From day one of your horse riding career you want to practice good posture. Your posture influences several attributes of your horse riding experience.
Slouching in the Saddle
Slouching in the saddle. This bad habit will put you off center of the saddle. You’ won’t be centered in your seat, and the horse can feel this imbalance and sometimes act on it by moving in a fashion to try and counter balance your off balance. The horse may outright not obey because you feel askew on his back so the horse will get a sense of something is wrong and find his way back to the safety of his paddock or disobey your commands.
In a horse show you will definitely lose points if you’re not seated in an upright position with your head up, and shoulders back.
Besides that, it just looks nasty. Don’t make us look at a nasty, slouchy, posture out there in the arena.
If you hold the reins above your waist, or above the saddle horn really, your hands are too high. The horse cannot give to the bit with hands held up this high. You will end up creating a high head on your horse if you continue to hold your hands this high. If you want your horse to have a soft, supple, mouth and give to the bit you must lower your hands down to the height of the horn at all times.
Toes Pointing Down
Beside the fact that your foot has the potential to slip through the stirrup when held in this fashion, you have also eliminated the ability to use your foot as a shock absorber. Your toe should be slipped into the stirrup up to the ball of the foot, just past your big toe. Then your heels pressed down. This provides a natural shock absorber when riding over rough terrain or a rough trot.
Yes, horses are strong. They are very strong. But everything has its limits, including what a horse should be made to carry on his back. The general rule of thumb for what a horse can carry is a maximum of 20% of his body weight. This includes the riders weight and the weight of his tack! So if you have a horse that weighs in at 1200 lbs (an average weight for a gelding) there should be no more than 240 lbs. of tack and human weight on his back. A saddle can weigh anywhere from 20 – 50 lbs and sometimes more. If you’re at 200 lbs your pushing the max for the horse.