Suggestions on my rising trot - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-04-2011, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Suggestions on my rising trot

Any suggestions on how to keep your heels down when doing a rising trot? My riding instructor says that this is my only problem. Im great with rhythm considering the horse i ride is extremely bouncy. Ive not had too many lessons but my instructor says my position in the saddle is natural and im confident. Any suggestions on how to stop your groin aching after trotting, i only seem to ache when i ride april because her trot is so bouncy. Ive ridden other horses and not had this problem. But aprils a sweetie and im growing fond of her :) x
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-06-2011, 03:48 PM
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If your groin hurts after riding April, its because she's making you work harder. ;)

When you're heel comes up when posting, it can be for a variety of reasons.

First one would be to make sure you have the correct stirrup length. For flatwork, the stirrup should touch at your ankle bone. For jumping, a few holes shorter. If you stirrups are too long and you're trying to post, you're heel will come up as you compensate for the long leathers by posting by the toes of your feet.

Another reason is that you are just not posting correctly. Your instructor may call you good but anyone can call themselves an "instructor." Not saying he/she isn't qualified but there are plenty of people who think that if they've ridden a horse, they can teach someone else to do it. True posting comes from your core muscles, not your legs or stirrup irons, and should only cause your hips and upper leg to move. If you heel is coming up when posting, you are not efficient and correct in your position. Have your heel down, but definitely not forced, and allow the weight and energy of your body to flow through your heels.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-06-2011, 04:48 PM
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riding with your stirrups a hole or two shorter than you normally do, usually helps keep your heal down and make you more secure.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-12-2011, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thankyou :) il adjust my stirrups when i ride on wednesday! I thought they were a little too long last time my foot didnt feel so secure. My instructor showed me a way to measure them from your arm pit to your wrist...i dunno if thats right or not?
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-12-2011, 10:44 AM
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I use the "armpit to wrist" as a general adjustment from the ground when I'm not using my own saddle, except I do armpit to the end of my fist. You'll definitely want to adjust again once you're in the saddle though. As a general rule, the trainers at my barn have stirrup lengths adjusted so that the bottom of the stirrup hits your ankle bone.
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-12-2011, 11:05 AM
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Another possibility is that you are rising too far. My youngest daughter does that, much to my annoyance (and the horse's, sometimes). Unless you plan on jumping, all you need to do to relieve the horse's back while trotting is take the weight off your rear. My goal (I don't jump) is to post without having my jeans leave the saddle. I usually use an Australian saddle, so dramatic posting is kind of out of the question anyways.

Also, IMHO as a fellow beginner, if you are putting weight on the stirrups to get you up, you're posting wrong. The horse's back moves you up, and the only tension is in slowing your return. When I think of it that way, I don't put pressure with my legs, which means they don't tighten up and I simply don't bounce as much. I prefer to think of posting as a modification of sitting the trot, rather than an activity I do to avoid sitting the trot. It helps me if I think of posting as a passive thing, rather than something I do.
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-12-2011, 09:50 PM
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I apologize for jumping in, but I am also trying to learn to post. It sounds like you are not supposed to tighten up your legs when you post. I understand the part about letting the horse's bounce toss you up a bit, but I do not really get how I am supposed to make the descent gentle instead of thumpy. Am I supposed to pick up my weight in my legs when I get to the top of the rise? How do you actually make a gentle landing that is also *fast* (the speed is a huge issue for me - my instructor is giving my "up down up" cues, but they go a lot faster than it seems like my weight is going). How do you do this without squeezing the horse or saddle with your thighs?
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-12-2011, 10:13 PM
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when i was having this problem my instructor had me to some stretching excises to get my heal down even farther, try standing on a bottom step(with a rail to hold on to) and sinking your heals as low as they can go. I do this often and it has really improved my overall leg position, when my heals are low it makes it much easier to post correctly.
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-13-2011, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by serafina View Post
I apologize for jumping in, but I am also trying to learn to post. It sounds like you are not supposed to tighten up your legs when you post. I understand the part about letting the horse's bounce toss you up a bit, but I do not really get how I am supposed to make the descent gentle instead of thumpy...
Some of it depends on your goal. If you jump horses, or want to, then someone else will have to answer. For general purpose riding, you rhythmically put some weight in the stirrups to slow the descent. The more weight in your stirrups, the less in your rear when your rear contacts the saddle.

Momentum is my enemy in this. If I post high, then I have a longer way to come down, and I have to apply more pressure to keep from falling into the saddle. That is why I like a minimal post - the less I go up, the less I come down. If I have a shorter distance to come down, I'm less likely to PLOP into the saddle because my rear doesn't have a chance to build up speed. It also allows me to post faster, since there is less motion between beats. The shorter the distance my butt travels, the sooner it can complete the trip.

Without stirrups - I'm a beginner and have only done this a couple of times. I do practice at times putting the least weight I can in the stirrups. That requires some squeezing with the legs (preferably the thighs) to provide some friction to slow the descent down. But I haven't tried it enough to give advice on how best to do it.

Also, heels down is good, but it isn't the end all of riding. As my feet approach the line of my hip, it becomes almost physically impossible to get my heels past level. Since I normally ride in a mild chair seat, that isn't usually a problem. A forward leg will help lower the heel, but you are fighting gravity any time your stirrups aren't hanging straight down.

If I try to force my heels down, I put a LOT of tension in my leg, start bouncing, and things go downhill fast. A relaxed leg (not a sleeping leg - some tension is good) is more important than lowering the heel another 1/4".

All advice from someone in the learning stage himself...
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-13-2011, 09:51 AM
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There are a lot of exercises that can help with keeping weight in the heels during rising trot. For all-around better leg position, try coming up into a 2-point position and holding that, first in walk, moving up to trot and canter as you get stronger and more secure. Even western riders can benefit from this exercise. In a correct 2-point, the lower leg position shouldn't change from your normal seat. If you need to move your legs around to find your balance from regular to 2-point, your regular seat is off. As you come back out of 2-point, think about maintaining that balanced, grounding leg.

Another thing that can help is re-visualizing the movement. Don't think "up-down" or "stand-sit," but try thinking about coming forward and back with that inside hind leg. It isn't a vertical change, it's more of an elliptical circuit, if that makes sense. In terms of a crazy visualization, I like to feel it like a giant spring hooked to my belt buckle and extending out and up in front of me. That sort of visualization keeps the rise coming from the core, not from the legs and stirrups.

If you have the posting coming from properly activated core muscles, you'll find it easier to regulate that down-stroke and not slap down on the saddle. I expect another culprit in that problem might be posting too high. Never do more work than the horse is in terms of rising trot; posting higher or faster than necessary is going to offbalance everyone, and contribute to posting off of the legs instead of the core. Posting without stirrups will help this habit a lot - even jumping riders only need to get away from the bounce and ride with the motion of the inside hind (outside fore) leg, not see how far they can get their bum from the tack each stride.

A phenomenal strength-builder is to try holding a 2-point position or doing a rising trot without stirrups. Either of these exercises will force you to use the correct muscles and adopt correct lower leg position. If you don't have the right muscle/position, you physically won't be able to do either. It will take a while to build the strength to do it for very long, but it will come. Try starting with 3 strides at a time, and add strides as you feel stronger and more stable.

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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