I am a good student - I listen, and I try to do exactly what she asks. For this lesson however, I found myself getting a bit grumbly as I WAS doing what she asked for, but it still wasn't right. I finally just stopped Austin in his tracks and showed her what I meant.
Within moments, we both laughed because I realized that we were using the same vocabulary but the words had totally different meanings when applied to a dressage seat and a hunter seat.
I showed her what sit up means to me. Look at the 'Upright Seat' - that's sitting up. JL then understood my problem and searched for a way to explain what she wanted. We discussed pelvic position: I wanted to tuck my pelvis and be on my seat bone, but she said for a hunter seat, I need to tip it forward. WHAT?!?!!?
So I did.
Rather than sit up, which to me means sit back, she asked me to lengthen my spine. Oh .....! Basically, she wanted me to do squats above the saddle. Stand up and try it. You cannot do a balanced squat if you keep your back straight up and down.
By bending your knees slightly, you adopt the posture of the picture on the far right. In fact, with knees slightly bent, you can easily roll your pelvis underneath you and even sit back farther.
To achieve a hunter seat, you have to squat down deep in your knees which means tipping your pelvis forward. Your upper body is pointing at an angle rather than at the ceiling. So when JL asked me to lengthen my spine, she just wanted me to get the roundness out of my back and flatten it.
So really the "Forked Seat" image isn't all that incorrect for a hunter seat; that rider needs more bend in the knees, and the spine needs to stretch forward to take the curve out of the lower back, but I think the pelvic angle is pretty correct. At least, that's how it felt while I was riding: deep squat through my seat and legs with weight on the balls of my feet, looking up with a flat back and opened chest.
For the photo above she did tweak on it just a little bit, but since my leg was in a pretty good place, she dropped both stirrups one hole. I fell apart.
It's amazing what one inch can do to your balance, but after only two or three weeks of this kind of leg position, I am still not strong enough to hold the position with the longer stirrup length. Since she didn't want me to be ineffective, JL returned the stirrups to where they were.
For the last few minutes of the lesson, she had me canter Austin over a pile of two poles. It was ridiculously fun, and Austin loved it! The whole time that we had worked on my position, we ignored his stiffness and didn't worry about any kind of a frame. I simply kept him pointed in the correct position as I played around with my position. For me, it was quite challenging. For Austin, it was thirty minutes of extreme boredom.
Even when I asked for the canter, he harrumphed about it until he saw the poles. I've never really ridden a jumper before, so it was great fun to see him lock on to the poles and relish the process of popping over them. He gave a few exuberant bucks and head tosses once he was on the other side, but my seat and balance are more than good enough to ride them out. No offense, Austin, but Speedy's got a much bigger buck.
It was a lot of fun to change up the flat work. We'll see how much more I get to do now that Speedy's back in the rotation.