Sitting Trot - Tips? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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@ jinx:
No worries! I'd love as much imput as possible. I think it depends a lot on the horse, some respond to the slightest bit of pressure on their sides as a cue to conter (as was the case with the horse I rode in lessons during the school year), but others wait for a specific cue, so a little bit of gripping with the lower leg is ok.

@ everyone else:
Thanks for the tips! I will have to remember them next time I'm riding.
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post #12 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by laurarachelle View Post
...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...
Sounds like you are tensing your legs when riding without stirrups. Squeezing with the leg will not improve balance. It may also be that fear of losing balance is causing tension in your thighs, making you bounce more and thus causing you to lose balance.

Although this is in the English riding section, you might try using a western saddle for a few rides - preferably with a tall horn. Manes and grab straps, IMHO, don't do much to help restore side - side balance issues. There isn't enough leverage. With a tall saddle horn, you can adjust and keep going.

Once you do that, you lose your fear of losing balance, and start to have the relaxed, dead weight legs that for me are critical to successfully sitting the trot. I also found I had to lower my stirrups and let my legs hang down. (This shouldn't be a problem without stirrups unless you still put your legs into the with-stirrup position). The weight of my legs keeps me from going up as far, so there is less bounce when I come down, and the cycle repeats until I can relax into the saddle. It also lowers my center of gravity, which always helps balance.

I find it helps to rotate my hip back a little towards my pockets. Not so much leaning back as relaxing in my hips and letting some of the bounce go into my buttocks instead of my bones.

Once I got the feel on a western saddle, it was easy enough to switch over to English. I could also shorten my stirrups some without bouncing, because I was no longer afraid of losing balance. [Note - in honesty, I can shorten them enough to lose the sitting trot. The higher my knees go up, the harder it is to sit the trot.]
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post #13 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 02:50 PM
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It would be really helpful to know what discipline you ride, and what discipline the other posters ride, to sort through the advice. If you're riding a hunter, jumper or event horse, you are going to maintain frictional grip in your lower leg at all gaits. With dressage, the draped like wet towels description is accurate. With western; your calf may not be in contact with the horse at all.However, in any discipline, to test yourself while learning to sit, it's a good idea to take your whole leg off the horse and see if you can maintain the following motion in your seat bones without gripping with your leg.

Gripping 1.) tends to make the horse misinterpret and go faster and 2.) stiffens you and pushes you up out of the tack. The best teaching aid I ever had for sitting trot was my dog. Yup.

The first step in learning to ride the sitting trot correctly is understanding how the horse's back moves at the trot. Since it's hard to see the top of a horse's back while it's moving, my Lab was always my demo animal to show how the back on one side rises as that hind leg comes forward, and that the sides of the back rise and fall alternately as the horse trots. Once a student understood that, putting them in the correct position (IslandWave gave a great description) and putting them on the lunge did the rest.

Once you've mastered following the horse's back with your seat bones on the lunge, it's a matter of reintroducing stirrups and then working on your own while maintaining the following seat..

Last edited by maura; 05-28-2011 at 06:00 AM.
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post #14 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 03:20 PM
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My only suggestion would be to relax your seat and try to move with the horse on sitting trot (IW & Maura already put it way better than me ). If horse is balanced it's much easier to sit it (and if its smooth on top of it it's a real fun).

P.S. I don't do lunging with my instructor for whatever reason, she makes me work on sitting trot during actual ride. Although I do see benefits of lunging when you don't have to think about reins, turns, etc.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #15 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 09:34 PM
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Another suggestion I have that I just thought of reading maura and KV's posts is if you can go on a lunge, or have a horse that you trust to go straight and not do anything crazy is you could shut your eyes for a bit. I did that and it really makes you more aware of what you are feeling
p.s. maura said it would help if we told you what discipline we rode, I do dressage lessons
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post #16 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 09:40 PM
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Just a side note: I cannot sit my horse's huge trot stride unless he's round and offered his back up to me (not hollow). Makes the trot so much easier to sit!
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post #17 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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The tips have been great guys, thanks! I'm not in lessons currently but I'm waiting for a barn to get back to me so hopefully I will be able to put your suggestions into action later on in the summer.
I ride jumpers, but the barn that I'm hopefully going to be starting at has a strong dressage focus, with a little bit of jumpers thrown in there on the side.
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post #18 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 09:57 PM
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I am just learning about sitting trots - was introduced into this mornings' lesson b/c I'm now posting enough that I need to know how to transition down to a walk.

I agree with the comment about gripping with the legs -> horse speeds up. This has been my experience so far!

What I learned about sitting the trot this morning was 1) stay really, really, no REALLY, loose, and 2) keep your weight flowing down the backs of your legs, just like you would at the rising trot.

I thought I was going to bounce around like crazy, because that is what I was doing while I was trying to figure out the whole "rising" trot thing, but that's not how it worked at all (with the advice from my instructor, above). It was definitely less comfy than the rising trot, but I found that as long as I focused on keeping my legs as loooong as possible, I wasn't bouncing up out of the saddle really at all. Part of this is because the horse adjusted his trot to accommodate my sitting (instructor made a point of this, too, said that I should *definitely* let that happen).

I have also heard (but have no experience to back this up with) that sitting the trot bareback is a *very* educational experience & will also improve the rising trot too.

PS I would think I had died and gone to Hell if I had to watch other people riding horses while I had to work in an office. I don't know how you can stand it!
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post #19 of 30 Old 05-27-2011, 10:22 PM
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Another tip I''ll toss out, although I'm a beginner rider myself...

Do something besides practicing the sitting trot. By that I mean do something that will keep your conscious mind focused elsewhere. You cannot ride a sitting trot with your conscious mind. It needs to be your subconscious mind making it happen.

To me, that means trotting the horse around cones or doing pattern work while sitting the trot. The only part of my conscious mind I want to involve is to sometimes say, "Relax. Let the legs hang."

My 13 year old daughter does a very good sitting trot. She likes to ride our gelding around while belting out Jimmy Buffet tunes at the top of her lungs. That MAYBE something you want to skip in front of others ...but it keeps her conscious mind busy while the subconscious does a good job riding the trot.

And our ex-ranch horse gelding just trots around looking like, "She's 85 lbs, and listening to Jimmy Buffet beats cutting cattle for 10 hours..."

He said I ate the last mango in Paris
Took the last plane out of Saigon
I took the first fast boat to China
And Jimmy there's still so much to be done

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post #20 of 30 Old 05-28-2011, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Do something besides practicing the sitting trot. By that I mean do something that will keep your conscious mind focused elsewhere. You cannot ride a sitting trot with your conscious mind. It needs to be your subconscious mind making it happen.
Good point! Someone earlier also mentioned that I'm probably over thinking things which causes me to tense up, which I think is probably true. Both of your points go hand in hand!

PS I would think I had died and gone to Hell if I had to watch other people riding horses while I had to work in an office. I don't know how you can stand it!
I KNOW, it's such a tease, but it does provide a good distraction from my work
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