Posting the Trot
Hello everyone! I have been riding Western since I was 6 years old, and now I am making the switch to English. It has been more difficult than I first imagined it would be! XDD (You English riders must have amazing upper and lower body strength! I've never been so sore after riding before!) Right now I am working on posting the trot. My problem is that I post off of my toes instead of using my legs. When I do this, my toe points down, the stirrup slips back, gets caught on my heel, and suddenly I am in the wrong position. I have only been to 5 lessons so far, but I am getting a little bit frustrated. Any ideas would help!
(I will get a video up as soon as possible!) Thank You!! :D
I think the standard way of working through this is to post without stirrups. Also, work at abeing able to sit the trot, too.
I think the hunt seat riders will help you more, but just wanted to say that it very commonly takes more than 5 sessions to learn how to post easily.
One thing to help visualize the heels down is think "toes up". AND
think of your heel as aiming toward your horse's hind feet.
Be patient with yourself. One day, in a year or less, you will be able to post endlessly and effortlessly. I believe it does take more muscle to ride English. When I learned Western, I always thought English riders were sissys. Then I took english riding lessons and I learned the truth! It takes muscles to ride English! You will love it in a few more sessions.
Ooh, posting without stirrups would be a sure way to help me out! I definitely need to work on those leg muscles for that! :)
My instructor had me overflex my foot forward and then back to find a happy medium, and then like you said, told me to try to aim my heels towards my horse's hind legs.
And phew, that makes me feel better. I guess I am always trying to rush things. If I'm patient with myself it will probably all come in time.
Thanks for the help! :D
Has your instructor taught you the 'correct' way to use your legs in rising trot?
I have had a student come from another instructor, that had absolutely no idea how to use her legs in rising trot and would end up on her toes like you.
Basically, as you sit, your lower leg should 'hug' the horse, and as you rise, your lower leg should 'relax'.
When I'm teaching a littlie how to rise trot, instead of saying 'up, down' I say 'squeeze, and, squeeze, and...'. Once you have to use of your legs in rising trot you'll find that you're in a much more stable position as you will find it extremely difficult to lift your heels while trying to 'hug' your horse with your lower leg.
Posting without stirrups can be good, but can also be detrimental as a rider can learn to use the knees and thighs to grip and 'push' themselves out of the saddle. In dressage, gripping with the knee and thigh is a no-no as you block the horse's shoulder and then end up with a tendency to tip forward with your upper body.
I sort of think of posting as a pelvic thrust in addition to what Kayty said.
Oh yes Eliz - your comment reminded me, though it's not entirely specific to the OP's lower leg problem. But remember that the rising trot is NOT an up-down motion. If you try to rise straight up and down you'll get left behind the horse's motion and come clumping down on his back. So rather, it is a forward - back motion. Allowing the horse to push you forward out of the saddle. Really, you should barely see any air between your backside and the saddle, and your shoulders should not move up and down either - it is all in the hips/pelvis ;) So yes - pelvis thrust and you'll be right on track!
Hmm, now that I think of it, I can't recall my instructor mentioning anything about the squeezing and relaxing during the posting trot. =/ So when I rise, my leg needs to be relaxed versus tight, right? I have never really thought of it that way! And it will help to think of hugging with my legs when I sit, because my horse always slows due to me not giving enough forward cues with my legs.
My instructor has mentioned that I don't need to be getting that far up out of the saddle though! She also mentioned, like you did, that the natural motion of the horse needs to push me up and out of the saddle, and I need to control the down. However, she said that I should imagine a string that lifts my chest, head and shoulders. Do you think this is giving me that "up-down" motion that you said is not correct?
Thanks for the help!
The horse's motion provides the push. You keep a relaxed leg during the push, then momentarily allow tension to pause you and slow the return. Then relax, let the horse push you up...
I prefer to think of it as forward, down. Forward, because the horse provides all the up. Down, because during the pause the horse moves underneath me again.
Don't sweat diagonals when learning. I like riding with long stirrups, so I barely clear the saddle. I'm trying to reduce pressure on the horse, not air out my crotch.
Another way of approaching it: You can move your hips rhythmically with the horse's motion even while walking. Continue that, and as the horse increases speed in the trot, you'll come further out. Then just add a pause at the top.
If none of that helps, ignore it. It works for me, but I tend to be a bit odd in riding.
Well, your instructor may be trying to keep you from leaning forward with your upper body. Your chest should remain open and tall, which helps free your pelvis so it can move independently. I think it sounds like your instructor is teaching you correctly, but she may be putting it in more simple terms because you are a beginner.
Don't worry about it. You will be messy and all over the place at first. It may take you a while to do it effortlessly, but once you get it, you get it forever :)
My instructor explained it sort of as a roll. So when you post, you roll up, and roll down. When you think of it as a roll instead of as standing and sitting, it is easier for you to keep your feet in position. Doing this without stirrups helps even more!
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