Once mounted, it is important to find the right position in the saddle and one that is comfortable for you. The rider's position is called the "seat." This will not only affect your balance and comfort, but also that of the horse or pony.
To a certain extent, your position will be determined by the saddle and whether it is a suitable size and shape for you. Your own physique will also make some difference - a short person in a large saddle will find it as awkward as a large person placed on a small-sized saddle. Generally, a medium-sized, general purpose saddle is best for the beginner.
A GOOD "SEAT"
The overall aim must be to sit as still as possible on the horse and, to achieve this, the rider has to be in good balance at all times. This is called "having a good or independent seat." The rider should be relaxed yet able to stay with horse's movement. The shoulder, hip, and heel should remain on a perpendicular line, with weight evenly distributed between the rider's two seat bones.
The head must remain looking upright and straight ahead. I it tips forward, the balance will shift with it. The shoulders must be relaxed but upright and back straight, but not stiff.
These two riders are showing a good basis position sideways and front facing. The body must be straight and relaxed, head up, arms relaxed and close to sides. Heels down, hands soft.
LEG AND FOOT POSITIONS
The upper legs must be flat against the saddle
with relaxed knees, the lower legs gently resting against the horse's sides.
The hip, knee, and ankle joints must be relaxed to allow the rider to sit down
well into the saddle.
The balls of the feet should rest lightly in the stirrups, with the weight going into the heels. This will keep the heels lower than the toes, which should face forward and upward.
CORRECT LEG POSITION CORRECT HEEL POSITION
ARM AND HAND POSITIONS
How you hold your arms and hands and, therefore, how you hold the reins is very important. The reins, via the bit, are the principal means of controlling the horse, apart from the leg and seat movements and the horse will be sensitive to every move of the arms or hands.
The arms should hang down in a relaxed attitude, softly bent at the elbows with hands resting just above the withers. The fingers should remain loosely rounded inward with the thumbs uppermost.
The hands hold the reins between the fourth
and little fingers, allowing the reins to come up through the palms between the
thumbs and first fingers. The contact should be light and relaxed. A
well-schooled horse or pony will respond to the movements of the fingers and
wrist. The diagram below shows how to hold both single and double reins.