One student very frankly told me why she booked her first lesson with me. She said she was tired of being beat by my students at shows, and that all of my students had nice seats. I took that as high praise. Another SFD student is a two-time blue ribbon holder from Dressage Seat Equitation at Dressage at Devon - heck, every SFD student who competed in DSE ribboned in that division in 2015 and 2016. Go Team SFD!
So how exactly do I build that seat? Jokingly, I tell people I take stirrups away, tie them to the saddle, and chase them with whips. Which is actually pretty close to the truth. SFD students spend time on the lunge lunge line, they work without stirrups, and from time to time, they ride with various "toys."
The SFD seat method is based on two ideas.
1) The dressage seat takes fitness, and fitness comes from work, both on the horse and off of the horse.
2) In order to recreate the correct feel on a horse, you need to first feel it. Which is where the "toys" come in.
So here's my build-a-seat "toy" box. Each of the "toys" is selected to help the rider get a certain feeling, with hopes that the rider can re-create a tiny bit of that feeling without the "toy." None of these "toys" are perfect, each has quirks and limitations, but point of the "toys" is to create a feeling, not perfection. (fwiw, none of the affiliated "toy" companies have approached me about this blog.)
|Of course, we start with the lunge line. Lots and lots of time on the lunge line. With stirrups, without stirrups, with one stirrup, doing funky exercises with arms. doing funky exercises with legs, etc. This builds fitness, balance, and confidence.|
|This is the Unisit on a rider. You can see how it encourages a long thigh.|
|This is another shot of the Perfect Heel where you can see the weights. They are removable. Most riders feel the difference with two weight plates in the heel, but I take one plate out for my younger students.|