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Thoroughbred Lover 05-28-2012 02:06 PM

Sitting Trot Help!
I ride a 16hh Thoroughbred, and he can have a pretty big trot! My problem is that when I do a sitting trot, I bounce around a lot and nothing I do seems to help! Thanks for the pointers in advance!:-)

TripR3 05-28-2012 03:38 PM

I had this same problem, I rode a hoooorrribly bouncy horse and nothing I did helped me to be able to sit his trot. My instructor finally decided I was going to learn to do it the hard way - so she took my saddle, tied my reins really short, and stuck two dressage whips through the crook of my arms and behind my back, so I had to sit up super straight and couldn't move my arms at all. It was like riding in a straight jacket. I thought that riding like that bareback was going to be the death of me, that one stride would launch me into the air and I wouldn't have a prayer of landing back on the horse's back. But somehow, it worked. It helped me feel what I should be doing with my body. My problem had been that I was collapsing my core on each bounce to try to absorb the shock (I have scoliosis so bad I wore a back brace for two years, so the bounces hurt my back), and by having my core so restricted I learned to go with the motion from my hips instead. Just really try to focus on sitting up straight and letting your hips move with the bounces, and most of all don't tense up :) Tensing up makes it a hundred times bouncier!

Another thing that helped me was to sit the trot for just three strides then stop, go three strides and then sit the trot again for three strides, and do that till I got comfortable, and then start upping the number of strides I sat trotting. That helps you not tense up because you only have to do three strides, it's a lot easier to stay relaxed for just three strides than it is to just try to make yourself relax while trotting as long as you can. Once you are able to stay relaxed for those three strides you can start going longer. I did that bareback, but I think doing it in the saddle would work just as well too. Hope that makes sense and helps some!

Thoroughbred Lover 05-28-2012 03:49 PM

Thanks so much! I'll try it at my next lesson! Yeah, I think I was tensing up, so I'll try to make myself "looser". :-)

caseymyhorserocks 05-28-2012 05:01 PM

Oh yes, loosen up! Really feel your horse moving underneath you, and notice how they move sideways a bit, and each step forwards. Bareback will help as you can really feel the horse moving. And make your hips follow!

Jadedmare 05-28-2012 09:58 PM

My mare has a huge trot too and it took me a long time to learn to sit it. My coach always tells me to strive for quality, not quantity. In the beginning if I couldn't sit properly for more than three strides then that was the limit and I was to go back to posting, then sit a few strides, then post.

If you could have someone longe your horse and kick off your stirrups that might help too.

Tnavas 06-07-2012 02:47 AM

Ask someone to help you with this, as in hold a lunge line so that you don't vanish into the distance!

Take your stirrups away - it means you cannot brace your feet against the stirrup. Shut your eyes - this allows you to be moer specific when you focus on the movement. Takes away all visual distrations.

On the lunge in Walk, shut your eyes and totally focus on the movement of the horses hind quarters and allow you bottom to move softly with the horses movement.

Now move on into a very slow trot EYES SHUT! still focusing on the movement of th ehorses hind legs. Keep the trot slow while you discover the feeling. If you start to bounce go back to walk and get your balance back.

What you should feel is your hips being moved in two different directions in two different planes!

One hip will go forward and up as the othe comes back and down - very much like the movement your hips make when you ride a bicycle - in fact a quick spin around on a bike will give you the general idea. Practise in a slow trot and always going straight back to walk if you start to bounce. As you get more feel and suppleness you can increase the trot. Once you get the hang of this with no stirrups then take them back - sitting trot with stirrups is much harder.

In time your sitting trot will become easier.

dqnaomi 06-07-2012 05:20 AM

Agree with all of the above.
It is much easier to do this if your horse is working over his back though- so make sure he is 'round' and between your aids, then sit for a few strides. Try to thinl about making your 'front' longer than your back, and allowing your hips to follow the movement. Try to use some deep breathing exercises when doing this as well as it helps get rid of tension and diaphragmatic breathing builds core strength.
Ultimately, your aim is to keep the tempo and quality of the trot te same as your rising trot.
Also some good exercises on the ground to develop core strength- Gymball: just sit initially for 20 mins. Gradually build up to an hour. Try to keep pelvis level and stable. Once you've achieved this- add heel slides- still mindful of pelvis. Also pilates.

Back2Horseback 06-09-2012 08:30 AM

All above provided EXCELLENT advice and I, too, have been doing nearly all of the same things in MY lessons. Closing the eyes during the trot, while your trainer has your horse on lunge line is an amazing exercise! In all of my years riding, I had never really FELT FULLY the movement of the horses body beneath mine, the laterally-individual motion, the difference between a "collected" trot with the horse working from the hind vs the horse being totally on the forehand.

Amazing how much more easily these concepts can be grasped and worked with once we have truly FELT THE MOVEMENTS we are supposed to be causing! :)

Now, a Gymball? How exactly does one sit on this? (proper position for core-building, that is!)...I can see how it would build core if one were to balance on it, but exactly where do you place your legs for proper results? I want to go out and purchase one today! I am a core building maniac! Since I am only blessed with one lesson/that being my only time per week, for 90", on horseback :{ I have to do ALL POSSIBLE off-horseback (for the immediate future) to muscle myself appropriately so I can actually advance in training despite my limited training time ON HORSE! :0(

Great thread, OP! Thanks for starting it, and thanks SO MUCH to those posting great guys!!

dqnaomi 06-09-2012 08:48 AM

Hey Back2Horseback.
You sit upright on the ball!! Think that your pelvis is a bucket of water. You don't want the water to slosh out. Feet planted on the floor about shoulder width apart.
You can close your eyes to help 'feel' your seat bones- how level are they?? your shoulers?? If this is easy for you and you fee level, you can start by doing arm rotations while trying to keep your core muscles still. Think about having your navel pulled in about 1/3 of the way to your spine.
Progress to SLOWLY sliding one heel off the ground a few inches and back. Then the other. All the time monitor your posture. After a LONG time doing this- you should be able to lift both legs off the ground.
I'm not there yet!!
Also planks and side bridges help build core strength.

Back2Horseback 06-09-2012 09:33 AM

Ha! I knew to SIT on the ball :0) just wasn't sure where to plant my feet...thank you! What are planks and side bridges?
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