There are many advantages to riding your green, problem or western horses with the concept of "hunkering down" in mind. For many talented riders, this comes naturally and easily. But, for others, it is definitely not natural - but it can be learned!
Many riders, even advanced riders, can tense up thus lightening their seats and going slightly forward in the saddle. This sends the message to the horse that you are no longer in control and that you are unsure of yourself (or, let's be honest: that you're nervous).
Hunkering down has many advantages. It's a safe position to be in if a horse does blow up because you're behind it's motion. It also places your weight over a horse's loin, a weaker part of their back, which can make it hard for them to balance but much more willing to move forward - away from the displaced weight. Many horses that have been ridden this way will quit being naughty and bad the moment you hunker down and lean back on them. They accept whatever you are asking of them more readily.
Just plain hunkering down on a horse can really help to drive them forward because now you're pushing with your seat as well as driving with your legs. I hope this concept helps in your next ride! See you next week, JD (And congratulations to all my riders who "hunkered down" to achieve some great Trail scores this weekend at the Rally in The Valley show in Eugene, OR!)