Originally Posted by NordicMan
Hi - Beleive me I trust you ... How can I exercise or what should I try and concentrate my muscle activity on in my legs? The first time I tried it I tried squezing ang holding .. it worked for a few seconds, then gradual "slide"
Does it just take a lot of practice?
First off yes, this is a skill that takes lots of work and practice. It'll come but only if you work at it, don't give up! I definitely recommend working with one or really no stirrups as often as you can. Even in your "free" type rides, no stirrup work can be beneficial. Be sure someone's there at the barn in the unfortunate case of a slip and fall, that really goes for all riding though.
As for exercises when not on the horse, ( I think that's what you're getting at? If not consider some!) core strength is key in riding and having good balance on your horse. If your torso cannot support your body, you, to put it bluntly, flop more. Easy things to do are exercises sitting on and working with a yoga ball. A favorite of mine is sitting on a yoga ball instead of the couch while watching TV. You can even practice loosening up your lower back, which is key when you start working on the sitting trot, by circling your hips while sitting on the ball and striving to keep your upper body still with arms stretched to the sides. In the realm of strengthening legs, I like squats, lunges and even propping yourself against a wall as if you were actually sitting in a chair. Just a minute or two of the chair seat exercise is plenty!
While on the horse, beware of too much "squeezing". Next time you ride be sure you are sitting up straight and tall and your knees are not the part of your leg pinching to grasp your horse. This essentially creates a pivot point for your upper body to fall forward.