Have you ever heard someone say to you that you have a 'HOT BUM' or every horse you seem to get on becomes more forward. Well, in all the years of riding I have always had people tell me this. Every horse I ride becomes fizzy and ready to go! Even a slow plodder will pick its ears and get a groove back into its stride. I bet if you have the same problem this post may be very interesting for you. Is it me or the horse?
SO, after a little research I found a lot of people asking the same questions. How do I cool my seat? Why won't my horse walk and only jog on the spot? My horse won't come back to walk from a trot? All of these questions and many more were common from people with hot seats. I have always been a big supporter in that when you ride, you and your horse become synchronized. Your mood when getting on, I believe, instantly is projected through to your horse. If you get on anticipating bad behaviour or have had a rough day at work earlier, then I can almost guarantee that your horse will probably be in a bad mood too!
A quote that I found stated 'Remember the horse has no bad intentions, he only reacts.'
This quote is correct in the way that if you get on with a positive mentality, your horse will most likely work with you not against. If you're uptight, anxious and not in the right frame of mind your back muscles instantly tighten, therefore altering your seat. Your seat is essential for a number of reasons other than just staying on the horse of course! It is used for creating suppleness in your horse and getting an understanding of their movements, emotions and any stiffness/lameness. In a way your seat creates the relationship you have with your horse.
An important influence I had back in my pony club days was from an amazing instructor Tanja Mitton. Every time I had a lesson from her my horse and I would end the lesson more harmonious than ever! By encouraging you to just take a deep breath and relax any muscle in your body that may be tense, the horse almost copied and took deep breath also. Tanja also stated in an article 'What controls the riders hands, seat bones, and legs? The answer is 'your mind.' How true is this statement! By remembering to relax and just BREATHE (how many people forget to breath in a test) you can allow your horse to be calm and relaxed. Tanja's lessons always resulted with the mind being calm and your seat integrating as one with the horses gait. My ways now of reducing my hot seat include:
- Take a big abdominal breath in and then breathe out
- If I feel any tension in my back using my breath I try and relax it
- Encourage the horse to do what I am asking with a positive, focused mentality
Above are common habits I like to repeat when riding the racehorses. Naturally forward and strong they can be hard to handle sometimes. By trying to remain calm, with a positive energy, I believe that I can help the horses relax into their work as much as possible. I have always been quite a tense rider, reminding myself to relax with a deep breath, I have felt a difference in how the horse works for me. So if you feel like you are like me and is naturally tense when you ride then give these easy techniques a go.
Overall, I have come to the conclusion in my eyes that a 'hot seat' is not really a real thing. It is built from our mentality and emotions when riding a horse. If we are stressed your horse will know and it probably is best to save your ride until tomorrow.
Tanja Mitton, Contolling Your Mind and Your Body, March 2014 Cited 29/08/17, Website: https://www.tanjamitton.com/controlling-your-mind-and-body/
Tanja Mitton, Purpose of the riders seat, March 2014, Cited 29/08/17, Website: https://www.tanjamitton.com/purpose-of-the-riders-seat/