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Cover Photo:  This is 3 y.o. Payton experiencing his very first horse ride on his new "Connected" Mustang: Dessa. See story below.

February 2019

Editor's note:
Understanding the concept of the "chair seat" that Peggy describes in this newsletter is not difficult, but recognizing it in the photos can take some time.  I hope you enjoy this perspective and that you will ask questions if the photos are unclear to you.

Judy Good, Editor 


Table of Contents

The Chair Seat   p. 1

Coaching to Connection p. 2

CR Project: Dessa    p. 4

2020 Vision Calendar   p. 5

What's Hot!!   p. 7

Hello Connecte
d Riders

Chair Seat
by Peggy Cummings

Comment from an "on-looker": 

"Connected Riding people
ride in a chair seat".....
Ultimately, when a rider is able to allow and attain a neutral posture position, it will not look like a chair seat position. However....

Many riders beginning their journey in Connected Riding have been questioned or criticized for the appearance of not looking "correct" or in the conventional alignment of ear, shoulder, hip, and heel. 
(Continued on page 3)


It looks as if 2019 will be a good year thus far. I am excited to share my new website:

Susan Cook Coaching to Connection ®

As some of you know, I have been a life coach for many years, although I have been coaching part time as time allows with my work in Connected Riding ®. This brand name for my business began at the same time we coined Connected Groundwork ® and Connected Movement ®, so it's been in existence for about 15 years.

You may be asking what the heck does this have to do with Connected Riding ®? Well, in the early years of working with Peggy and attending her clinics, after Peggy would "connect" a rider by balancing her or putting her in neutral on a horse, the rider often had an emotional response to the Connected work at which point Peggy would say "go talk with Susan." I would spend time out behind the arena sitting with the person supporting them to process what had just taken place during the "Connection epiphany" that often follows with a flood of new feelings. Sometimes it's joy, sometimes it's sadness or guilt about what they had done to their horse, etc. As we know, horses can be wonderful teachers, healers, and bringers of awareness. 

My work as a coach in CR is to allow and support the shift of awareness and consciousness that Connection brings to a person. I have been doing this type of work for 50 years, and it is my craft and my passion. I am now returning to my early roots by doing women's weekend groups in Europe and the U.S. 

These groups are designed to provide an experience for women to tap into themselves in a deeper way, to discover and act upon deeper needs and desires that they often don't take the time or give themselves permission to do. These groups are open to all CR women and their friends, and I welcome you to attend! 

This year there are two groups offered in Germany ( contact Sandy Weller), and two scheduled in the U.S.A. thus far in McMinnville, OR, and Prescott AZ. 



"Susan has helped my students, and many friends, discover ways to break through impasses in their thinking, feeling and being. Her genius is her ability to make life changing connections with those who seek her help!"
Peggy Cummings

Contact me at:

Looking forward to hearing from you!



Chair  Seat
by Peggy Cummings
(Continued from page 1.)

What is a
Chair  Seat?

My definition of a chair seat: A rider sitting with the tipped-back pelvis with downward pressure into the stirrups that sends the leg forward. This is a very "dead weight" and dysfunctional posture on the horse's back. These types of riders commonly push into their stirrups, squeeze with their legs, and roll back on their seat bones while tightening through their upper bodies to maintain equilibrium.

What we are referring to here is not about creating a conventional static "chair seat" position. Rather, it is the process of finding a dynamically neutral position.

Is there ever a time when a
chair seat 
is ok?

When riders begin their experience of finding "neutral pelvis," their bodies go through a period of releasing bracing patterns of muscular and fascial restrictions particularly in the hip flexor areas.

The chair seat appearance may show up in a 2 or 3 stride sequence as the rider and horse find their connection and balance. In this photo the horse is "base down" which is affecting the rider's position. This rider however, is not bracing through her legs and therefore not blocking the movement of her horse. 

For most of us men  and women, the ways in which we stand and walk often add to the problem of tightness in our hip flexors, such as when we lock our knees or brace in some ways to support ourselves. It shifts our hips to a more braced position, and then we carry that tightness over to our position in the saddle. 


The desired neutral posture is attained by allowing it by continually releasing tension (vs. creating tension by bracing against movement), ensuring that our bones and joints are always free-moving.

What this means is, we don't maintain a functional riding posture by "trying to" hold a static position. It comes from allowing it, losing it, and rebalancing ourselves in a cyclical way. The same is true, of course, for our horses beneath us.

Other considerations 
that will affect 
how you sit: 

Your Saddle

The conformation of the saddle you are in has a direct correlation to your ability to be in a neutral position.  Saddles can "mold you and hold you" into a static position. 

In many cases saddles do not fit the riders' bodies, as in these photos. There are many different types of saddles on the market which put a rider into a chair seat position.

Your Conformation

Also, a rider's physical conformation as well as the shape of the horse's barrel will influence how the rider is able to sit on the horse.  

Additionally, even when a rider is sitting in a level saddle, in a neutral posture, if the horse is "base down" and on the forehand, not carrying himself, this will tend to create a slight drag on the rider's posture by blocking the rider's leg movement or leaving her slightly behind the movement. This is why the rider must be proactively rebalancing herself while the horse finds his own bounce. 
Your Horse's

Final Suggestion
Lastly, I highly recommend that riders (as well as their horses) seek out bodywork that supports the release of muscular tightness, or supports postural re-alignment as we all tend to carry tension from our unconscious postural habits.

p. 3

by Judy Good, CR Practitioner, editor

Dessa, a mustang mare, was captured from the Oregon wild country, then entered into the Teens-with-Mustangs program when she was in her first year of life. Teenager and friend, Martina, entered the program and gentled Dessa enough to put her up for auction a few months later. Dessa came to me soon after this.

At 1.5 years of age Dessa was very barge-y and pushy, especially with her chest and hugely overdeveloped under-neck muscles. The photo of her in 2015 does not show this neck but it is deceptive. Some of that is still visible in the 2018 photo. It took months of doing Connected ground exercises to diminish her bracing tendency and to build her joy and confidence as a learner. 

As I developed and started to ride Dessa, Sarah (my student) learned Connected Groundwork exercises and began to ride. Dessa became so reliable and relaxed that we put 3-year-old Payton aboard and to everyone's delight, Payton loved the ride. Sarah purchased Dessa for her growing family to include a little girl due to be born soon. Best wishes to them for a wonderful future together.

P. 4

~ Keep Reading ~


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Items in our store have been picked personally and designed by Peggy to help connect with your horse.

Black Crown Piece for your Special USA Made Halter
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