So I'm only doing dressage a couple times as a pick up event....But I actually placed well enough with Selena at the first equestrian team meet that I could potentially make it to state if I place just as well or better...So of course I'm not quitting now!
Anyway, I posted the trot last time and one of the critique sheets said "Would have loved to see the horse ridden at the sitting trot." so I thought I'd start riding at a sitting trot (The people who placed above me were all at a sitting trot too)
But my problem is, no matter how far I press my heels down, I have problems keeping my feet steady on this mare. She's SO uncomfortable :/ She's short strided and choppy, but my feet bounce around.
I was thinking maybe no stirrup work to try and make myself steadier?
Jamming your heels down won't help keep your leg still. It will make your pelvis and lower back stiffen, your knee will jam, your leg will become ineffective and all you will do is brace against the horses movement and everything will become a mess!
You need to soften your upper leg, allow your lower leg to just hang (if you feel yourself bouncing, instead of bracing, try to 'hug' with your lower legs), and allow your pelvis and lower back to soften and move with the trot motion. This is achieved by developing a strong core, to be able to control the movement of your lower body.
If you can get her working through her back, her steps will become longer and she will gradually develop more strength and swing, to carry you. The trot should then become less difficult to sit.
The judge should NOT be judging, scoring or placing people based on whether they are sitting or rising ay training and first levels. Sounds like an extremely unqualified judge!!! You need to present yourself and your horse how you both go best and that means rising the trot if that is how you can perform the best working trot!
Unless it is the same judge, I would completely disregard the comment and continue riding how you perform the best. If it is the same judge, then sit.
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Another reason I don't want to post unless I have to is because last time I had a bit of trouble with diagonals. I tried not to look but ended up having to, and would you look at that....I was on the wrong one!! Good thing it was only a few strides in so I just switched really fast. :oops:
Thanks guys, I'll practice!
As you correctly point out, sitting is not required in any T or 1 tests. If I got a comment like that and saw that reflected in my collective marks, I'd find a way to complain to show management. The goal being to have that judge not be invited back until he learns his job.
The one thing that separates dressage judging from hunters/WP/etc is the much higher level of objectivity required by the rules.
Disagree, mildot. If its the same judge, performing in sitting trot will then give the judge a chance to critique differently and give first hand critique to the OP, something we can't do over the internet.
As well as using the information above from Anebel and Kayty...If the horse is uncomfortable to ride in the sitting trot, you may want make sure she is working correctly from behind. I find choppier gaits are due to the horse not working its hind properly.
Once you have accomplished this, start sitting for a 20m circle, then rise, then throw in a 10m circle. Practise bits at a time within your schooling times, that way you're not exhausting yourself or getting frustrated- build it up slowly.
If the rider's equitation at trot is somehow blocking or hindering the horse the judge should make comments to that effect on the collective marks and leave it at that. Whether the problem would be rectified by sitting rather than rising is not for the judge to comment on. That is for the trainer to decide.
The judge gets to see the rider and horse peform for all of maybe four to six minutes depending on the test and the size of the school and it may be months before same rider and judge see each other again.
I think in this instance the term "judge" is being used loosely. While, yes the judge should be completely objective and not look at the rising or sitting trot if the rider, when the show committee pulls someone in off the street and puts them in the judges booth, as riders we have to play that person's game. This is obviously what has happened here, the judge is extremely unqualified, and to do well under her, you have to sit the trot. Being a stick in the mud and rising when she has clearly told the rider what will improve her score is sitting only hurts you. As I said, if it is a different judge, rise. If its the same "judge" then sit.
The last time I went to a little schooly show for some experience, I was riding against a girl on a horse with extremely flashy gaits, but little correctness, roundness or throughness. The "judge" scored the pair 5% at least higher than me even though at every other show that season, even with the most basic qualified judges, I was always at least that much higher than them.
It was a practice and I didn't go for the score, but still interesting :P so next time I ride for the woman I just need to chase my horse around in a big trot and don't ride him round or engaged for a better score hahaha! Too bad I'm a bit of a stick in the mud, but that show wasn't for qualifications.
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Anebel, funny you should say that. I was having a conversation with Kayty not long ago. It appears more and more often that horses with flashy front legs are getting high scores. When I bought my mare (and she had some previous dressage training of some sort) she ran on her front and made it look super pretty.
Now she uses her butt, she can move, I can sit to it and she's a much fitter, balanced horse.
Mildot, I can't comment on your different training levels as they are much different to my own out here, but if the judge has previously seen the rising trot, then it would be a good opportunity for the OP to display her sitting trot with the same judge to have a crit from that point of view too.
I don't know about sitting trot just to please the judge... If you (general you) look like a sack of potato bouncing all over and horse doesn't look or move comfortably I'd forget about the scores and ride the way it's most comfortable for both (given you CAN do posting trot at that level, but if you can't then it's too early to do the level anyway). In the end my horse's comfort is before the scores or ribbons.
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