I have problems relaxing and flowing with the horse during sitting trot.
My coach constantly tells me to relax but i cant seem to do it without bouncing out of the saddle
I'm better at it with no stirrups, but with stirrups i fail epically
It sounds like you're bracing against the stirrups or pinching with your knees. Maybe your stirrups are too short?
even without stirrups i still manage to bounce around.. how can i loosen myself up?
The sitting trot is really tricky until you manage to loosen up your hips. The best way is to spread your thighs and sit a little bit behind the vertical and try and follow your horse's movement with your seat bones.
It'll be much harder to sit the trot on a horse that is hollow and isn't rounded and relaxed.
What helped me was doing hip circles before I got on the horse as that loosened me up and made it easier to feel my seat bones moving back and fourth. And any pre-riding stretches are great so you aren't tense when you get on.
It's a process, it won't happen right away but you'll get closer to it each time you ride.
And some horses are easier to sit-trot than others.. it helps to have a nice slow trot at first.
Also watch that your knees aren't clinging onto the saddle. Horses are like a bar of soap, the harder you squeeze and fail to relax, the easier you spring up and are likely not to absorb their movement.. so you just bounce around like popcorn.
Here's a vid to help with some problems riders usually have, you may find it useful:
the bar of soap reference is really good. I'll try it :) does anyone else have any other ideas for stretches i can do before hand?
Try bareback lunge lessons using a vaulting surcingle, if someone has one. You hold onto the handles, and just close your eyes*, relax, breathe. Start at a walk and just feel out the horses movement. And as you pick up the trot, concentrate on dropping the front of your pelvis with each step. Having your instructor just cadence out when to drop your pelvis gives you an idea of the timing as you learn the feel of it.
*important, keep your eyes close, because your sight does distract you. You don't have to worry though, you are on a lunge line, and not going anywhere but in a circle. It's pretty cool to experience too.
At first, you use the surcingle to pull yourself to the horses back, forcing yourself down. You'll actually be pulling yourself into the horse, so you won't be going anywhere lol. As you get more confident, relax your hold as your body learns to follow the horse. And keep practicing until you can ride the trot without holding onto the surcingle.
Your arms will hurt. Your abs will hurt. Tough it out. :-P
I had a great improvement after just one half hour lesson like this. My instructor only does half hour lunge lessons because they take so much out of horse and rider trotting or cantering in constant circles.
I find that sometimes it almost feels like you're thrusting forward with your pelvis a little bit...like when you're swinging (take yourself back to when you were a little girl for a moment!), and you pump to get yourself to swing higher...it's almost like little pumping movements over and over again. That's kind of how I think of it anyway when I'm doing it!
Something else I tried when I was having your same problem...I stopped using my legs altogether. I took them out of the stirrups, and just laid them down dangling on my horse's sides and then did the sitting trot without allowing my legs to grip her sides at ALL. It literally forced me to use my core/seat to stay centered on her back.
And whoever said bareback work...that is something not many work on, but it's a VERY valuable training tool especially for the sitting trot!
I have gotten better at sitting trot already just by doing circular movements with my hips before getting on the horse. I think sitting trot is one of those things that gets better with time. I will also try doing it with my eyes closed to releive my mind of any distractions.. cant wait to try all these out
Work on your core muscles, also. Strong core muscles are required for good balance, and when you have good balance you are naturallly more relaxed when you ride regardless of the gait.
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