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Sitting Deep

AQHA Professional Horseman Al Dunning offers tips for "sitting deep" on your cutting horse.

Question:

I just started cutting and have a great older and finished cutter who's been there, done that.  I have a terrible problem leaning forward in my saddle instead of "sitting deep."  What does sitting deep mean?  What is the "cutter's slump?"  Every time I try to mimic what I see, I'm all over in the saddle.  It frustrates me so, and I've tried rolling my pelvis, etc., but it doesn't seem to work.  Pushing on the horn to press my butt back in the seat seems to be a disaster, and relaxing my shoulders makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Can you help me out?

-Kelly

Answer:

Hi Kelly,

This problem is not uncommon.  Riding a cutting horse's dynamic moves is even challenging for the top riders. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Be sure your horse is completely stopping before turning or dropping down on the cow.
    • Keep your horse collected when practicing.  Experienced horses will try to overwork and not keep in proper form if allowed to work without being in frame.
    • It is better to work a mechanical cow than sour cattle that cause your horse to lose his crisp stops.
    • Sit near the front of the saddle, shorten your stirrups, toes out and never take your eye off the cow.
    • Hold the horn relaxed, then cock your wrist when the horse stops or moves hard.
    • Remember: "One muscle tight, all tight!"

Oh, and did I say "Never take your eye off the cow?!"  That will help you keep your balance and stay in sync with your horse.

Ride well and be happy!

-Al

Learn more about Al Dunning and his horse-training programs.