Sitting Trot - Tips?
I was just sitting at work today watching people ride past my window when I realized what amazing sitting trots that all have, and it reminded me how much i need to work on improving mine.
Does anyone have any tips on improving the sitting trot? Especially without stirrups!!
My sitting trot with stirrups is decent- could definitely use some work, but in general I keep good balance and don't bounce around TOO much.
Without stirrups is a different story however... I can usually keep my balance for a few strides but then I need to grab some mane and steady myself :-( I can't seem to stay balanced without squeezing my lower leg when I'm sitting. Help!
Ironically, my posting trot without stirrups isn't bad at all!
The coach I had for about 4 months when I was at school was very good at telling me what I was doing wrong... But never gave me any tips on how to improve. Needless to say I won't be going back to her. The horse I rode also tended to have a very fast, choppy trot, which didn't help me much!
Any tips would be great!
"I can't seem to stay balanced without squeezing my lower leg when I'm sitting."
What's wrong with that? I was trained to grip with my calves and I do just that at the sitting trot without stirrups and it helps tremendously. You also want to make sure you're taking deep breathes, sitting up straight and definitely relaxed... if your body is rigid / stiff it's going to be awful.
The main issue is that my squeezing is almost always interpreted as a cue to go faster, and the horse will often break into a canter!
Wow, where do you work that you can see riders go past your window? :-)
Anyways, what helped me to learn how to sit the trot was to take a lesson on the lunge line so that my trainer could just intruct me on how to use my seat and I wouldn't have to worry about steering the horse and all that. What also helped was riding a horse with a nice, fairly smooth, trot.
Hours in the saddle and good quality instruction are key. My trainer had very good exercises that made me sit correctly.
When I sit, I sit on my butt, my seatbones. My upper body is tall with my cheat open, shoulders back, and looking forward. My seatbones are evenly weighted and my legs just hang there. No gripping, my legs just drape on either side of the horse like wet towels. Sometimes riding bareback can help since you have to stay centered on the horse or you'll slide off their barrel.
I actually spent part of my last lesson working on my sitting trot :D Ill just post what we did in that part.
Start off in an active walk without stirrups, then go up into a slow trot, almost just a jig, that way you can really feel each side of the horses movements so you dont just start bumping it allows you to feel the movement making it easier when the pace gets more into a working trot.
We did this on a smaller circle (10m or so) then as you get the hang of it leg yield out onto a larger circle (till 20m) and as the circle gets bigger get your horse to move out more so when you get to the 20m circle you are in a working trot.
After that we started to do 2 loop serpentines (each loop at 10m circle) in sitting trot (this was more to loosen him, but I found it really helped me sit better), everytime I changed direction (so where we crossed over) we came back to walk for 2 steps then back up to trot.
What I did to help my sitting trot was grab a little piece of mane to steady myself at first (there's no shame in it! After some practice, grabbing the mane wont be necessary, but its better than tugging on the mouth!). I worked on relaxing my lower back and letting my body move with the horse more. I worked without stirrups a WHOLE lot and only practiced without them. Finally, with the stirrups, my position was 110% better. It also helps to keep the horse collected and slow at first. Once you get better, it may be easier to go faster. Good Luck!
I push with the balls of my feet and bounce on my ankles. I can post a video of if need be.
My instructor keeps telling me, don't forget to breathe.
What about everyone else, do you grip with your calves or legs or not at all?
I've read a lot of conflicting info about gripping or not gripping. As mentioned I was taught to grip and I can sit the trot OK... but now I'm wondering if I'm doing it wrong, lol. (Sorry to hijack this thread...)
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