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Posting Trot Problems
So, I'm currently about 4 months in to riding with a lesson each week. I have begun to canter a few lessons ago, but I still feel like my posting trot really needs help...
First, my legs are always kicking out with each rise, like badly.. My trainer is always saying "MORE LEG!!!" but I literally use like every ounce of strength and it's barely anything.. What can you suggest for getting my legs stronger?
I ride the same two ponies generally (only one per lesson) and one has a really nice trot, but I almost always am "double bumping" the saddle. There was one time for a few minutes that I felt perfectly in tune with the horse and had the perfect rhythm... and I have never felt that since. How do I get on the right rhythm? I'm not worrying so much about diagonals for now.
Then the other pony... Ugh. He has a SUPER quiet trot and I can barely feel the transition from walk to trot.. So I am literally like heaving myself up to rise, he doesn't push me up at all, and I get SUPER tired within a few minutes. However, after I come down from the canter he has a really good trot that pushes me up. With any horse, how do I get them to go faster? Either of them will often toss their head if I just keep kicking, like they don't understand. I'm not a fan of just kicking and kicking until you get a response, but I haven't been taught any other way. Of course, I try using just leg pressure but they seem like they could care less.
The other problem I have is that if we're going any direction other then just around the ring (anywhere through the middle), the trot significantly slows or goes to a walk. And when we do trotting poles, most of the time I cannot keep the trot though I am using leg pressure up the poles. How do I tell them to keep going when they don't respond to leg pressure or kicking?
Also - when I am posting, I notice I stick my butt out really badly since my back is arched, and I have tried to conciously tuck my pelvis under but it's super difficult.. Is there anything else I should be doing to fix it?
This picture is from about a month ago, but my back hasn't changed.. :/
You shouldn't be counting on your horse to bump you up. I sometimes see beginners wanting their horse to this erratic trot to help them. They probably are tossing their heads because they are protesting your request to go faster. Maybe because they are soured school horses who have people kicking them all the time or because your asking them to go faster then they are comfortable with.
Posting is hard work! I'd start doing squats and working out your legs.
Ask for keeping them going through the middle, you need to make it VERY uncomfortable for them to trot. This may mean a hard smack with a crop or a few hard bumps with your legs. Most school horses are taught, not on purpose, that the inside of the arena means break time.
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A good exercise is posting without stirrups, and pointing your toes UP, forget about heels down.
Thanks for your responses!
I just always see those people that post perfectly and they make it look so effortless! They barely even come up but it's still enough.. Am I probably just coming up higher than I need to?
I definitely want to try it without stirrups.. My instructor has never mentioned it and I don't know why but I feel weird asking him about it! I guess I'll just bring up how I feel like I'm just standing in my stirrups and take it from there.
Like everything else, it takes practise and you need to build some muscle memory, keep at it, you will be posting effortlessly in no time.
Try vocal cues. like kissy sounds or clicking your tongue.
Dont count on the horse to push you up.
How do you do it without stirrups? I tried it once but i am pretty sure i did it wrong because i pulled something, haha
As far as your horse goes get your instructor to give you a crop. Use your leg gently then give your horse a pop with the whip to back up your leg. Many many lesson horses are desensitized to the leg.
You're in a bad chair seat in the picture you posted, that will make posting much more difficult. You want to get your shoulders and heels back so you have a nice straight line from your shoulder to hips to heels.
Do some squats at home, it's much easier when you have your feet shoulder width apart and your legs are underneath your body. Now hold onto a counter top or sturdy object and put your feet in front of your body and try to do squats. You keep wanting to fall backwards don't you? The only thing holding you up is your hands. It's the same when you ride, you need your legs underneath you.
You also should work on getting your ankles nice and supple. Find a step at home and something to hold onto. Put just the balls of your foot on the step and let your weight sink down. You will feel some stretching through your calf muscles. When your weight sinks down properly it will also help get your leg underneath you.
Also when you are posting try not to think of posting as an up and down motion, it's a forward motion. Yes when people are first taught to post that's the easiest way to explain it but people often over post and go too high, making it difficult to stay in the horses rhythm, resulting in the awkward bumping when you aren't with the horses motion. Think about moving your hips forward with the horse.
Rise and fall with the leg on the wall. As the horses outside shoulder is coming forward rise, fall as the outside leg is coming back. Your instructor can really help by voicing this aloud with either a "1, 2, 1, 2" or just a " Up. Up. Up" as you should be rising.
Posting the trot requires some feel, you need to be able to tell when to rise by the feel and not by looking. You can REALLY develop some feel by practicing at a walk. Your instructor should have you focus on one hoof and have you call out when that hoof is leaving the ground. To get you started they should tell you when it's leaving the ground and then you can focus on the feel of that. Practice with all four hooves in both directions. You'll find when you DO trot after that exercise you'll have better timing.
You got it, girl!
Thanks so much everyone!
I always like to have an "objective" as I go into each lesson.. Maybe that's silly haha but I like to have something in mind to work on. So from now on it will definitely be getting out of the chair seat and holding my legs under me! I can start to feel when my legs are sliding forward.. I just don't have the strength to keep them back yet. I always have to put them back mid-post.. and then they always end up in front again. :/
I will definitely work on squats and stretching my ankles! I like to think I don't look thatt horrible now haha but I don't think much as changed with my legs... ugh.
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