Riding: The Seat and Balance


illustrations 426, 427-430, 432-436, 456-457.


P. 432 The body, says Adams, in his valuable Treatise o Horsemanship, must always be in a situation, as well to preserve the balance, as to maintain the seat (see fig. 5). One of the most common errors committed by ladies on horseback, who have not been properly taught to ride, is hanging by the near crutch, so that instead of being gracefully seated in the centre of the saddle, with the head in its proper situation, and the shoulders even, (Fig. 6,a) the body is inclined to the left, the head is brought to the right by an inelegant bend of the neck in that direction, the right shoulder is elevated, and the left depressed (Fig. 6,b) To correct or avoid these and similar faults, is important. All the rider's movements should harmonize with the paces of the animal; her position should be at once easy to herself and to her horse, and alike calculated to ensure her own safety and give her a perfect command over him. If she sit in careless, ungraceful manner, the action of her horse will be the reverse of elegant. A lady seldom appears to greater advantage than when mounted on a fine horse, if her deportment be graceful, and her positions correspond with this paces and attitudes; but the reverse is the case, if, instead of acting with, and influencing the movements of the horse, she appear to be tossed to and fro, and stop with, and not after the animal. From this harmony of motion results ease, elegance, and the most brilliant effect. the lady should sit in such a position, that the weight of her body may rest on the centre of the saddle; one shoulder should not be advanced more than the other; neither must she bear any weight on the stirrup, nor hang by the pommel over the near side; she ought not to suffer herself to incline forward, but partially backward. If she bend forward, her shoulders will, most likely, be rounded, and her weight thrown too much upon the horse's shoulders; in addition to these disadvantages, the position will give her an air of timid gaucherie. Leaning a little backward, on the contrary, tends to bring the shoulders in, keeps the weight in its proper bearing, and produces an appearance of comely confidence.