Originally Posted by IrishRider
I posted this on another forum too, but since I know there are a lot of dressage riders here that have to do sitting trot regularly, I thought I would post it here as well.
So the sitting trot and I are not friends...in fact we hate each other. We don't even pretend to like each other at parties. And I am convinced that my sitting trot is what cost me the first place in my Eq. Class at this last show (I got second but whatever). And I think my trainer (although she has never said it out loud) would agree.
That being said, my horse has a lovely canter, but her trot is bouncy and I have yet to learn how to ride it sitting. I can do it pretty well without stirrups, but when I do it with stirrups, I use them to brace against and I end up all over the place. And then one thing follows the other, I get tense because I'm trying to make it "look" good and it becomes a disaster in 2.5 seconds flat. I have a month before my next show, and this one is much bigger than any of the other ones this year so I need to come prepared. My trainer says that I need to relax and almost lightly lift my contact with my stirrups but when I do that, they tend to slip back too much and I'm sure that isn't looked at as great in the ring either. 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.