sitting trot - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-20-2010, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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sitting trot

Hi all Im a beginner adult rider who has been learning to ride for several months now. I feel pretty comfortable posting the trot but I cannot seem to do a sitting trot. My instructor told me you just eventually feel it out and to stay relaxed and just move my bellybutton?? which is hard to do when im a foot in the air. I just seem to bounce around, lose my grip on the horse and he just slows down to a walk. anyone have any tips on how to sit the trot? any ideas would be appreciated. thanks!
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 12:45 AM
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Ive been riding for 2 and a half years and only just learnt to sit trot (mind you this is on a thoroughbred with a built in spring component)

I ended up trying it without stirrups for a few strides and then adjusting my stirrups to about where my ankle sits on horses side.

With my stirrups i would just get bubbles trotting slowly and sit going into the trot for as long as i could keep my balance (like 2 seconds to begin with), then post again until the next time i tried.

I also found that while i can hardly sit the trot on my horse, I find it a whole lot easier on some horses, like a 3/4tb 1/4 WB mare i trialed, just sat there practically.

To be able to sit trot on my horse, while im actually in the saddle (which is difficult on her) i kind of push my pelvis forwards with her up movements and sit on her down movements, its hard to explain but i feel the trot through my pelvis anyway.

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 01:01 AM
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Have you tried putting your hand under the pommel? Grab the pommel with one hand and put your reins in the other. My instructor had me do this a couple of times. It pushes your pelvis into the right position for sitting the trot and helps you get a feel for it. I haven't had a problem since!
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 01:15 AM
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Riding without stirrups is the answer. While it is scarry at first and you need to hold the pommel (the lump at the front of the saddle) you will learn to balance, and once you do, you can sit the trot.

I used to worry that I had to sit still, until I reminded myself by watching dressage videos of world class level riders who do not sit still, and I realized I was asking for the impossible. So relax and try riding without stirrups, although it might be easiest to do this on the lunge with someone you trust so you don't have to worry about control as much as your own balance.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 02:44 AM
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If you can slow the trot down a bit, you might find you can sit it easier. I slowed my mare's trot down to a western jog. This helped. Once I got the rhythm at the slower pace, it was easier to sit the trot.

"SUCCESS is not what horse you have . . . but what you do with that horse."
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post #6 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 07:17 AM
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Here's what worked for my students -

The first thing that needs to happen is that you need to understand how the horse's back moves at the trot - try watching an unsaddled horse on the lunge line. As a hind leg comes forward and pushes off, the back on that side rises and the opposite side drops. If students have trouble seeing it on the lunge line, I would call my dog into the ring and have them watch the dog's back as it trotted to demonstrate the concept.

If you grip and try to hold yourself still against that motion; you'll just beat yourself and the horse up. (That's what many riders do sitting the trot. Now locate a drawing or a model of the human skeleton and locate the seatbones or ischial tuberosities. Then find your own seatbones - they're not where you think they are. Do this in privacy as you'll be groping around your crotch and butt trying to find those bony prominences. It's okay - you need to have a clear idea in your head exactly where the are because in the saddle, you'll want to be sitting erect but relaxed, with your seatbones pointed straight down.

In order to sit the trot, your seatbones must follow the motion of the back that you observed on the lungeline or on the dog. As one side of the horse's back sinks, the seatbone on that side must sink with it and the other side must rise as the back rises.

It does help to have a slow, steady trot and to be grasping the pommel to pull your seat into the saddle if you lose the following motion.

Another problem novice riders have is that they've been working very hard on developing muscle strength in their legs; and gripping with the legs is the enemy of sitting trot. You can actually pull your entire leg away from the horse's side and just feel the trot in your seatbones. Gripping with your leg, and espeicially with your knee and thight squeezes you up off the saddle and makes it hard to feel the motion.

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post #7 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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wow thanks guys, ill definitely try these things out. my crotch definitely has taken a beating haha so hopefully i can learn it soon. thanks again!
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 09:34 AM
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Brilliant post, Maura!!!

Relaxation is key. If you're tense in your hips, knees, ankles, etc. the movement of the trot will be resisted, rather than flowed with. Imagine "kneeling" rather than sitting on the saddle, really drop your weight down through your heels, and imagine that you have melted into the tack.

No stirrup work, as has been said, is an excellent practice method. You might also try riding in 2-point position at the trot for stretches at a time - it strengthens the legs, and may help you start to feel the movement without struggling through that unpleasant smacking on the saddle. Try 2 point down the long sides of the ring, and either post or sit along the short sides. If you feel up for some productive torture, try the exercise without stirrups!

Something else to consider as well is the position of the horse - an inverted horse (head high, back hollowed, spine tense) will be much harder to sit, and indeed, for the comfort of all involved, shouldn't be subjected to the sitting trot. It's much easier to learn and to sit the trot on a naturally smoother horse or a horse traveling with at least a level topline, if not correctly rounded.

Good luck!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-21-2010, 09:49 AM
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I learned this in Ireland and it helped. You should try this at a walk first with no stirrups since you are still a beginner rider.

On your horse, take your leg and bring it up so that it is parallel to the ground straight in front of you. Then swing it out to the left/right (depending on what leg) so that it is 90 degrees to your body....then put it down at the horses side. Now do your opposite leg. Repeat several times. This is supposed to help you relax your hip muscles and open up your hips.

When the coach had me doing it, I was sitting to the trot and doing both legs at once, which I found difficult, but I could sit to the trot much better after going around the arena once or twice doing it. She also told me to relax and not stiffen up because that just makes it worse. You want to go with the horse, not work against it.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-22-2010, 01:18 PM
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Here is a good video on sitting the trot.

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