More lesson woes - trotting - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 02:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Utah
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I am with you about not being a risk taker and being scared. I am still trying to get over a bad accident I had almost 2 years ago. I am still nervous when I trot. My instructor tries to put it in different contexts when I get scared. Her arena at her house is completely finished yet. So the end opens up into her pasture. I was terrified of going down to that end of the arena. Finally she said, "what is the worst thing that could happen?" I had to think about it for a minute. She is like, "It's a pasture, not the highway."

When I trot I have to remind myself "what is the worst that could happen?", I know she would not put me on a horse that will buck or bolt. So "what else could happen?"

I think a lunge line lesson would be good. If you trust your instruct then it only takes practice and patience. I only trot 20 feet at a time. And I still start my lessons on a lunge line for the first five minutes. Just take it slow. It will get better.
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post #12 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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I feel you! Actually just tried doing some legitimate trotting during my lesson last night, and it didn't go as planned. I'm on lesson two, after ten years of no riding whatsoever.

I think it was more a saddle issue though. I initially thought it was stirrups that were too long, but after I shortened them, I still had some issues. I couldn't physically rise up for a post, even though I managed to do it last week in a different (smaller) saddle. I was practically swimming in that saddle! So the person giving the lessons now knows I need a smaller saddle (last week we used one that was technically smaller than I needed, but it felt much better than the big one).

You'll get the hang of trotting! Probably after some sitting trotting, you'll get the feel for how the horse moves, and also WANT to post. I automatically want to post when a horse starts trotting, so doing a sitting trot is aggravating for me, hah!
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post #13 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 04:05 PM
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Have you considered trotting in 2-point? Once you have the balance for that, posting will be more comfortable. Also, FWIW, I found this advice helpful for how to initially sit in the saddle:

It is a different approach from western. FWIW, I use a western approach to reins and tend to think English riding is best started with getting the seat and balance comfortable before thinking about contact with the bit. If your seat isn't solid, then riding with light contact won't happen.

Also, there is a wonderful invention for English saddles called a "grab strap". Some folks use the mane, but a grab strap can be nice while working on the balance.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #14 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 04:11 PM
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I'm sorry to admit to you that your post made me laugh out loud. You described PERFECTLY my own experiences with the blasted trot. I know you are frustrated and discouraged, but your description was hilarious. again, sorry.

Frustrated and discouraged? been there!! slowly improving...actually things are quite a bit better now. Some things to think about :

How is this horse's comformation? ie, is he dippy backed and,or downhill from croup to withers? This kind of conformation , which my horse is,,,throws the rider into an incorrect position which causes your balance to be off and makes a sitting trot quite a challenge. It tilts the front of the saddle down-ish. If you can shim and get the saddle more level , it helps a lot.

Some horses go more 'hollow', ie don't bring their backs up, push the nose outward..and this makes the sitting trot harder

The person's natural response to these factors , imho, is to lean slightly forward at your shoulders and lift your hands, which directly contributes to the bouncing out of the saddle , even your feet leaving the stirrups as you bounce uncontrollably. It's terrifying ! it's a vicous cycle of trying the wrong things to get your balance and control back.

So, what's helped me : get the saddle in the best position possible
keep your shoulders back
keep those heels down as you already mentioned as your baseline position, but **see pedaling below***
relax (singing, breathing)
'pedal' with your heels in time with the movement of his back feet,,up/down/up/down. Ideally as his right back foot lifts to move forward, you lift your left heel up. Your pedaling is not pushing the heel down (it should be 'baseline' down, but is raising it up, then returning to the baseline 'down' position) It might be necessary to have her call out when his right foot lifts, so you know exactly how to get in rhythm with him. When you get it right, this technique can help you sit the roughest trots. It causes your body to move more with his movements, if that makes sense. Don't push down hard enough with your heel to pull your hip way over/down to one side, just a firm but gentle pedalling is the ticket. I learned this mistake first hand trotting in my bareback pad, nearly made myself fall off ,,,but at least I wasnt bouncing....
more trotting on the problem horse. I once made sure I stuck with it for at least 20 mins of trotting and his trot got softer by the time we were done. The horse will seek harmony with the rider, if possible, I mean , it's not very comfy for them either, when we're banging down on their backs. After that, I got a better trot , more often from him. That, plus the other techniques have helped us a lot. He rarely seems to be in that bone jarring trot these days,,,or else my muscle memory, and ???whatever has occured,,,has helped.
If we ask for , or let them, stop trotting after a short stretch (natural when you dont feel safe and it's painful!!), then they're not motivated to do their part to make it better. imho.
Have you tried slowing him down, but maintaining a trot. that will make it less jarring, probably.
I feel your pain! I almost decided I just couldnt do a sitting trot on Sonny. I nearly resigned myself to always do a posting trot. But, I'm stubborn....and got help from and instructor...

Hope something I said might be helpful...
Good luck!! Hang in there!! keep us updated on your progress
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post #15 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 04:18 PM
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The selection above comes from Riding and Schooling Horses ( ).

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #16 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 04:29 PM
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I agree with stop taking yourself so seriously. You are an adult, learning a new skill. Sometimes it wont be graceful. concentrate on making your body work with you, and don't think about what others are seeing(or realistically, what you THINK they are seeing). Stop assuming others are judging you. you have the courage to learn something new, learn to laugh at yourself a little, and don't get discouraged.

The best way to learn to trot properly is lots and LOTS of practice. If the lunge is what it takes to be able to concentrate completely on learning to move with a horse properly, then do that for now.
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post #17 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Reading you description, I feel you. Really I do. I only started riding just before I turned 50 and it took me a while to understand and learn to ride thru my seat.
After total knee replacement last year/my surgery leg isn't as strong as my other leg (plus, getting it back to normal is so slow) and I'm back to square one. I still have pain when I press thru the stirrup to balance. I feel like I did eight years ago, like I'm about to fall out of the saddle when my mare trots. It will take me time to get back there and it will take you time, be patient with yourself and laugh... you just have to laugh, it keeps you from crying. I rode trails yesterday and came completely unseated once up a hill and thank goodness I was deep in the woods and my husband was the only one that saw me. We laughed until we cried. I feel I should apologize to my horse for my riding. Take a deep breath and try and enjoy the journey.
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post #18 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jmike View Post
front squats are pretty amazing for strengthing your core because it forces you to use your core to stabilize --- also strengthens your quads

Dumbbell Front Squat Exercise Demonstration - YouTube

here is a good youtube playlist on rider develpment -- there are some good concepts that you may be able to put into practice

Horse Riding Exercises, provided by eXtension - YouTube
These are some great exercises to be helping with your balance! I would suggest spending about a month or so on the longe line as you need to focus on your body and the horse's body and how they're interacting in order to get more comfortable and then you can focus on actually directing the horse. Having someone else control the direction and speed of the horse means you can focus on what you need to and there's absolutely NO reason to be embarrassed about bouncing around in the saddle while riding! It took me quite a long time to be able to sit a trot... and I very highly doubt I could do it now as it's been years since I've been in the saddle.
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post #19 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 07:09 PM
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bsms, if OP is still figuring out posting, two pointing for more than a couple of strides is is probably isn't very realistic, in terms of stamina.

The sensitivity of the internet baffles me.
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post #20 of 53 Old 10-22-2013, 08:21 PM
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^^ I disagree. 2-point is no more physically demanding than standing, apart from figuring out the balance - and a grab strap can help with that. Without the balance, posting is a struggle that seems to result in a lot of plopping down on the back.

At least, that is how it seems to me from watching family members learn. And for me personally, working on 2-point was critical for learning to feel the horse underneath me and the horse's balance. Getting my weight balanced over the stirrups was the first step in controlling my leg movement and getting steady. It may be others have had a different experience, though.
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"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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