I need serious help. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 07-02-2009, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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I need serious help.

Ok so me and my horse are just starting some dressage. I had a bad experience with a dressage trainer about two years back and it turned me completely off from dressage. A friend of mine finally talked me into trying it again.

I have been doing hunter/jumper with my horse for the past 6 months or so seriously and just dinking around with it before that. I got to where my equitation for hunter was pretty good, nice low posting, good heels, arched back, leaning forward, etc. Because I was doing hunter/jumper I never had to sit the trot and am used to having short stirrups.

Well now I have to learn how to sit the trot and deal with these ridiculously long stirrups. I rode dressage for the first time in a very long time today and I royally sucked!

My friend said that my sitting trot wasn't bad, but I feel like I am bouncing alot and can tell from my shadow that at times I do tense up and start to bounce. I just can't seem to stay relaxed. My horse is a Thoroughbred with not so smooth gates, especially his trot, his canter I can handle. He was collecting nicely, we worked with collecting/rounding at the walk, trot and canter. He collects/rounds very nicely at the trot and needs some work on the walk and canter as he is used to being a jumper and not having to bother. He is trained for 1st level dressage though, he just needs a refresher.

I need tips on how to sit the trot, I can sit his jog/trot with no problems but if he speeds up I tense and can't seem to relax. Plus I already know the whole open your hips, relax into your seat, but I need something more in depth than that because that isn't cutting it.

Also being a hunter made my heels constantly shoved down, well with dressage that isn't as big of a deal. I am having a hard time keeping my lower leg still and my feet in the stirrups. I don't loose my stirrups but my feet bounce up and down in them at the trot.

So overall I am just having a very hard time adjusting from hunter eq to dressage eq. Any tips on how to make this adjustment would be great! I decided to do dressage for a while to build my horses muscle, plus work on our bond and communication skills so we are better over fences. I do plan on going back to jumping, and will do jumping about once a week or once every other week still.

Any advice is appreciated!
NordicJuniper is offline  
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-02-2009, 03:03 AM
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If you go to - interdressage.com - you can take part in monthly competitions via the internet, you can do the tests from home ( so you don't have to go all over the place ) and they are normally short so i'ts an easy way to start.
The tests are written and judged by a qualified British Dressage Judge, they also send you a scoresheet explaining your marks and another sheet that gives you tips on improving your riding.
My partner Kis Vihar has beed doing them for over a year now and really enjoys it
Nutty Saddler is offline  
post #3 of 12 Old 07-02-2009, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by NordicJuniper View Post
I need tips on how to sit the trot, I can sit his jog/trot with no problems but if he speeds up I tense and can't seem to relax. !
I am going to repost what I had posted before about sitting the trot and maybe this will help.

Have you ever watched the sport of rowing ? Way back when the oarsman would sit in a conventional static seat and used his shoulders to pull the oar through the water to propel themselves forward.

Then someone came up with a brilliant idea and constructed the seat that they sit on so it would slide. This sliding motion was more in tune with the motion the oarsmen were using and gave the person greater power over the motion of his upper body.

Think of the horses back/saddle as two sliding seats. The horse has a diagonal motion when they trot with each set of diagonals going forward alternately. What this does is move the muscles on each side of the horses spine forward and then back alternately in rhythm with the diagonal trot. What you have to do is think that you are sitting on that oarsman's sliding seat in an alternative motion....NOT and up and down motion. If you allowed each side of your seat bone to follow that sliding seat the horse offers you will also find that your legs will touch the horse in an alternating motion also.

The problem with losing the stirrups is that most riders are trying to ride an up/down motion when it is actually an up forward down back motion. If you lightened your seat and opened your pelvis,sitting very slightly behind your pelvis and allowed your legs to accept the forward back motion ( it feels to your legs like the horse's belly is swinging left/right) then when the belly swings to the left side...your left leg will close on that belly (not griping) and gently push it back to the right side with the right leg doing the same. So now your legs have a job to do and the funny thing is once you make an effort to give them a job they seem to do just fine....all by themselves.

Start slow to get the feeling then add speed a bit at a time.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-02-2009, 11:38 PM
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Well, even in hunters you should be practicing the sitting trot - I don't know if you show in hunters at all but they do ask for a sitting trot. It's just practice. If you aren't comfortable with the longer stirrups, don't use them! Work yourself up to it, but the purpose, really, of the longer stirrups is to be able to really use them, which might help you in "learning" to sit the trot again.
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-02-2009, 11:58 PM
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I always have had trouble in sit trot and still do.
they say that a good rider should be able to sit trot on any horse...

true, but sometimes its hard. =p

i find it easier, when i am sit trotting on a not so easy sit trot horse, to have them working off the bit or working low. i find otherwise, if my horses collect, there is lots of spring, and sometimes that spring throws me off balance too much.

i also sing oompa loompa, or play something in the background. i look around to... lol. i just try and relax as much. so usually i start of in my walk, completely relaxed in the saddle, music playing, myself looking at the world around me, and then i gradually fasten the walk until i get to a slow quarter horse type trot... and then it moves on from there...

it may not help you much, but i find sit trot is just all relaxation. maybe have a few lessons on a horse that has a nice easy sit trot too[questionmark] - my shift key isnt working. =p

i hope this helps, in some way..




"If you act like you've only got fifteen minutes, it'll take all day. Act like you've got all day and it'll take fifteen minutes." - Monty Roberts
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-03-2009, 12:13 AM
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Spyder is brilliant! I only just figured that out a few months ago when I finally allowed the cantle to push me into my hands rather than trying to force my back to do some type of shimmy while struggling to keep my hands and head from bouncing. Saddles are shaped the way they are for a reason.

The movement is more like the classic aerobic class floor exercise doing the "butt lift" (think Jane Fonda) using the core muscles. Pilates exercises on the ball are good, too. And visualizing rowing is a great idea! Thanks!

Also -- start from a walk and push into a sitting trot. When you "lose it" and start bouncing, return to a walk and start over. A jog is OK to begin with. As you get better, you can ask for more trot. Another thing is to find someone who can lunge you on a regular basis, maybe on a different horse, without reins or stirrups.

Last edited by chrispy; 07-03-2009 at 12:16 AM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-03-2009, 10:01 AM
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That is very true Spyder - When first learning how to sit the trot I was told to fellow the diagonal. Good post - Listen to Spyder!
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-03-2009, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I will try everything that was posted when I go ride after vacation.

I am limited to only my horse, I don't have any others to ride. so I gotta learn on him. I wish I could learn on a smoother horse first but alas, I can't lol.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-03-2009, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by NordicJuniper View Post
Thanks everyone. I will try everything that was posted when I go ride after vacation.

I am limited to only my horse, I don't have any others to ride. so I gotta learn on him. I wish I could learn on a smoother horse first but alas, I can't lol.
You CAN, we have Chili and whatever horse I lease next (probably Mocha, that pretty paint mare), you just wont... So dont even say you dont have another horse to learn on. I have tried to get you on other horses countless times, but you wont... ):
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-04-2009, 05:39 PM
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Great visual spyder! Problem is, now I'm sitting here at work scooting around on my chair trying to mimic rowing motion! I can't sit my TB's trot either. VERY bouncy. My problem's mostly weak stomach muscles, but your description helps a lot.
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