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Monday, February 23, 2009

"Magic" Seat

While browsing in a tack shop the other day, I ran across a product called the "Sure Grip Seat Cover". This contraption straps onto a western saddle over the seat. It is basically the fuzzy part of the velcro and it has straps that go around the rider's legs and velcro to the part on the saddle. It looks to me like it was developed for adults, perhaps for therapeutic riding, and has been adapted as a sort of seat belt for kids. In case of an accident, the weight of an adult should be enough to detach the velcro with no problem, but children are much lighter and the velcro may not come loose.








Folks, this is NOT a good idea. I have read peoples reactions on various forums, and a good many actually LIKE them and use them for their children. I have had horses fall with me, every time if I had been strapped to it, I wouldn't be here today. Every time, I was on a horse I trusted, and every time I was not going fast. My husband has also had similar accidents and if he hadn't been able to bail out, he would have been seriously hurt or worse.




I have seen what happens when a horse takes a fall with a small child strapped to it (without a helmet I might add), it was not pretty. It was a barrel racing competition. The horse made the first turn, slipped and fell, and slid about 10 feet. It then struggled to rise, flopping around and finally scrambled to its feet with the child dangling limply from the saddle. I thought the girl was dead. Fortunately, she was simply unconscious.




I have seen these things being used to allow children (or adults for that matter) to ride horses that are far beyond their ability to manage. If a child is not able to handle the horse they are riding, cannot keep themselves seated, and are not able to control it at a high rate of speed, then perhaps they are overmounted. The answer is not to strap them to the saddle. Try a smaller, calmer horse, and perhaps not allow them to go quite so fast. PUT A HELMET ON THEM, I don't care how "goofy" people think it looks, it can save their life. Children have many years to ride and enjoy horses, and yes, compete in speed events. Maybe it is best to let them get a bit bigger and to become better riders before allowing them to move to a bigger, faster mount. There is plenty of time for winning trophies when they are older.

33 comments:

  1. So the horse falls...child is effectively "stuck" to it...gets hurt during the fall...horse gets up and says AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! THERES SOMETHING FLOPPING AROUND ON MY BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and proceeds to run....

    Yep sounds like a good scenario for a child to be in...

    Why do people feel compelled to put kids on horses they can't handle? Ya know what my fiance's family did when his dad bought his little sister a horse she ended up not being able to handle? Got her a different horse! My fiance rides the hotter one for now and all is well. She occasionally gets very supervised and controlled rides on him and she will eventually grow into him, but for the time being she's on something she can handle *now*.

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  2. Yeah, pretty much. It amazes me that people will allow their children on big, fast, hot horses with no helmet and then strap them down to the saddle. They are then sent into the arena at a full gallop. Good grief.

    When I was little, I had an old packer of a mare. She was HUGE, but very calm and patient. I can distinctly remember falling off while riding her bareback and her stopping and giving me this look like "Sigh, now we have to go back to the barn and have someone put you back now". She was a good old girl. I can also remember having my pony take a tumble with me and had I not rolled clear and been wearing a helmet I might not have grown up.

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  3. How odd that you post this today. Yesterday I was just "thinking" about a NON-SKID saddle cover! LOL Only I was thinking more in the line of the non skid shelf liners. You don't 'stick' to it, just more to keep you from sliding. I don't believe I like the Velcro effect much. You need to be able to 'fall off' if the need be.

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  4. There are other products out there to help you with a less-than-secure seat.....suede seat savers, sticky bum pants......

    Sometimes a fall off can be a GOOD thing.
    This is actually a pretty scary piece of equipment.

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  5. This is one of those products that is so unbelievably stupid.

    I can see the great use it would get in therapeutic riding.

    But FFS don't use it because you can't sit on your horse. Take some fricking riding lessons. (I am talking to the idiots who buy this) *headdesk*

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  6. **headdesk***

    Learn. to. f'ing. ride.

    Then you don't need velcro.

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  7. Any other use than therapeutic riding on a quite horse in a safe environment with helpers is just nuts! Lawsuit waiting to happen.

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  8. I guess it's better than the videos I've seen where people literally tie their kids to the horse with rope. But not much.

    I always cringe when I see these tiny kids on big hunters taking fences (2 foot or 3'6", they both scare me) when their legs can't even touch the horse. I don't care how cute it is, or how "naturally talented" your kid is. They can be naturally talented on a pony and/or on the flat until they're actually capable of developing a seat.

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  9. Here is a thread on a Barrel Horse forum discussing them. Interesting read...

    CLICK HERE

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  10. I've always heard so-so and so has a velcro butt, but it was never literal!

    I was at a show once, and warming up in an unfamiliar arena. I still don't know what happened, but one minute my mare was doing a lead change; the next, she was sliding across the arena on her side. I was sliding the opposite way. Had I been attached to my saddle, my leg would have been crushed.

    She was fine, and we ended up second in our division.

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  11. I remember awhile back there was a website selling something kind of like this. I believe it straped to the saddle and then wrapped around your thighs with velcro. They claimed it would come undone but it didn't look like it. There was a video of a guy riding a bucking horse. They kind of marketed it to green riders and for riding green horses. I have tried to find the website since but haven't been able to since I can't remember the name of it.

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  12. I've seen this thing before. Blech. Besides, thighs expand when you sit astride, and I'm willing to bet anyone dumb enough to use these probably isn't smart enough to account for that and then spends the whole time wondering why the damn things are so uncomfortable. Not that it looks all that comfortable to begin with.

    What really scares me is that people see stuff like this, and that "Eezee wean halter" that Fugly had up a week or two ago and think 'What a great idea!"

    One of my favorite quotes is actually from Dr. Laura, not at all horse-related, and yet so very appropriate:

    "Quick fixes, by their nature, fix nothing. That's why they're repetitive."

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  13. Even the weight of a small child will pull the velcro apart. I don't think there's much velcro out there that will hold more than 10 pounds.

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  14. No, it won't. I have seen it not pull apart. See the part in my post about small child dangling limply from a horse while using one of these.

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  15. People who need velcro on their saddles need to seriously rethink their riding. They need to slow down and work on getting a solid seat before anything else. And its easy to learn and work on! I may be an english rider, but i think i might know what im talking about.

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  16. I am CONSIDERING the velcro seat for my daughter. I can see everyone's strong opinions against it completely. My daughter is not overmounted (unless you count the fact that she's on a 15.2 hand horse and she's almost 6 years old). She handles fine on the horse and doesnt need "lessons," or to "learn to ride," she does JUST fine. I am considering simply bc of the the extra peice of mind for me. Accidents can always happen with large animals and I dont like the thought ofher flying off and getting seriously injured. YES the horse could fall w her and her not come off. But what I am currently debating on is, is that risk greater than the risk her her breaking her neck coming off in some other accident that may occur. I just think it's not the !!!CRAZIEST!!! idea ever put out there. And Ive ridden most my life.

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  17. Please....Take it from someone who is handycaped and does not use anything to hold me on,this is a bad idea.I have come off several times and had my horse go down on me in water and on dry land,if you are stuck to the saddle and go down in water you are hurt.Even on land you are hurt i you cannot roll away or scramble out of the way,as i have done from my ole mule to a 15+ hand arabian.
    If you feel you have to use a seat belt to ride then get a slower ride or take lessions or please think again.I do not think this is a good thing,tacky pants or tacky seat that was sold a while back for barrel racers is ok as it helps with slick saddle seats,bit i do not want to be attached to my horse and it spook,fall or just act stupid sometime and i get crushed or hit by a tree limb,or some other thing.Think before you get this.I for one do not want it,even if i am what people call handycaped,I am 4ft2 and i ride endurance.I took lessions and learned the correct way to fall.Please use a helmet,It does save lives.I am pictured with a hat on but i do wear a helmet.The horse is a 29yo and was a great parade horse,east to ride.
    Kathy-Wind Spirit Arabian horses and Welsh Ponys.Texas

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  18. I truly love how very closed minded people can be. You're so high & mighty that you would automatically think someone using this would be a bad rider. I promise you I could ride circles around many of you without the straps & even with being handicapped. I have MS & I use one, only for barrel racing because my mare is a freight train power house. She scares the shit out of anyone who trys to run her, myself excluded & I'm referring to several seasoned barrel racers & one world champion Barrel racer. If you had ever used this you would know that a fall will release the velcro. It's not SO secure that it wont open up under the force of a fall. However, I would not recommend it for kids unless they are big enough & weigh enough. I am 5'4" 108 lbs & it will most certainly allow me to fall if need be. It's not a "seat belt" it's far from a seat belt. That would be like tying yourself onto the saddle, this is not anything like that... Walk in someone elses shoes before you judge them. Martha Josey herself used them in competition after sustaining significant injuries which left her without full strength in her legs. It's not a "Seat belt" & it doesn't make a bad rider good! lol It gives people like myself the confidence to barrel with limitations. I would like to see how some of you folks would handle what I deal with on a daily basis & still ride like I can.

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  20. I just got this tirade from i assume a teen girl.So i felt i just had to share it.I will make sure she send me no oher emails by blocking hrt from my email.I assume the group modirator will do the same.


    Flag this message[Tacky Tack of the Day] New comment on "Magic" Seat.Saturday, September 4, 2010 4:03 AM
    From: This sender is DomainKeys verified"RideIt2SlideIt" Add sender to ContactsTo: ridgerunnerme@yahoo.comRideIt2SlideIt has left a new comment on the post ""Magic" Seat":

    I truly love how very closed minded people can be. You're so high & mighty that you would automatically think someone using this would be a bad rider. I promise you I could ride circles around many of you without the straps & even with being handicapped. I have MS & I use one, only for barrel racing because my mare is a freight train power house. She scares the shit out of anyone who trys to run her, myself excluded & I'm referring to several seasoned barrel racers & one world champion Barrel racer. If you had ever used this you would know that a fall will release the velcro. It's not SO secure that it wont open up under the force of a fall. However, I would not recommend it for kids unless they are big enough & weigh enough. I am 5'4" 108 lbs & it will most certainly allow me to fall if need be. It's not a "seat belt" it's far from a seat belt. That would be like tying yourself onto the saddle, this is not anything like that... Walk in someone elses shoes before you judge them. Martha Josey herself used them in competition after sustaining significant injuries which left her without full strength in her legs. It's not a "Seat belt" & it doesn't make a bad rider good! lol It gives people like myself the confidence to barrel with limitations. I would like to see how some of you folks would handle what I deal with on a daily basis & still ride like I can.

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    1. I agree with her, I started competed at 15 yrs old and 60 pounds. Being small is NOT a handicap! I am still tiny and have a mare I am breaking who is 16hh and 1500 pounds!

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  22. I have ridden pwoer horses,back in the 50' and 60'a before you had knee pads and elbow pads,my knees are shot due to getting banged on a barrel,I have ridding rodeo,worked cattle and jymped horses as well as did dressag,I traine my own mounts and i have been in the saddle since i was 4,now i am 57 and still out riding,Not just trail but endurance,100 mile ridr over eveything.I am working on trying to go to the trail of tears ride,over 1 thousand miles.So do not judge us till you have ridden with us.
    Wind Spirit Ranch
    Texas

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  23. As with all products, this one can be abused & mis-used. However, with horse knowledge and common sense this product is very effective with small children. No matter how gentle the horse, there is a rocking motion in the saddle at a walk. By using this product it can help keep a small child in the middle of the saddle instead of on the ground. Any horse rider out there knows the majority of horse accidents are from falls. Yes, I have seen a few accidents from the saddle, but majority from falling to the ground. I understand you watched a girl get knocked out velcroed to the saddle when the horse fell, but she could have also been trampled to death when the horse stood back up. You are always safer on the horses back then falling to the ground. This is where the horse knowledge and common sense comes in. I would hope the parents would keep their small child in a closed environment when riding the horse, so the horse could not take off with them before you could reach them.I lead line a lot of kids on my horses in a round pen and they absolutely love it without sliding off the saddle, because of the velcro seat. Anyone that puts an unskilled rider on a barrel horse and lets them run barrels are the ones at fault. It has nothing to do with the velcro seat, you said so yourself. The accidents usually occur when the rider doesn't match the horse. I would think your opinion would have been directed more towards helmet safety and horse knowledge.

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  24. My daughter just turned two, and loves to be on the back of a horse. I have been thinking of getting her a magic seat just so I will feel more comfortable, bc she loves to wave an let go of the horn. She only rides with me leading her around.. would it be a good investment.?

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  25. Horses don't like to fall and do their best not to. They are great for kids competing that can't reach the stirrups or are being led.

    My little sister and her classmates are handicapped. I used to use one for my little niece and nephew for playdays (lead line)... They worked great and my horse is a puppy.

    I worried more about my new or nephew falling in a trot than the horse falling... Their legs are short enough that in the event of a horse falling, they are NOT likely to be smushed.

    I loved using them and am trying to find one where I live now to used for my sister and her classmates.

    If you are still worried, show your child how to undo them in the event of an emergency and stay CALM!

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  26. Everyone that rides needs to remember - if you are not a good rider in the 1st place - don't use one to compensate - get lessons that is not the intended use. I have ridden and competed all my life and I had hip issues and needed to use one until they were resolved. I never felt TOO stuck and they kept me competing. Until you are in that situation you don't know what you will do to keep riding and if you would rather quit than use one - YOU need definitely need to quit riding.

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  27. Everyone that rides needs to remember - if you are not a good rider in the 1st place - don't use one to compensate - get lessons that is not the intended use. I have ridden and competed all my life and I had hip issues and needed to use one until they were resolved. I never felt TOO stuck and they kept me competing. Until you are in that situation you don't know what you will do to keep riding and if you would rather quit than use one - YOU need definitely need to quit riding.

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