Aiming For The Mediterranean Equestrian Tour 2023

How to Improve Your Riding Seat: Get a Sticky Butt

I don’t want to fall off my horse. It is undignified. And potentially painful. Plus, at my age, I am likely to pee myself on impact. Therefore, I said to myself, “Ellie, it is time to improve your riding seat.” I want to share my journey from being a “Wibbly Wobbley Woman” to a “Woman with a Sticky Butt”. And, no. I do not have problems with my anal glands.

Over the years, I have made it my mission to stick to that old horsey adage: “Always keep your horse between you and the ground!” Mostly, it worked. But I had two nasty accidents in quick succession that resulted in a loss of confidence. I got the confidence back. But before I did, I seemed to have developed some pretty odd riding habits.

Being a bit of a goal-setter, I plan to be an international showjumper before I am 60. If this is going to happen, I need to do something about the following faults:

  • my wobbly lower leg
  • my tendency to lean too far forward over jumps, and
  • my inability to sit back up after the jump, which means I am leaning even further forwards by the time the next jump arrives

In my last Amateur 2 class (1m10)…

…how I was not sitting on his ears by the end of the course is anyone’s guess! Thankfully, Lotus is a point-and-press sort of horse.

Then my coach buggered off to live in Belgium so she could play with lots of lovely Belgian Warmbloods in posh surroundings, with access to riding on the beach. And reunite with her high-achieving, show-jumping daughters. How inconsiderate! Who was going to help me improve my riding seat now?

Google. And Facebook.

There are loads of articles on how to improve your riding seat. And millions of videos on YouTube too. So I subscribed to anything and everything to soak up all the free training I could.

Too much information is not necessarily a good thing. I am easily confused these days. My menopausal brain is more walnut and less sponge.

The Universe WILL Provide

Improve your riding seat
Working on keeping that lower leg still. Can you see it move?

Then this random woman kept appearing in my Facebook newsfeed. The same woman again kept popping up on YouTube. I know it was those mystical algorithms and not magic.

But, she appeared again in an unlinked context as a website aimed at female horsey adventurers. One of their interviewers invited the author of a book I edited about some nutters crossing the Mongolian Steppes with a couple of horses and a cart, to feature in a podcast. Enter shameless plug for a friend, Ruth Cox, and Exodus. (Not an affiliate link, but a Mongolian one.) Turns out this woman had galloped across those very same Steppes while competing in the Mongol Derby. And the website was hers!

Warning! Woo woo at work. It was as if the universe was pushing me toward Krystal Kelly, an FEI Level II Coach who has worked around the world with horses on five continents and over 20 countries and who does online coaching courses. Online!! Yes! How amazing is that? Like having your own Super Coach who lives in your laptop or phone. Thank you, Covid!!

I wonder if you can have boyfriends like that. Just shove them in a cupboard until you need them next.

Fast-forward for a moment because now I have to write something I have never needed to write before.

An Affiliate Program Disclaimer! How cool is that?

Here goes …

Affiliate Disclaimer – In the interests of transparency, the law says I have to tell you I will earn a commission based on purchases made via the links within this article. (Apart from the one above to Ruth’s ebook because she is too poor and she is also my friend.) I only promote products or services that I love and genuinely believe will benefit you as riders.

Signed – Lots of love, Ellie Phant

Wow! That was easy. Every time I see Disclaimers on websites, they always seem so official and dry. I like mine better.

Since I sold my house to finance my dream of competing on the international show jumping circuit, it seemed a bit daft not to use a little of that capital to get a coach to help me get there. No point in wanting something if you will not get off your arse and go for it. And your arse is quite instrumental in improving your riding seat.

You can’t ride without a bum!

Remember doing this as a kid?
Touching Toes on Toto the Fat Unicorn

I booked a Strategy Call on Krystal’s Calendly Calendar and we chatted about The International Equestrian™ VIP Inner Circle. I was intrigued. So took the plunge. What the hell! Why not.

Some of the exercises I now include in my daily ride help you find your seat bones and to ride with a deeper seat that moves with your horse. They are great fun. And slightly bonkers.

In theory, you are supposed to do these exercises on the lunge with a responsible person looking out for your safety. I just bunged a load of jumps and string in a circle, forming a makeshift round pen in a field, and hoped the sheep would not join in too often.

How many of you remember such exercises as Around-the-World and Touching your Toes from when you learnt to ride as a kid? I am doing that sort of stuff now as a 54-year-old. I am inordinately proud that I can touch my toes and ride a horse at the same time. Multi-tasking queen!

Improve Your Riding Seat With Yoga

Toto can do yoga too
He looks a bit wrinkly, though

Both on the horse and on the ground.

The first time I heard of Horsey Yoga I had an image of a yoga mat rolled out on top of a bloody great carthorse that was being led around by a very zen person while you did Wounded Peacock Pose or Formidable Face Pose upon his back. The horse’s back. Not the zen person’s. That would be slightly more tantric.

There are two exercises in particular that I find hilarious but give you a surprisingly good workout. The morning after my first attempt was like being a beginner rider all over again. I wasn’t exactly in pain. However, I wasn’t exactly walking properly either. It made me realise that for years I had not actually been using the correct muscles for riding. What a numpty!

One exercise was weirdly difficult. The first time I tried it I thought, “This is easy!” And then Coach Krystal Kelly pointed out that my lower leg was swinging merrily away. I saw the video. She is not wrong. Chandler Bing from Friends would have said “Her legs flail about as if independent from her body!”

When rising out of the saddle I was supposed to be using my stomach and upper thigh muscles and my lower leg should remain steady. We are not performing The Lord of the Dance!

However, when I wrapped my lower calf/upper heel around Lotus to stabilise my lower leg I found it more difficult to rise. I suspect because I have been doing it wrong for so long it is going to take time to get used to doing it correctly.

It is important to have a stable lower leg to support you. Pendulum legs are a no-go! I am fine in jump seat where you are supposed to lean forwards a little. But any pose or task that requires standing upright was exceedingly difficult for me. It is much easier to do so in the trot and canter.

A Sticky Butt is a Good Thing

Standing to Improve my Riding Seat
Standing Up to Improve my Sitting Down

At the moment I am studying the module known as Sticky Butt Bootcamp. I am in Week 2 and working through some exercises that improve your riding seat by stretching your hips and loosening your thighs. Supple thighs help to wrap your legs around the barrel of your horse while maintaining soft knees. Grippy knees are naughty knees.

Some are excellent for helping find your seat bones. I video my sessions and then look at the difference in my position before and after. It is incredible. As we have regular group coaching calls I have discovered even far more experienced riders report an immediate improvement!

Loads of riders sit on their crotch. Anyone who has ridden for miles with thick denim jeans on will know that that is a recipe for a blistered clitoris. It also means you are tipped forwards and are no longer in a secure position.

The wonderful thing about this course, though, is that I can send Krystal the videos of my morning sessions on the OnForm app and she critiques them almost immediately. Like magic!

So far, I have learned that:

  • although I thought I had good lower leg contact, in fact, I did not, and my lower leg was miles away from my horse’s barrel
  • I am the bastard child of Mr Bobblehead and should be living on the dashboard of a tacky brand of car
  • I need to ride like Batman. I am not going to explain this but if you think you know the answer pop down to the comments section and let us know your theory, and
  • I don’t sit on my Button of Joy

I need to do some serious muscle memory work. Apparently, you have to SUCCESSFULLY complete an exercise more than 500 times for it to become second nature. So I am off for a 20-mile ride and will stay standing the entire time. I may require help to dismount. And a bottle or two of wine. For medicinal purposes only, mind you. I would not like you to think I am a lush.

If you too would like to improve your riding seat, or in fact, improve any aspect of your riding regardless of discipline, or level, I highly recommend joining Krystal in The International Equestrian™ VIP Inner Circle.

The Sticky Butt Bootcamp is only one module in a very comprehensive teaching system. If you want to know more you can book a Strategy Session Call with Krystal Kelly and she will chat with you about your needs and how she can meet them through the VIP Inner Circle.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Krystal Kelly Interviewed Me!

Coach Krystal Kelly asked if she could interview me. I said yes. However, I was REALLY nervous.
Ellie Phant is the founder of and is determined to compete in at least one international showjumping event before she is too decrepit to get on a horse. So she better get a move on. Time is ticking!As the author of "Tongue Clicking: Important Vocal Cue or Very Annoying Habit", she is chuffed to have inspired people the planet over to stop whatever they were doing to discover which side of their mouth was easier to click out of. This gave birth to terms such as AmbiCLICKstrous, Right (or Left) Side CLICKer, CLICK Ambivalent, or the sad CLICKless.She remains mystified as to why a writer's bio must be written in the third person.


  1. Brilliant and very inspiring post… I went straight out and did round the world for fun . KK’s online course looks fantastic. I love how accessible good trainers are becoming now through online platforms.. A game changer for riders with less time /money/transport. Love the interview

    • Thank you, Ruth. That means a lot. I am really enjoying the course. And Krystal is not just a riding coach either. She has fabulous modules on mindset, goal-setting, yoga, horsemanship, and so much more! It is like I have found myself a lifestyle coach for horsey people!

      • Ellie-I feel the same way. She really is a lifestyle coach. And she doesn’t miss a thing in the videos. I love being in the VIP group and am glad to have you as my accountability partner. Loved the article

  2. Such a great article! It is really interesting to read about the course and what you have achieved so far. I have no idea what Batman has to do with anything though … unless you are going to be riding around with a mask and a cape on!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Jo. I am glad you enjoyed the article. I am not going to tell you about Batman because I am thinking of writing a little “freebie” ebook for the best guesses. I am learning about marketing techniques to encourage people to read your blog and giving away stuff is supposed to work. So go on, take a guess. And if you win you will be sent a book that I will forget to write until next year and will no longer make any sense lol

  3. Great article and hilariously accurate for me! I too should be a bobblehead on someone’s dashboard! I’m doing KK’s audio lessons and love them. I’ve improved more in the few short weeks than I did paying for lessons for the past year. I’ll have to look into sticky butt training.

    • Hey there, Kim! Thank you. So, you are my long-lost Bobblehead sister, then. I also love the audio lessons. Did you do the Perfect Warm-Up with Red Light, Green Light? My poor horse. I deliberately missed out a few so as not to embarrass him. Poor bloke. Well, that is my story and I am sticking to it. Talking of Sticky Butt, here is the link to Krystal’s calender just in case you decide to have a go. And if you do, please come back and share your experiences with us.

    • Kim you are now one of us. I can’t believe how this course is changing my life. Not just my riding but it affects all areas of my life. Health, mental attitude, self esteem, gratitude. The whole enchilada as we say here in the southwest

    • Hi there, Grace! Always an honour to be complimented by such a fabulous published author as yourself. If you need to improve your riding why not try the Sticky Butt Method™? You can do it all online. It will be fun. Go on! I dare you. LOL


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