Sitting trot is my nemesis...
I posted this on another forum too, but since I know there are a lot of dressage riders here that have to do sitting trot regularly, I thought I would post it here as well.
So the sitting trot and I are not friends...in fact we hate each other. We don't even pretend to like each other at parties. And I am convinced that my sitting trot is what cost me the first place in my Eq. class at this last show (I got second but whatever). And I think my trainer (although she has never said it out loud) would agree.
That being said, my horse has a lovely canter, but her trot is bouncy and I have yet to learn how to ride it sitting. I can do it pretty well without stirrups, but when I do it with stirrups, I use them to brace against and I end up all over the place. And then one thing follows the other, I get tense because I'm trying to make it "look" good and it becomes a disaster in 2.5 seconds flat. I have a month before my next show, and this one is much bigger than any of the other ones this year so I need to come prepared. My trainer says that I need to relax and almost lightly lift my contact with my stirrups but when I do that, they tend to slip back too much and I'm sure that isn't looked at as great in the ring either. Help!
I've had a few problems with Sitting Trot before, but what I do, is just put enough pressure into the stirrups so they stay in the same place, and let your body move to the way of the trot. I've been told (and it works!) to think that my pelvis has sort of sunk into the saddle, keep my back strong and follow the rhythm of the horse - hope it helps! x
I ride western, so I might be telling you something wrong. I always tell my students to stretch their weight down into their heels, and almost act as though the stirrups aren't there - they just mark where your feet should go. Does that make sense? It also helps to tell them to relax and really concentrate on the rythem of the trot. Your body starts to sync up with the movement, and putting your weight in your heels, exactly the same way you do without stirrups, will anchor your butt to the saddle, so to speak.
I hope that makes sense, and if it's different for dressage IGNORE ME. Ha ha.
Well, I'm no dressage rider, but when I was having trouble, I sink my weight into the stirrups, and sit deep in the saddle, on my thighs. I give up looking good and kinda slouch along untill I can relax and move with the hore, not on top of the horse. Once I have the rythm I start to sit up more and look "pretty"
Yeah, slouch isn't the right word. I guess what I mean is don't try so hard to sit straight that you are tense and stiff. Relax your body and move with the movement. Once you do that you can work on the pretty. Bleh, how do you guys explain stuff so well?
Well I'm not a dressage rider either, I do H/J. But, sitting trot is one of the exercises requested in my flat eq. classes at shows. What you guys are saying does make sense. Basically sink into my heel without totally sinking into my stirrup and using it as a brace?
My coach showed me a trick that improved my sitting trot immensely!!
If you're uncomfortable doing this on your own, ask your coach to put you on the longe. Take both feet out of your stirrups and raise your knees to the pommel of the saddle. Really think about sitting deep on the "pockets" of your pants. And BREATHE!!
Alternate holding both knees up then lowering one then the other, mix it up.
Give it a try if you have a patient horse lol.
Heels down - shock absorbers. Sit deep - loosen your hips and let them roll, kind of like they aren't part of your torso.
AJ that sounds like an interesting exercise, I think I'll try it just to see :)
Then someone came up with a brilliant idea and constructed the seat that they sit on so it would slide. This sliding motion was more in tune with the motion the oarsmen were using and gave the person greater power over the motion of his upper body.
Think of the horses back/saddle as two sliding seats. The horse has a diagonal motion when they trot with each set of diagonals going forward alternately. What this does is move the muscles on each side of the horses spine forward and then back alternately in rhythm with the diagonal trot. What you have to do is think that you are sitting on that oarsman's sliding seat in an alternative motion....NOT and up and down motion. If you allowed each side of your seat bone to follow that sliding seat the horse offers you will also find that your legs will touch the horse in an alternating motion also.
The problem with losing the stirrups is that most riders are trying to ride an up/down motion when it is actually an up forward down back motion. If you lightened your seat and opened your pelvis,sitting very slightly behind your pelvis and allowed your legs to accept the forward back motion ( it feels to your legs like the horse's belly is swinging left/right) then when the belly swings to the left side...your left leg will close on that belly (not griping) and gently push it back to the right side with the right leg doing the same. So now your legs have a job to do and the funny thing is once you make an effort to give them a job they seem to do just fine....all by themselves.
Start slow to get the feeling then add speed a bit at a time.
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