Basic Sidesaddle Position

Correct position begins with a properly designed and balanced saddle that fits both horse and rider.



The beginning rider should first sit astride to center herself in the saddle.


Next, without moving her hips or upper body, she should bring her right leg over the horse's withers and let it hang naturally against the safe, ready to press against the horse's shoulder when "purchase" is needed. The foot may be carried level or with toe slightly downwards to secure the knee on the front of the saddle. There should be 1 or 2 fingers space between the knee and the upper pommel.



The left heel should be slightly down and away from the horse's side so the left knee can rest against the saddle. The stirrup leather should be adjusted so that a hand can be slid between the leaping pommel and the left knee.



The rider's hands are held on either side of the knee, with height determined by the horse's head carriage and style of riding.


Because the rider sits farther back in a sidesaddle, longer reins may be needed when riding a horse with low head or extended frame.


Shoulder's and hips should be square, and the seam in the rider's breeches should line up exactly with the center back of the saddle and the horse's spine. From behind, she should look like the proverbial "one legged rider.



The saddle should allow the rider to sit with a level thigh. This will enable her to get her weight forward onto her knee for posting, jumping or work at speed, or to use her seat bones for a driving aid.


                Care should be taken, and expert advise sought when attempting to put into practice any riding hints or suggestions contained in this web page.    

©2000 N.E.A. Sidesaddle Assoc. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

                    All photographs ©2000 OTBM