Super bouncy horse?!
Hello, I ride a super bouncy horse, and I signed him up for a show, and the show may require me to do a sitting trot with my stirrups. I can do the posting/sitting trot with no stirrups easily, but I can never do the sitting trot with my stirrups. It's not that my stirrups are too short, but I can't seem to do the sitting trot with stirrups for more than few steps on this horse. Any recommendations or tips will be appreciated!
(and if you can tell me the difference between under saddle and equitation i will be so thankful :-) )
Practice practice practice!
Slow the trot right down, till its reallllllyyyy slow and there isn't much bounce in it.
Keep trying with your sitting trot without stirrups. You'll find it so much easier if you are perfect at that first ;)
I haven't a clue about your last question because we don't have those names for classes in Ireland ;)
To sit the trot on a bouncy horse (my arab has a gorgeous, floating trot that feels like riding a washboard 0.0) push your weight down into your heels, slow the horse down, and shift your center of gravity to your hips. Breath deeply, and relax into the saddle. Do not tense up or it will go south. Completely relax, and allow your butt to move with the horse. Don't quote me, but equitation is the riders horsemanship, and the quality of there riding and cooperation. Not sure about under saddle.
Equitation is judging the rider, how well balanced in the saddle they are, how effectively they can control their horse, and how well they look doing it (I don't mean well by what they are wearing, but their positioning in the saddle ;)
As for the bouncy trot, some horses are and will always be naturally bouncy, and it just depends on the raw material you are working with, but I'd be willing to bet that this horses back is hollow when you ride. Imagine taking a whip and bending it in a U shape then popping it upwards. This is basically what happens to the rider when they are riding on a hollow horse, I like to call it the springboard or trampoline effect ;)
Now take that whip and bend it so that it curves like a hill and try closing the ends of it to make the middle come up more- much more support and less bounce. Now, translate this to the back- when you work on lifting the back to support the rider, this will help the overall goal.
Slowing the gait down as much as possible might work but that isn't solving the problem at all, and most likely you will only lose the impulsion and won't be performing what the judge expects of a hunter class. (I know this varies a ton place to place, this is just one take on the situation.)
As for sitting it, just practice sitting with stirrups as thats the aspect you need work on. Sounds like you might be locking your knees as opposed to going with the flow and that can really effect your legs, but what it ultimately comes down to is using your core. When you do the sitting trot, your abs should be burning after a session, more so than your legs. Work on the movement from the hips and having the thigh muscle draped over your saddle. Focus more on keeping your body with it from your core and your legs (with heels down) should be players in this.
Good luck with the show!
Key to sitting a bouncefest trot is getting your legs and thighs open and back and sitting deep, deep. Yes, riding without stirrups at a POSTING trot then sitting trot, then posting again keeping your toes UP, think toes up not heels down. And practise your rear off.
Practice. More practice. When you're done practicing, practice!!! ;)
When you do it WITH stirrups, don't let your leg fly forward and brace off that. What helps me is just letting everything relax and loosen up. I may be weird, but that's how i do it. Don't slow him down too much. It depends on the show you're going to about whether or not you need to slow down. For the schooling shows in my area i only slow it down just a TAD to keep it looking graceful because my pony's a tornado.
Keep trying it WITH and WITHOUT stirrups and take a day just to identify your problem areas and how each method is similar and different. Try to keep the exact position with stirrups as you do without.
When i school dressage on my other pony, the spring-loaded one (XD) i lean back a little because it hurts my back too much to stay straight up. But just a little.
Again, just practice. Don't sleep, just practice!
As for under saddle and equitation:
Under saddle(U/S) is the flat portion of a Hunter or Equitation(eq) division. Normally for the U/S it is a walk/trot/canter class and may have sitting trot, but most don't. Hunter U/S is judged on hunters (manners, performance, & way of going) and not jumping. In eq, it may have sitting trot and no stirrup work depending on the level of show and the division. Medal equitations usually have the flat with an extra test, or work-off. That can include jumping a shortened course without stirrups, a quiz, anything.
Equitation can be western, english, hunt seat, and dressage-seat. Not sure about western or dressage eq, but english and hunt seat eq is judged on hands, seat, and control of mount. Your horse should reflect your riding. You don't want to go around riding a horse that wiggles everywhere and bounces off the walls. Most eq classes do jump courses, which is hunter equitation. Some open shows have it on the flat and a seperate division for jumping equitation.
Hope i didn't confuse you! Good luck!
Hunter under saddle judges the horse. Their movement, build, and manners. Hunt Seat Equitation judges your riding position and ability to guide the horse on the flat and/or over fences.
As for sitting the trot...just do it! My horse is so so so smooth, when I started riding a big, bouncy tb gelding, I had to re-adjust to sitting the trot. I was riding in a dressage saddle, though, so that is a bit different. Just keep doing it and making sure you keep your heels down and underneath you. Keep yourself supple but not floppy. Ride on the lunge line with your arms out in the air if you need to.
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