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Barbra Schulte

Seat Position and the Sport of Cutting, by Barbra Schulte



Barbra-Schulte-Cutting-HorseWhen you’re learning to cut, it’s easy to  confuse which seat position you should have … and when.   I’ve seen riders who think they are supposed  to be “sitting” all the time.   Of course, this is not  true and would be  extremely uncomfortable!   Not to mention it wouldn’t  work.

So, here’s six ideas  to sort out the what, when  and where of using your  seat:

1.) Strive to always  stay in the middle of your  saddle regarding your  seat position from side-to-side.   I will explain  some weight distribution variations in a moment,  but you do not want to “hang over the edge”  (on purpose) in your saddle.   You should also have some space between  your bottom and the cantle of the saddle.

2.) As you walk  toward the herd, ride in  a natural position that  moves with your horse.   I’m referring to centered  riding alignment.   Your  shoulders are square  over your hip bones  which should be square  over your ankles.

3.) The position in  (#2) above is the same  as you walk through the  herd and travel across  the pen with a cow.   In all of these  instances, you are moving  forward.   For example, when  you need to use your  feet, your centered  alignment, and your seat  should not be impacted.   In fact, the more  balanced you are, the  less you will use your  upper body unconsciously  when moving  left and right, accelerating,  etc.

4.) When it’s time to  stop with a cow, your  seat dramatically shifts  positions.   Your back  collapses over your hip  bones.   This is the feeling of  sinking deeper and deeper into the saddle.   Melting.   Pressing your buckle against your back  bone!   Sitting on your pockets, etc.   Strive to keep your eyes, neck, shoulders,  arms, and hands, “soft”.   Any stiffness in any part  of your upper body reduces your ability to  “melt” and “sit” deeply.

5.) As your horse draws back in preparation  to turn, your back stays collapsed.   Now is the time, if you so choose, to think  about transferring a little more weight to your  seat bone closest to the herd.   Here’s the same idea stated another way …   drop a little weight on the outside of the  direction of the turn.   This is a “consciousness”  of connecting your seat bone to your horse’s  anchor hind leg (closest to the herd).   This subtle move keeps you balanced and  helps your horse stay balanced as he pivots  through the turn.   Note: This is where you do not want to sit  way over on the side of the saddle.

6.) At the end of the turn, as your horse  accelerates on the line, your body naturally  goes back into the alignment described above.   You don’t have to “do” anything but allow  your horse to take your body with him.

About the Author  Barbra Schulte is a personal performance  coach for all riders, a cutting horse trainer,  author, speaker, and clinician. Go to[This article was published in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 4, Issue 1.]


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