Help with my sitting trot and canter problems - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 06-03-2013, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Dasisk View Post
I have been jumping for a while now but only at a posting trot. I really want to move on to a sitting trot and then a canter.
I mean no disrespect and this is not aimed at you, but your instructor is a shining example of someone who shouldn't be teaching.

It is extremely reckless and borderline negligent to allow someone to jump before they have all of the gaits down! I can't tell you how many horses I have ridden that will trot a jump and then immediately break into the canter upon landing. You need to have full control of the horse before you take them over jumps and if you cannot properly sit the trot and/or the canter... you have a lot of work to do I am afraid before you're ready to be jumping.

Where I ride, no one is allowed to jump until they have mastered all of the gaits with and without stirrups. Then they have to demonstrate that they can two point around the ring a few times including once without no stirrups - without losing your balance once which is a lot harder than it looks! Only then are you then started over the tiniest cross rails and it is a slow progression going from there. It's not just for your safety but also the horses safety.

... and the fact that your instructor put you on a green / lesser experienced horse with your limited experience is insanity. Like I said, this is nothing against you but your instructor clearly can't grasp where you are in your riding ability and is probably going to get you seriously hurt again. If there is another barn near you, I would strongly consider taking a look with them and talk about some of these concerns so they know not to repeat them.
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post #12 of 18 Old 06-03-2013, 09:55 PM
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Post 3 strides, sit 3 strides, post 3 strides, sit 3 strides.

Or post, then sit sit sit sit walk.

Walk...sit sit sit sit post.


You need to be on the lungeline.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #13 of 18 Old 06-13-2013, 05:11 PM
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I would agree that having some lunge line lessons would be great for you! Those can really help you build your confidence back up as well as let you focus on feeling the horses movement and moving with it. If you're nervous you'll be tense and if you're tense you won't move with the horse at all - you'll be stiff and bounce against the horse which will make it uncomfortable and make you more likely to fall!

Remember that your spine has to be flexible when you ride, and it's especially important when you sit the trot. Don't mistake being flexible with slouching though! Just think that you are a part of the horse, and that your spine is moving with the horses motion.

One thing that really helped me when I was learning to sit the trot was to imagine that my pelvis was a big bowl of spaghetti (or jello, pudding...whatever you like! ;) and that I had to keep the bowl from spilling. To do that you can't stiffen up, you have to let your hips move with the horse - everything shifts around a little bit, but if you're moving correctly you won't "spill" anything! I know it's a silly thing, but it really helped me to have an image like that. :)

I would also recommend the book "Centered Riding" by Sally Swift (your local library should have it). That has a lot of great analogies (similar to the spaghetti thing) for just about all the basics of riding, and it might help you too.
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post #14 of 18 Old 06-13-2013, 07:24 PM
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I am glad that some of our jumper riders said that aobut jumping, because I had always thought that jumping comes AFTER a rider can do everything else pretty well. I am still in the "do everything else pretty well" phase. So, I don't jump.

But with regard to doing sitting trot, remember that since you have some fear issues, just do a couple of strides at a time, and if you feel you are losing your balance, go right into posting. Once you feel comfortable transitioning with ease form posting to sitting to posting and on, you'll be happy to do sitting in smaller chunks, all over the place!
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post #15 of 18 Old 06-13-2013, 07:47 PM
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Sitting the trot is tough! I've ridden off-and-on most of my life, almost daily over the past 6 months and can just now sit a big, forward moving trot. I started by learning how it feels (in a baby sense) on a Western jog. Practice sitting an easy trot so that you can relax into it, feel the movement of your hips as you sink into the saddle and the stride rocks you forward, forward, forward. If you really relax into the motion and focus, you can feel each of your hip bones jut forward with the trot (left, right, left, right).

Starting on a working trot will only make you tense up and resist the motion, which is why I say to try this on a jog first.

After you've learned to sit a "baby" trot, you can start to implement that feeling on bigger trots. You won't be able to at first, but as you build up your core and learn to really sit deep, everything will eventually click!
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post #16 of 18 Old 06-17-2013, 10:39 AM
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Before trying a sitting trot you need to have something like a bucking strap you can grab. The idea is the second you feel unbalanced (or even before) you grab the strap and pull your seat into the saddle.

Another thing is post the trot, sit for 2-3 strides (or until you start to feel unbalanced) then start posting again. After a while you'll be able to sit more strides before you start feeling unbalanced.

If you feel uncomfortable when you sit then you'll tense your muscles which will make you bounce and less able to sit. You hips need to follw, your legs needs to loosely hang down the horses side, your elbows need to open/close got forward/back to maintain the proper rein contact.

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post #17 of 18 Old 06-17-2013, 10:55 AM
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I've only just managed to 'master' the sitting trot myself and I've been riding for years though, in my defense, I was mostly self-taught.

What I find helps is a horse with a nice, smooth, small trot and a good stop. The first of those is obvious, the second is so that if you feel yourself falling, you can pull up straight away and right yourself.

The way I taught myself was to do a lot of walking stirrupless in little circles. Doing that meant I had to use my weight more to keep with the horse and its movement. I would sink my weight into my seat and tighten up my calves a little to help keep me with him. When you can do that easily, step up to sitting trot with stirrups. Push your weight right down through your seat and heels. A neck strap is great for this as you can hold on, or alternatively get a good handful of mane (the strap is better though).

Being on the lunge will definitely help - it means you can focus on the sitting rather than the going and the turning. You have no idea how long it took me to master trotting circles because I was trying to learn it all in one hit.

As for jumping - No way! I'm almost at a stage when I would feel comfortable jumping, and I'm what would be classified as an intermediate rider.
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post #18 of 18 Old 06-17-2013, 05:10 PM
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Why not trot posting then sit for one beat every stride (like when you change the diagonal) for 2 times around the arena. Then sit for an additional beat each time till you are sitting for more than a stride and can build on that.

I watched this fantastic video awhile ago that explained and affirmed to me that some horses will tense their backs when you go to sit. It makes a lot of sense, and so this method allows you to do a little sit and build on it each time to where the horse isn't tensing up.

Make sense?

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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