How to “Get Down” and Use Your Seat

Recently I released a short course, Well-Connected, that explains how you can connect more closely with your horse through 12 exercises that build one upon the other.


Recently I released a short course, Well-Connected, that explains how you can connect more closely with your horse through 12 exercises that build one upon the other.

Throughout the course, I discuss a sequence of:

  • How to become more mindful of your horse and your intention for that session
  • How to get and stay present in the moment
  • And more

One of the course members asked if I could describe in detail what is happening in your seat and back when I say, “Get down. Drop down, down”?

What I’m talking about is releasing tension in your back and swiveling your seat bones forward.

You can simulate this motion by pretending like you’re pushing your belt buckle to touch the bottom of your spine.

Exhale. Dropdown with your upper body (releasing tension in your muscles) as you roll your seat bones forward. Your horse feels both the release of tension and your seat shift.

Then Belinda asked how to get our horse’s attention with our seat, so they slow down or stop.

First, a horse is less likely to feel your seat when fresh or distracted by any of its senses.

Our job as a rider is to be consistent in communicating with our seat no matter where our horse’s attention is. And then, if they don’t respond, bring their attention back to us by using our hands to slow the gate or stop.

And don’t forget to give your horse time to feel your seat before using your hands. Focus on the process, not the stop or slowing down. As you do this consistently, you will establish more communication with your horse. They will respond more and more quickly to your seat.

Then the last question was, “How is this dropping down different than a seat drop to cue a stop?”

That’s a great question.

The mechanics of the physical movements are not different. But the amount of energy you put into the ‘drop’ may vary, depending on your horse.

But most importantly, it’s the intention of what you want to do. For example, thinking about slowing a gate vs. coming to a complete stop telegraphs different messages through your body.

This is fun to play with. Have clear intentions. Be consistent with using your seat first before your hands. If your horse doesn’t respond, support them with your hands and keep at it. Over time, you will develop more feel and connection, and your horse will understand.

Those were three excellent questions.

The short course, “Well-Connected,” is still open. We’d love for you to join us. There’s still time.

Do you slow and stop your horse primarily with your seat? Could you leave a message and let us know? I’d love to hear from you.

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7 Comments on How to “Get Down” and Use Your Seat

  1. Kelly A McGuire on Sun, 8th Aug 2021 1:26 pm
  2. So aweseome. Great questions great answers. I’d love to hear you talk more about “intention” and how our horses (some more than others) magically understand our intention(s). Thank you.

  3. Vera Widmer on Sun, 8th Aug 2021 3:33 pm
  4. Dear Barbra, thank you for this great video transcript. This exactly what I try to do. In the closed arena I think I can handle this, but when I go for a trail ride with my horse Proud to be Cocky, I am not brave enough to do it. I use my hands quite quick. I am afraid it does not work with my seat and so probably I need to work more on this in the arena that I feel more secure that it will work always. Thanks for your great help. Vera from Switzerland

  5. Janice on Sun, 8th Aug 2021 7:56 pm
  6. So true when you said many people go right to the reins for a slow down or stop. I am starting to think ahead about moving my seat bones (intention, I guess) to slow down, and stop if that’s what I ultimately want to do.

  7. Belinda Williams on Sun, 8th Aug 2021 9:43 pm
  8. Dear Barb!!!! This is the perfect ! I really learned so much from these answers and your explanations! Thank you for taking the time and effort to answer
    these questions!!! I love how you reminded us how intention is a key factor in connection with your horse!!!!
    Love love love love love working with YOU!!
    Thank YOU!!!! Hugs!!! Belinda

  9. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 8th Aug 2021 11:30 pm
  10. Thank you Barb and Nic for this demo in using your seat first. Sitting in my office chair, I can sure feel my seat bones when I put my hands under them and move back and forward. I’ll practice this tomorrow when I ride. Thank you,

  11. Barbra Schulte on Tue, 10th Aug 2021 7:33 am
  12. Thank you for your comments. And Kelly, I’ll answer your question in another weekly video. (-:

  13. Kathy Moller on Sun, 15th Aug 2021 6:36 pm
  14. Love the way you present. Thank you for this info.

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