There will be no step-by-step instruction manual in this little series on developing, what we come to call “deep seat” in teaching language. If you are looking for the exact “what to do” manual, I will tell you straight away to not waste your time on reading further.
I will, however, attempt to describe the clues I personally found invaluable when working on my own “deep seat” and on the skill of teaching it to others.
SCRAP PRE-GIVEN MULTIPLE CHOICE – START FIGURING THINGS OUT
Due to individual nature of our awareness as riders there are some elements of riding that cannot be simply described and “tried” – they need to be figured out…What I mean by this is that you might be told what to do and then you try it 1000, 5000, 10.000 times and you still might not achieve the result you are after. Trying the same thing multiple times is not going to cut it. You can try to open a door with the wrong key million times – the key still won’t fit no matter how many times you try.
When riding, you might be feeling that you are trying your best and still not getting “that” feel, your horse is still at the same stage of his schooling as last year and nothing feels more harmonious than before.
What does it really mean to sit deep(er)?
How would you describe it with your own words if you were to explain the concept to a 10 year old? Take a minute now and write down your immediate thoughts. Don’t use any of the “horse riding” language, only words and concepts that might make sense to that 10 year old…
Now, bare with me and let’s watch this 1 minute video together…
What you see there is a robot with no motor, no muscles, certainly no brain (nor a computer substitute either) casually walking in a rather relaxed manner, in a good rhythm and at constant speed…
There are many lessons from that video for sure but what could we learn from it that is going to help us with our “deep seat”?
Lets list 3 important points that allow the robot to remain gracefully moving in an effortless rhythm:
1. The robot relies on gravity and inertia
2. The robot relies on its design (structure/posture – the way it got put together)
3. The robot relies on additional stabilisers that prevent it from falling over
Now, picture a very effortless rider who seem to be using not much muscular effort and yet stays beautifully in a “deep seat”. How about we swap a robot with a rider to describe what we see:
1. The rider relies on gravity and inertia
2. The rider relies on his/her “design” – structure (skeleton) and posture (the way he/she organises that skeleton)
3. The rider is aware of the movements of his/her skeleton and automatically “uses” their ligaments, tendons to control joint movements
See also (just because I love simple definitions!): Inertia for kids: http://scienceforkids.kidipede.com/physics/space/inertia.htm
Now, we have some material to figure out… How is your skeleton “designed”? How does it move in the saddle? Is the position of your head helping you use gravity to its best advantage? Are your joints in neutral position? If you had no muscles, no brain – would your bones alone, in their current structure be well stacked? If not, which part wouldn’t?
If your “design” isn’t ideal, how are your (as in – your personally not other riders) muscles helping you or hindering you? And helping with what? Hindering what?
I am leaving you for now with the above questions – Part 2 coming shortly…Have fun spending the next few days paying heightened awareness to your bones 😉