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  • Laura Claman

Understanding "seat"


“‘Classical’ means begin with a classic seat. In my [George Morris's] view, such a seat must be a versatile one, one which can enable a rider to have a comfortable hack through the country, go fox-hunting, show a hunter, or ride in a hunter seat equitation class, a dressage test (with a longer stirrup), or an open jumper class (with a shorter stirrup). With this seat, the rider should be safe, secure, have good style, and – most important of all -- be versatile. He should be able to ride any kind of horse, help his horse when necessary, and show him to his best advantage. Only through searching for this all-around style can a rider assure himself of complete riding enjoyment and have access to all the many aspects and varieties of the sport.” Written by George Morris from his third edition of Hunter Seat Equitation.

If you would like the kind of safe and secure seat Mr. Morris is talking about, it’s important to open your mind to a variety of styles of riding. Good riders are the result of various instructors, colleagues, clinics, books, hours and hours in the saddle, and HARD WORK. There is no short cut, no pill, no one magical instructor to make you a good rider. It takes TIME.

The rider that can do two-point, three-point, and sit to all their horses' gaits is a balanced rider with an independent seat. They can sit to a sudden buck or a spooked horse without "trying" because their body reacts automatically. The "classical" seat develops over time. This means the rider doesn't interfere with the natural movement of the horse and that equals a happy horse and rider experience.


Two-point positions


These are both two-point positions. The rider's weight is out of the saddle and spread evenly throughout the leg with flat back and eyes focused where the horse and rider are headed next. The differences in the hip angle is determined by the jump the horse's body makes. This position is also used for galloping and riding over rough terrain.

This link to a George Morris article perfectly illustrates and explains the three-point position. It is a position usually used between jumps and when a rider wants the horse to balance up more so they don't get flat and long.

Chrono of the Horse - 3 point contact gallop


No matter what discipline you ride, all balanced seats are the same.

It seems as though the balanced rider does not move at all when you watch them from the ground, but, oh yes, the rider is moving a lot with the horse. If you try to keep your position solid and stiff – you will be moving against the horse; therefore, the rider looks to be bouncing all over the place from the ground watcher's point of view.

Click this link to George Morris explaining 2- and 3-point seats. These positions are not just used in hunt seat – they are for all riders who wish to be balanced riders.


Hunter Seat Equitation by George Morris is an excellent book for all riders to read – not just hunters. I'm developing a recommended reading list for the website – look for that soon!


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