Sitting trot: Do hips swing side to side? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 26 Old 07-07-2019, 11:40 PM
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the side to side feel of the trot is not based on the front legs. It is based on the hind legs. When the right hind is weighted it is just a split second AFTER it has reached as far forward as it will reach. When it reaches forward, it also reaches UNDER the centerline of the belly, thus an 'inside' angle. It hits the ground, and then, fully weighted, the horse uses it to push off and up for the next moment of suspension. When the horse pushes off that right hind, the hip that is bearing the most weight is the highest of the two hips, then it is lowest (at the point where that rear leg is thrust furthest backward.)


the result is a side to side feel.


In the case of a horse that is base narrow, like Bandit, verses one who has wide set front legs (like my lease horse X), you will feel a more rolling feel at the walk, where the shoulder movement has more apparent and different affect to the rider based on this shoulder width placement.
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post #22 of 26 Old 07-08-2019, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
the side to side feel of the trot is not based on the front legs. It is based on the hind legs. When the right hind is weighted it is just a split second AFTER it has reached as far forward as it will reach. When it reaches forward, it also reaches UNDER the centerline of the belly, thus an 'inside' angle. It hits the ground, and then, fully weighted, the horse uses it to push off and up for the next moment of suspension. When the horse pushes off that right hind, the hip that is bearing the most weight is the highest of the two hips, then it is lowest (at the point where that rear leg is thrust furthest backward.)
So you're saying the tilting of the horse's barrel to the inside when the horse has the inside fore on the ground is because the inside hind is high in the air (and that hip lower than the outside one)?

That makes sense, but it is easier for me to relate my body position to what the front leg is doing, just like when posting to a diagonal.

So then would that mean a horse like Bandit would still have a lateral feel to the trot, regardless? I have never ridden a horse yet where I didn't feel some lateral movement of my body at the trot. Even posting, you can feel it. Which is why it is recommended when posting over long distances in a straight line, a rider should change diagonals every so often, since one side is being weighted more by the rider. If you're up with the inside front leg (around a circle), your inside stirrup will carry more weight. This is the same on a straight line.
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post #23 of 26 Old 07-08-2019, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
So you're saying the tilting of the horse's barrel to the inside when the horse has the inside fore on the ground is because the inside hind is high in the air (and that hip lower than the outside one)? the barrel rolls to the opposite direction of the hind that is stepping forward. It rolls , in effect to the outside as the inside , hind leg, reaching deeply forward and slightly inward toward the horse's midline, pushed the large barrel abdomen out of its way; toward the outside. While the rear leg is doing this, reaching forward in the moment of susupension, that hip is lowered. Once it hits the ground, it becomes weight bearing, and will thrust upward as the horse pushes with that leg against the ground.



When you, even as a bipedal mover walker move, you should feel that as each leg starts to bear weight, then push off, that same hip rises up, as the opposing one drops.


That makes sense, but it is easier for me to relate my body position to what the front leg is doing, just like when posting to a diagonal.

So then would that mean a horse like Bandit would still have a lateral feel to the trot, regardless? I have never ridden a horse yet where I didn't feel some lateral movement of my body at the trot. Even posting, you can feel it. Which is why it is recommended when posting over long distances in a straight line, a rider should change diagonals every so often, since one side is being weighted more by the rider. If you're up with the inside front leg (around a circle), your inside stirrup will carry more weight. This is the same on a straight line.

I believe that as you say, all horses have some 'lateral' feel to the rider. A better word might be 'diagonal' feel, since it isn't really a total sideways motions, but rather like a wave rolling, or how a rope moves if you 'throw' a wave down its length.
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post #24 of 26 Old 07-08-2019, 01:08 AM
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oh, and as to posting on a diagonal, and circles (using the 'rise and fall with the leg on the wall' axiom helping you synch with the front, outside leg moving forward . . .



I was told we do this because as the outside leg is moving foward, the inside hind is 'thrusting', making that hip go up, as described above. If we rise with THAT motion, we take a bit of the effort off of that leg, which must work harder than the outside hind's thrusting when trotting on a circle.


make sense?


I will admit that I have a TERRIBLE habit on the trail of posting incessantly on the same diagonal; the right diagonal (rising with the right fore). My horse seems to WANT me on that diagonal. No matter how many times I sit for a bit, I always start back up on that diagonal , and that's without looking or thinking about it. It jsut happens. Posting on the left diagonal feels bad to both he and I. It makes him slow down.
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post #25 of 26 Old 07-08-2019, 10:40 AM
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Given that I am crooked, I may not be the best judge of side-side motion. But I strongly suspect a horse built like Bandit doesn't generate strong side to side motion because it is extremely obvious on Cowboy, even to me. This is Bandit, shaggy still and looking around, but the best recent photo I could find of his build:


I still remember the first time I tossed a leg over him, thinking, "Where is my horse?" Mia was slender, but Bandit far more so!

I also suspect his background and why he was bred plays into it. He was bred for relays races, with 10-15 mile legs. The F-4 was my first love in planes, but I only did one tour in it. Much later, I found myself in the EF-111. I came to love it almost as much as the F-4 (Internet picture of the EF):


The EF-111 didn't have big enough engines to accelerate quickly. But she was streamlined as all get out and could, with time, haul butt at impressive speeds.

Bandit is more like an EF-111 than an F-4. Not a lot of thrust, but I'm told he was quite fast covering 10+ miles. If you are right, @tinyliny , then part of why he doesn't create sideways motion is HOW he moves. Not a ton of thrust, although he can build up good speed. Low, flat strides. He gives an elevated, floating trot once in a while, but his normal stride is meant to cover the most ground with the least energy - as makes sense for a horse who grew up carrying 200-300 lbs on 10+ mile legs of relay races!

A QH would generate a lot more thrust. In airplane terms, the hind end is the engine and the front legs the wings. Larger thrust generated at wider distances from centerline would create more lateral motion - particularly if the rider values an elevated trot, so the front legs engage to lift the withers. Bandit's front legs mostly are used to keep his body level. Elevated strides are a waste of energy crossing the desert.

"When the horse pushes off that right hind, the hip that is bearing the most weight is the highest of the two hips, then it is lowest (at the point where that rear leg is thrust furthest backward.)"

When I compare a horse to a plane, I'm being very simplistic. An airplanes engine is bolted in and only generates thrust directly behind it. The leg of a horse, like a humans, can pivot and create sideways thrust as well. We do that all the time when walking and running. A close-up of Bandit's rump at a trot. I'll delete this rather inelegant picture in a week or so, but...or "butt":


His hind legs still are close to centerline because he angles them in. I have no way of knowing how he angles any thrust. It looks like one side of his hips may be a very small bit higher as you mentioned and for the reason you gave, tinyliny. But there is no reason this small elevation must cause his entire body to rotate. Our hips can pivot easily without affecting our shoulders. I've never seen a study, but I'd bet money the pelvis of a horse can rotate without affecting the rest of his back.

In the end, so to speak, I guess it boils down to this: any lateral motion Bandit generates is too small for me to care about. If I cannot feel it then I cannot compensate for it. Nor need to. On Cowboy, ANYONE will try to compensate SOMEHOW for the rocking side to side, while probably wanting him to transition to his very smooth, easy to ride canter. And a lot of horses will fall somewhere in between.

And we haven't even started discussing how a horse trots on UNEVEN ground, which is 95% of Bandit's trotting. Much of our trotting (and cantering) is done is washes. All the theory goes to heck when the horse is trotting in one of our favorite spots:


As for diagonals when trotting in the wild...I don't think it matters. Jogging in the desert is a motion utterly unlike jogging on a track. At long distance - an endurance racer - it may matter a lot. How much exercise each leg is getting on uneven terrain is impossible to calculate, so I figure the horse will have to adjust based on how he feels.
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Last edited by bsms; 07-08-2019 at 10:46 AM.
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post #26 of 26 Old 07-08-2019, 12:13 PM
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I have not read all the responses, so perhaps I will repeat what someone else has said.

In questions of pelvic movement, I would ask you whether you are male or female. I say this because the size and mechanics of the pelvis are completely different between males and females, not to mention differences in strength and flexibility. Look online for comparative images, and you'll find a large difference in the distance between our respective seatbones and pelvic joints.

As you advance in your riding, you will (hopefully!) start developing increased flexibility and strength of the pelvic joints (there are 4). Beginning riders tend to simplify their pelvic movement, as their main goal is simply to stay on their horse, but as you advance in stability and balance, you will start to differentiate between the right and left sides. It does take time, though, depending on age, number of hours in the saddle, and gender/sex (for those of us who work in modern medicine, this is now not the same thing).

So, as a beginner, it is normal for you to move your pelvis as a single unit. Typically, riders start with that "scooping" action to follow the canter, but as you progress you'll develop independent movement of each side, so that your inside seat bone is actually slightly more forward. You'll realize that your "scoop" is not equal on both sides, nor should it be.

Now, when this independent movement translates to the trot, your pelvic movement will largely depend on the horse's trot - a collected trot on a rounded horse is far different from that of an extended trot on a big mover or on a hollowed-out horse. That is where it gets complicated, even more so if you are riding an older lesson horse, whose movements are typically less fluid and engaged. For this reason, you must also be patient with yourself as a beginner. As you gain in strength, flexiblity and skills and start moving up to younger, better-trained horses, at some point you will find yourself sitting on an active mover with suspension and swing in the trot, and you'll have that 'ah-ha!' moment when it all clicks.

Until then, try finding that independent right-left movement to follow the horses shoulder's at the trot, and keep riding!
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