The first clinician we stopped to watch was John Bozanich, a reputable saddle maker. TM owns one of his older saddles and finds it quite comfortable. She has had some trouble getting the underside padding re-done which has caused her some frustration. She also questions the value of a saddle that needs the underside padding replaced so frequently.
Bozanich, often referred to simply as BOZ, is a charismatic fellow, but his ideas are quite polar from what is taught in classical dressage. His catch phrase is, We ride on our feet, not on our seat. In his saddle design, the stirrups are placed far forward so that when the rider stands, his legs are underneath him. Here is a photo of a typical Boz saddle that I borrowed from his website.
I never quite understood his explanation of how this all comes together as his instructions to the the riders were simply post him into the canter! It appeared as though the riders were leaning forward and standing, and then they squeezed the horse to canter but not by placing the inside leg at the girth and the outside leg behind. From what I could tell by watching, it seemed as if the horses simply "ran" into the canter. I think the riders were cueing the horses to canter based on whether they were on the "up" of the rising phase of posting trot. Since the outside leg is forward at the rising trot, I think this is when they cued for the canter.
Much of his teaching puzzled me. Of course. I think that one of the issues that he is trying to address is that many western saddles put the rider in a chair seat which makes it difficult to get your legs underneath you when you rise. His saddle design seems to exaggerate the chair seat though, and I am not sure how you could stand up and get out of the saddle without kind of hunching over, which was how most of the riders appeared to be riding. Sorry about the lack of photos. It was dark under the covered arena and my iphone wasn't up to the challenge.
In any case, the Bozanich method of changing a lead, or simply picking up the correct lead, seemed very odd to me. I think I'll stick with the image of lifting into the canter like you see on the first picture of the little canter diagram above. But hey, to each his own. If the Bozanich riders get results riding his way, more power to them.
More on the other two clinicians as the week rolls on ...