I have an OTTB who is slowly becomming a great horse!!
She has been working on becomming show ready. (she was a barn sour jumper when I got her) Her canter and rising trot are now amazing!!!! The only thing is, her sitting trot is more bumpy than off roading in the rockies!
Is there any excersize to get me to stay on without bouncing? I have tried to slow her down and even still its bumpy! My trainer is conditioning my legs (no stirrups/lean back with gripped legs/ect) but is there anything in particular?
Ab work! lots of crunches and bicyles. most people do not understand that the sitting trot really comes from ur abs... it is not so much a sitting motion that ur gripping with ur legs but more a squeeze and release of ur ab muscles with the movement of the horse.. this is what absorbs the "bumpiness" in the trot
I recently had a sitting-trot breakthrough myself, although I still do a lot of rising trot as my horse isn't consistently "offering" to round up through his back yet, and I don't want to mess up the progress that he is making with my still less than pro sitting trot.
Looseness is key, but it's sort of a controlled looseness. Not sack of potatoes, total loss of position looseness, just a lack of tension in the joints, if that makes sense. Your tack can play a role in this... my ankles used to be rather stiff, causing my leg to bounce in sitting trot, creating stiffness in my hips and back as I fought the bounce. I recently bought a new saddle that fits me much better than my old one, and my ankles stay much looser since I'm not fighting for my position.
Sally Swift's Centered Riding stresses 4 fundamentals: soft eyes, breathing, balance/building blocks, and centering. The first two, keeping soft eyes and breathing deeply through my core and with rhythm, were the biggies for me to remember in sitting trot. Soft eyes soften your entire body, helping achieve that controlled looseness. Breathing deeply (and centering) help "drop your balance into the horse's", so to speak, keeping your bum in the seat. I highly recommend reading Ms. Swift's book. :wink:
You might also try some basic stretches before (and after) you mount up to loosen the major muscle groups. Your horse gets a warm-up, why not you?
Good luck! :-)
The sitting trot is a bit of a viscous cycle. If the horse isn't quite working properly, it's bumpy and when the rider can't sit it the horse can't work well and it gets bumpier so the rider really can't ride it and it screws up the horse more and it gets bumpier, etc...
Slowing it down is the wrong thing to do. It is a quick fix but if you have to jog the horse to sit the trot then you're not really doing a sitting trot, you're doing a sitting jog. You say the horse is going well - if it was, the trot wouldn't be so bumpy!! Were I in your position I would take some dressage lessons - even on another horse, and learn how to correctly ride the horse to improve it, instead of just putting the horse through it's paces. Learning to do a correct sitting trot on your part might also be easier on a more educated horse as well.
In the sitting trot, think of "kneeling" in the saddle, keeping the core strong and really riding the trot. As much as the seat "follows" the motion, it still needs to keep up and if you're just chilling out in the saddle - your seat will fall behind. Balance is what keeps us on the horse - not grip. Stay in the center of the saddle and keep your body perpendicular to the horse's back so your weight is focused right in the middle of the horse's back and balance point. In this place, it is far easier to sit the trot.
Does she naturally have a really bumpy trot? This might make it hard to sit well to it to begin with. The guy I ride is so hard to sit to, but I find that if I slow him down enough it isnt so bad, but even then, I always hope at a show it is a very short sitting trot! As soon as I change to another horse, I can sit to the trot easier, but he is not comfortable at all.
Thats excatly what it is!! When I ride my trainers horse (The one I show with at the moment) its smooth like butter!! But the second I ride on Lucy she is like a 7.0 earthquake!
I slow her down as much as possible till its good enough to be judged but its still a tad bad!
I actually have a pair of breeches that sorta make it easier not ot bounce (they are called STICKYSEAT) but I cant show in them.
Maybe I will just Sekurgrip the whole saddle and horse before I show....We arent doing anything big right now until she is perfect in and out of the ring, just local shows that are made for n00bz so she can get used to the showring again.
Exercise: sit until you bounce, then post, then sit again...hopefully you'll be able to sit for longer and longer periods of time.
Being an ottb, I would put my money on it that he is not using his back yet, thus making trying to sit on him even harder. Ottb's have a not so great tendency to work with all legs and no back. They may well be tracking up and have nice paces ad feel soft in front, but they are masters at holding their back stiff as a board. If the back of a horse is stiff, and the horse has already got a naturally 'bouncy' trot, your job of a rider is made very hard.
Before you worry about sit trotting him, you should be focussing all of your efforts into getting his back soft and swinging, with enough strength the carry you rather than bracing the back and perching you on top.
Once he develops a good, solid back that moves and swings with his gaits, you can start thinking about sit trot. Sitting trot is difficult for young/green horses that have not built up the muscle over their backs to carry the full weight of the rider, so as anebel said, it turns into a vicious circle. The horse has a stiff back so the trot is very bouncy. The rider tries to sit that trot, which is near impossible, thus bouncing around and thumping down on horse's back. Horse braces even more against the discomfort and possible pain of rider thumping around on it's back. Rider is thrown even more out of the saddle due to the brace and so it continues.
Unless the horse has a strong, soft back, sit trot will be extremely difficult and you will also be punishing your horse in the back by bouncing around. Never, ever, punish a horse in the back! You want their back to 'grow' and come up under you, not to suck away from you.
As for leaning back with gripped legs to sit trot... interesting way of coaching :/
Leaning back, first puts you behind the vertical, therefore behind the motion of the gait, put you out of balance, and unable to influence the horse's way of going with your totally non-effective seat. Gripped legs, simply deaden the horse's sides, tighten your upper leg and hips, thus tightening and restricting your pelvis. When everything is so tight, it is physically impossible to allow your body/pelvis to follow to motion of the horse, while controlling each step with your seat. You just cannot do it, and I am surprised that an instructor has told you to do that.
Are you able to get lunge lessons either on your horse or another horse to learn how to balance your seat without having to worry about everything else? Even having another rider lunge you while you work on your position is helpful. The important thing with the sitting trot is staying relaxed and loose. It's easier to do when you don't have to worry about everything else.
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