A Good Seat
I want to chat about the importance of a solid and independent seat today, as I think it's one of the best ways to keep yourself safe in the saddle.
An independent seat means that my seat can move with the horse without it impacting my aids or really the rest of my body. This means that my horse can do things underneath me without it really impacting how hard I'm gripping or what my hands do. It also means that I'm not relying on my lower legs gripping tight for stability, but instead sinking onto the center of my pelvis and upper thigh.
So what happens in action? Let's take the photo above, of Sid trying really hard to wipe out after tripping over precisely nothing You can see that my hands have gone forward with his head, but my seat and upper body haven't changed. I'm still deep on my pockets, and my heel remains off his side. This helps him to recover from a front end stumble much faster, because I am in a neutral position and haven't thrown my weight forward over his shoulders. If I had been gripping with my knee or "perched" over the front of my pelvis, it's likely I would have at the very least face-planted into his neck, and possibly fallen or caused him to fall.
This obviously keeps both of us safer, but also helps Sid and other horses to trust me. They know I'm going to stay consistent in one position, with no large shifts or tense legs. As a result, they relax and can do their jobs easier. I hope that all makes sense - feel free to ask questions about this or other safety topics below!