS medicine reliably my nervous system is going to get worse, possibly a lot worse, and I will not be able to tell from day-to-day exactly what I can handle on horseback.

Please help me!!!

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https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/Effax_Leather_Tack__Saddle_Grip_Anti-Slip_Stick_50ml/descpage-ELTGS.html

I love this stuff. It’s not spray-on and it hasn’t bothered me at all. Maybe worth a try?

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I will probably try it, but I do not hold much hope.

I felt SO GREAT and really secure when I used the spray on stuff, until I saw what it did to my skin.

I really miss the grain leather saddle flaps, I had just a little bit more security from slipping around in the saddle with them. Not perfect security at all, but even a tiny bit more security really helped me!

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When I got to where I felt too insecure with spaghetti-strap English leathers I switched to a lightweight western saddle. The fenders made me feel more secure. I do not have MS but I do have an autonomic-nervous-system disorder. I’m not qualified to make any medical suggestions, so ask your trainer and medics what they think, please.

Meanwhile, prayers and jingles for your missing med to come back!

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Oh you also reminded me of stability leathers. @Jackie_Cochran have you tried those?

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This is why I immediately purchased my stability leathers when I heard about them on this forum.

My first pair I ordered the size based on their chart. These leathers were WAY TOO SHORT for me, so I ordered their longest ones.

My first pair I donated to my hunt seat lesson stable. My riding teacher told me that the saddle they are on is the most popular saddle for her adult women riders, at least if the saddle fits them.

I did not have many problems with the old fashioned 1" wide stirrup leathers from over 50 years ago, but when the nylon cored calf skin covered stirrup leathers became super popular I developed bone knots on my shin where the stirrup leathers cross over, and years later these bone lumps still grace my legs.

I LOVE my solid leather stability stirrup leathers.

Oh, I HATE riding in Western saddles personally. They feel so stiff under my seat and there is so, so, so much stuff between my seat and the horse’s back. I am very glad that the Western saddles worked for you.

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:+1::slightly_smiling_face: I felt the same way about western saddles when I was younger and more limber. I couldn’t feel the horse.

The western saddle I bought after trying several traditional, leather ones, was a lightweight cordura one. All the difference in the world.

I wish I’d known about stability leathers for English saddles back then.

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Just throwing out ideas:

Do you use a neck strap at all?
Maybe just use side walkers for the short term, until you can figure out a reasonable solution.

I use a sheepskin cover for my saddle when it’s raining, and it makes it super comfy and takes out all the wet slipperiness that is leather.

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(Back from looking for stability leathers …)
Wow! Those look wonderful.

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Would websites for handicapped riding have ideas? Knowing @Jackie_Cochran, you probably already checked that out.

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About side walkers.

The very few times I had side walkers &/or people leading the horse I was riding I felt even more insecure.

I work on getting a GOOD flat footed walk, 4 MPH-6 MPH. I was amazed about how few people can walk that fast in a riding ring with relatively deep footing. If I can get that GOOD flat footed walk riding the horse at a walk is excellent physical therapy for me and I can usually walk much better myself after such a ride because my body has gone through all the motions necessary for me to walk securely on my own two feet. At least it was this way before I got Covid 19, which messed up everything. If all I can get from the horse is the usual lesson horse 2 MPH-2.5 MPH walk it does not help me much. Even on my Home Horse I try to replicate the movement of the wonderful flat footed walk.

Neck straps can be an excellent idea for many riders. For me they destroy my position in the saddle since I end up hunched over. I do have a grab strap–which brings on the same problems as the neck strap, and I have a RS-tor riding security aid on the saddle which I use when I trot. But man, between the two pairs of reins of my double bridle and carrying my riding crop my hands get rather full so I tend not to pick it up at the walk, my bad.

I REALLY APPRECIATE all of the suggestions on this thread. All of you are wonderful, super understanding people who I am privileged to have in my on-line life.

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Not addressing the strap/belt question, but the BEST breeches for a secure seat I’ve ever worn are the deerskin (Not cow hide or suede) fullseat Equissentials. Makes a HUGE difference in security in the saddle with a spooky horse.

Equissentials are no longer made, but you might be able to find some on Poshmark or eBay. Or maybe have deer skin added to a pair of schooling breaches.

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A full, thick sheepskin seat saver that covers the seat and the flaps should make a big difference. I have one and am amazed at the difference it makes.

Queen Elizabeth almost always rode with one

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I have been considering a cover for the seat of my saddle, if I could find one that fits the rather odd make up of my Pegasus Butterfly saddle. When I say odd make up of my saddle I mean that I would have zero hesitation putting my saddle on a horse with really tall knife edge withers since the front of the saddle is nicely back from the withers. I did try a “fleece” one but it slid around since I could not get it to fit tightly.

There is NO WAY I am going back to the regular hunt seat saddles. My Pegasus Butterfly saddle can work with horses with HIGH withers and with horses with extremely wide mutton withers, same saddle. On some horses I have to use a 6-pocket saddle pad, but both of my riding teachers have had zero problems with the way it fits the various lesson horses I’ve used it on so long as I use the 6 pocket saddle pad when needed. I bought it because there is no way I can afford to buy each lesson horse I ride a hunt seat saddle that FITS the horse as well as fitting me.

I used to have a pair of the FITS deer skin full seat breeches. I loved them, until the first time I rode in my silicon full seat breeches. I feel so much more secure in the silicon full seat breeches that I gave my deer skin breeches to my riding instructor. I could have sold them but figured that my riding teacher deserved a pair of really good breeches for all that she has done for me.

Maybe I should go buy me a new pair of silicon full seat breeches. Could someone tell me which ones have the most grip? Right now I am using the Kerrits ones.

My riding teacher has told me that she LOVES how I use my seat in the saddle when I am sitting down. She says I massage the back of the horse. Since these elderly lesson horses eventually relax under me, put their heads down and forward, keep good contact and cheerfully swing their backs under my seat I can understand her viewpoint. She has told me that she does not want me to use anything that will destroy my ability to move my seat with the horse’s back motion.

Again, THANK YOU everybody for your suggestions! I am sure many other riders can end up with similar problems and this thread will be invaluable for them too.

That sheepskin saddle cover that covers the full saddle looks really interesting. Anybody know where I can find one?

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https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/catpage-JMSCOMFORT.html

I had a custom one made years ago when I bought my endurance saddle

https://www.jmsproductsusa.com/

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Thank you. I need to save up more money after splurging on BOT and Fenwick stuff for my wide-spread aches and pains.

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I love mine. It’s like sitting on a cloud and is very secure

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I don’t have any suggestions, but wanted to send you tons of hugs. Believe me, I know how it is, trying to keep going with a severe disability. I’ve had to stop lessons for a while. I’m hoping it won’t be permanent.

Still jingling for your med supply problem to be resolved!

Rebecca

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my trainer has a unisit and you don’t want one. it holds you so tight into saddle that your lower back absorbs all the motion and you can end up w a very sore back the next day. It teaches you which core muscles to turn on when riding. You can’t post in it. if you plan on posting, a seatbelt won’t work because it has to be loose enough to post, which is loose enough for you to become unbalanced. I don’t know if you are interested in this but I have a potero, a Spanish colt breaking saddle w a full sheepskin cover. You are welcome to try it and keep it if you like it. It’s sitting in my basement. . it’s a med wide. Barely used. Bought it when I had a young crazy Spanish horse. The panels on these saddles are stuffed w horsehair.
So sorry about your difficulties getting meds. Have you tried Canada?

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Barrel racer here. :cowboy_hat_face: Now, I don’t own one of those myself but I do have some friends that use them for various reasons. It’s velcro. That’s how it “sticks” you to it. The Velcro goes around your leg and sticks to the part attached to the saddle. Which should still “let go” if you were to get into a wreck and need to “fall off” your horse and not get dragged.

There’s a few different companies that make them. Here is another version.

I would think you should still be able to attach it to an English saddle just fine.

I just want to say kudos for staying in the saddle. I would probably do the same. DON’T BE ASHAMED!

For inspiration, have you heard of Amberley Snyder? She was paralyzed in a car wreck and she chooses to continue to barrel race. In order to do that, since she has zero control from the waist down, she literally seatbelts herself into the saddle. Yes, risky if her horse were to fall, but we are all horse crazy enough to understand taking that risk.

She also uses a few velcro bands to keep her legs secured so they aren’t flopping around, which I believe she got the concept from some of the Magic Seats you are looking at above.

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