Training Tip Tuesday - How to Tame a Shifting Saddle

View from Behind. Can you see which way this saddle slips?
View from Behind. Can you see which way this saddle slips?

“Why is my saddle always slipping to one side?”. Most riders know the feeling of a shifting saddle, which can occur for many reasons: it could be how your horse is carrying you, or a saddle not fitting the horse exactly right, or more than likely, this is how you have been balancing your riding position in the saddle for a long time. You are not alone. Most riders do put most of their weight onto one side of their riding position, causing the saddle to shift. What can you do about your shifting saddle?

Step 1. Notice which side of the horse your saddle usually slides towards. If you are not sure have someone look at you from the ground.
View the rider from Behind - can you see which way this saddle slips?
View the rider from the Front - check out the rider’s feet. Is one stirrup shorter? If you look closer you will see the saddle has shifted to the side of her longer stirrup.

You will use the piece of tape or the center of front of your saddle to remind you of when your saddle is shifting.
You will use the piece of tape or the center of front of your saddle to remind you of when your saddle is shifting.

Step 2. The secret to your success. Put a piece of tape on the center of your pommel. Western riders can use their saddle horns.
You will use the piece of tape or the center of front of your saddle to remind you of when your saddle is shifting.

Step 3. Quietly take your foot out of the stirrup on the side your saddle is shifting towards. For most riders this will be the right side. Keep the opposite foot in its stirrup.

Step 4. Gently step into the stirrup that you have a foot in (usually the left) and slowly shift the saddle back so that the “tape” (for English type saddles) or the saddle horn is lined up with the horse’s mane.

Quietly take your foot out of the stirrup on the side your saddle is shifting towards. Keep the opposite foot in its stirrup. Then gently step into the stirrup to shift the saddle to where the tape lines up with the mane.
Quietly take your foot out of the stirrup on the side your saddle is shifting towards. Keep the opposite foot in its stirrup. Then gently step into the stirrup to shift the saddle to where the tape lines up with the mane.

Now, all you have to do is keep it there. This will take practice but you will love what it does for your riding position.

You might be surprised at how crooked you will feel in the saddle after lining it up with your horse’s mane the first few times. This is normal. It is a sign that you have not been balanced in your riding position for a long time. The good news is that with patience and practice, you will easily be able to see and feel when your saddle is shifting out of place. The difference is now you know how to fix it by adjusting your riding position. Try this Horse and Rider Awareness technique on a safe horse, first at the walk than slowly build up to any other gaits.

Watch this video to see a new rider experience how this works!

About the Author:
Randi Thompson is from the Tryon, NC area. She coaches riding instructors, clinicians, trainers and riders on easy, safe and fun techniques to connect them with their students. Her Horse and Rider Awareness® techniques have been tested on 1000’s of students and horses of all styles of riding and breeds of the horse world. Check out her website at horseandriderawareness.com.

 




"Is your saddle shifting to one side? Now you can finally fix it! Dressage instructor, Tryon NC

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