But you just sit there!

Fellow riders, we’ve ALL run into those people who tell us, “How hard can riding really be, you just sit there and the horse does all the work!”

And we’ve all struggled to control that fiery ball of rage in our chest and politely say, “there’s actually a lot more to it than that,” instead of bursting out like we want to and screeching, “LISTEN BUDDY YOU HAVE NO IDEA.”

So to help you out, feel free to print multiple copies of this guide to hand to anyone who just doesn’t get it.


All the Things Going Through My Mind All at the Same Time at Any Given Moment During My Ride

  • Heels down
  • Toes forward
  • Not like that, your ankle looks broken when you do it like that
  • Keep the inside of your calf in contact with his side
  • Well don’t just pop your knee off the saddle
  • But soften your knee
  • Push your knee down
  • Why are you struggling so much with your knee
  • Relax your seat
  • Shouldn’t you be engaging your seat more?
  • Sit deeper
  • Lighten your seat
  • Get up out of your saddle
  • Get in the back seat and DRIVE him forward
  • Flat back
  • Don’t arch it though
  • Shoulders down and back
  • Why is JUST your left shoulder hunched? That’s super weird
  • Keep your shoulders even
  • Like your shoulders are headlights and you want them pointing straight ahead to illuminate the road
  • But still look around your turn
  • Don’t look down at the jump, you’re not trying to go to the jump. You’re trying to go OVER the jump.
  • Seriously stop looking down. There’s nothing for you there.
  • Relax your jaw, you’re getting a tension headache
  • More outside aids to help him around the turn
  • Keep your weight even in the saddle
  • Your hips are to the inside and your shoulders are to the outside. That is SO not even.
  • Close your fingers
  • Keep your thumbs on top, it looks like you’re playing the piano Mr. Bojangles
  • Get your hands up out of your lap
  • Get your hands below the level of your collarbone
  • Get your hands out of his mane
  • Go ahead and grab mane
  • Get your hands…I don’t know, just move them somewhere else because this clearly isn’t right
  • Soften your elbows
  • You look like you’re churning butter with your arms
  • Elastic contact on that outside rein
  • Play with that inside rein a little to get him to soften
  • Keep your leg at the girth
  • Except sometimes move it just behind the girth
  • But not right now, you fool
  • Use your inside leg to push him into that outside rein
  • OK now do all that but sit up straighter
  • Close your hip angle a little
  • Let him jump up to you
  • Your leg shouldn’t be that far back
  • Stop bracing your leg forward
  • Don’t pinch with your knee
  • What are you doing with your knee why are we on knees again
  • Don’t get left behind the motion
  • Elbows on top of the mane when you crest release
  • But maybe this time try an automatic release
  • Reach towards his mouth
  • Not that much, it looks like you’re making out with his mane
  • Hands too high
  • No, now they’re too low
  • Why is “towards his mouth” so hard to figure out?
  • You need to do soooooo many sit-ups so you don’t collapse on his neck when you land
  • Bend him around your inside leg through the turns
  • Except this turn, you should counter-bend through this turn
  • Gallop up to the base!
  • Hold a little to the base, why are you just running him at it?!
  • Remember your course of 13 jumps with crazy turns, if you go off course that’s $50 just to get disqualified
  • He gets slow away from the in-gate, and that line is on a bit of a hill, and Mercury is in retrograde, so make sure to consider that while on course
  • Slow down this isn’t a race!
  • Well I didn’t mean that you should trot every jump
  • I don’t care if you “don’t like flower boxes,” your job is to jump over flower boxes bucko
  • Count your strides in that line and so help me god if you leave one out
  • But that doesn’t mean you should add
  • Someday we’ll make the standard striding like A NORMAL HORSE YA DINGUS
  • Throw out “pretty” and get the job done
  • Don’t throw it out that much, you look heinous
  • Don’t be nervous, the worst that can happen is you fall and get terribly injured and your horse will never walk again!
  • Pass left shoulder to left shoulder
  • Unless you’re that girl apparently. She gets to pass however she wants. Apparently.
  • Be aware of all other horses in the warmup ring BUT KEEP YOUR FOCUS
  • Pleasedon’tspookpleasedon’tspookpleasedon’tspookDAMMIT
  • Don’t look so terrified, you do this for fun

What else would you add to this list?


27 thoughts on “But you just sit there!

  1. Aryelle Stafford 04/28/2016 / 9:26 am

    AMEN. lol, we definitely do a lot! I mean, come on, it’s a thousand pound animal under us, clearly the horse doesn’t decide on everything!


    • hellomylivia 04/28/2016 / 10:42 am

      hahaha and when the horse DOES start making the decisions, you know you’re in trouble šŸ˜‰


  2. Stacie Seidman 04/28/2016 / 10:19 am

    Haha! Funny because it’s ALL TRUE!
    I would like to add: dear lord, WHY is he running away?!?!?! And how do I stop him?!


  3. carey 04/28/2016 / 10:27 am

    I would add:
    Shorten your reins.
    But add more leg.
    Leg! More forward.
    Shorten your reins.
    Soft contact. Soften your elbows, don’t open your fingers.
    Don’t lose the contact.
    Don’t pull.
    Shorten your reins.


  4. Megan 04/28/2016 / 11:08 am

    This is great! Most of what goes through my head is “don’t touch the left rein, don’t touch it, stop it, don’t even touch it, WAIT NO DON’T LET IT GO, but don’t grab it,” it’s not very effective…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Allison Stitzinger 04/28/2016 / 11:31 am

    HAHA! Fantastic! My brain is more like “Scoot your left buttcheek over. More. Your left seatbone is LITERALLY ON HIS SPINE WHAT EVEN ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW!? Let go of the face. Let go. Let gooooooo. LET IT GOOOO, LET IT GOOOOO! LET GO OF YOUR GODDAMN REEEIIIINNNNS!”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. EquiNovice 04/28/2016 / 12:24 pm

    What bears repeating, though, is that all these things are happening while the horse is moving and you have to steer!!!! It’s so much- how do we do it?!?!?

    My team at work is having a fitness challenge and I shouldn’t have said anything but I felt like my rides should at least count the same as the “walk around the block” our admin gets credit for….but alas…”no way, you just sit there.” I wish I could transfer the muscle soreness from my lesson last night to any of my coworkers… but that’s a whole separate topic…


  7. Hillary H. 04/28/2016 / 4:55 pm

    When people say “you just sit there” I want to punch them… I’m mentally exhausted esp after lessons from all the things I’m trying to do correctly when riding.


    • hellomylivia 04/29/2016 / 7:31 am

      I will virtually back you up with the punching. Like that guy in the background puffing up and saying WHAT really loudly. Like a small little gang of angry equestrians.


  8. Courtney 04/28/2016 / 5:48 pm

    Hmm so this is what I’m doing wrong. Normally my brain is just radio static.


    • hellomylivia 04/29/2016 / 7:36 am

      Jeeez, you’re awfully good at this for someone with a static-brain!


  9. redheadlins 04/28/2016 / 6:07 pm

    This is so great! The whole don’t leave a stride out, but dammit don’t add one either, pretty much what my instructor tells me in every lesson.


    • hellomylivia 04/29/2016 / 7:37 am

      TOTALLY FORGOT THE BREATHING. Just like I forget to in real life. Womp womp.


  10. Holly 04/29/2016 / 9:44 pm

    Usually accompanied by an outside exclamation of, “…are you even listening to me? I said circle after the gate.”


    • hellomylivia 05/02/2016 / 7:45 am

      Hahahaha yes, all of this PLUS listening to your trainer….


  11. Stephen Carr 04/30/2016 / 7:41 pm

    Just.plain.brilliant (and I laughed so hard I fell off the couch. Yes, I was “just sitting there” on the couch. Want to hear what goes through my mind when I “just sit there” on the couch?)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. rachelum33 05/05/2016 / 11:44 am

    Mine would end like this:
    – Sit up sit up sit up
    – Smile at trainer as you gallop by pretending like you are not getting run away with yet again
    – Sit up sit up sit up!
    – Don’t hold pressure on the reins that just makes him grab the bit more!
    – Pull and give, pull and give
    – Exit ring, pat horse and thank him for saving your life yet again


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