Less Bouncing During Trot and Canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-21-2015, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Less Bouncing During Trot and Canter

I need few tips about how to bounce off less during Trot and Canter please. Appreciate everybody's suggestions. Thanks you!
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-21-2015, 09:38 AM
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Bouncing off during trot and canter may have various causes.

The conformation of a horse may tend to make a horse’s movement more bouncy. However, any horse’s movements may become more smooth with proper training. This includes developing suppleness, roundness, and relaxation.

How a rider rides perhaps has the greatest influence on how and whether he bounces. In their book “Anatomy of Dressage”, medical doctors and riders Heinrich and Volker Schusdziarra point out one of the major causes of bouncing. Riders often tighten the muscles throughout the area of their crotch as a defense against impact when bouncing. Rather than helping, however, such tension actually makes things worse.

The tightened crotch muscles prevent a rider from sitting deeply in the saddle. Instead, the rider is lifted to balance above the saddle. His center of gravity rises and he becomes unstable. Tense muscles are rigid and lack the shock absorbing quality of relaxed muscles.

Tight leg muscles holding onto the sides of a horse have a similar effect. The rider’s weight is blocked at this point, preventing the weight from being drawn downward by gravity into the rider’s feet.

In contrast, a rider with relaxed muscles whose upper torso is balanced over a vertical pelvis and whose legs hang loosely beneath him sinks deeply into the saddle as his legs wrap effortlessly around his horse’s sides. The balls of the rider’s feet rest securely on his stirrups while gravity draws his heels lower.

The relaxed muscles of such a rider can quickly and smoothly make the adjustments necessary to maintain balance as each part of his body moves easily with the movements of his horse’s body.

An added bonus of such riding is that a horse will generally relax if the rider relaxes. As a horse releases unnecessary tension in its muscles, its movements become smoother and its muscles absorb more of the impact as its feet hit the ground.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-21-2015, 11:42 AM
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It improves with practice but there are two main factors that cause too much bounce and you may be doing a little of both. Too much pressure on the stirrups can cause this. Beginners are often told "push your heels down" which is fine for finding the correct position and streaching leg muscles but you should not be using the weight of your body to do so. The other is keeping your body too ridged. Some students try to "lock" there body into the correct position where they should be staying loose and flexible. Think of a loose spring with the bottom sitting on the saddle and your head and shoulders resting on the top. When the saddle comes up, the spring contacts and adjusts.

Practice while walking, keeping your seat firmly in the saddle, your upper back and shoulders still, and let you lower back and hips find and "roll" with the motion of the horse. That feeling is what you are looking to find and develop. Riding without stirrups can help and also develops good balance.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-21-2015, 11:44 AM
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I agree with TX - easier said than done!

You need to learn what muscles to use and one of the best things to teach you is to sit on a swing and start swinging. The push you use in your seat is the same as the push you need when using your seat to drive a horse forward or to sit deep.

A very good exercise to do is to take reins in one hand and if riding in an English saddle insert two fingers of your free hand under the pommel or with western on the horn and pull the saddle off the horse's back. At the same time try not to brace down into your stirrups.

This will give you the feel of what is wanted, you might well be leaning back a bit but don't worry, it is easy to come upright when you have the movement absorbing through your body.
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-21-2015, 12:14 PM
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It might be best to get the help of someone who can see you ride and is able to coach you. You called yourself "Inexperience Rider" so that may mean you need lessons/coaching. It takes practice to "go with" the horse as well as understanding the meaning of "seat".

Also, if you are banging about on the horse's back, it will cause him to stiffen and get more bouncy as he tries to avoid the impact.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-21-2015, 12:25 PM
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to be honest, a person can say a lot of generalities about things that make a new rider get buounced around too much, but without seeing a video of how YOU ride, it is just a generality.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-21-2015, 01:16 PM
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I agree, relaxing is key but sometimes that is easier said than done. I have found that a visual in your mind helps---thinking if it as pushing a swing (particularly at the canter) or your back and hips as a spring (especially for the trot) have always been good visuals for me. But sometime even that isn't enough and you need some exercises! Taking the reins in one hand and holding the pommel with the other hand is quite helpful, especially if you can have a friend or trainer lunge you so that you aren't having to worry about steering. An exercise that I think might be even more helpful is to work without stirrups. Without stirrups it's pretty hard to bounde so it really lets you develop your seat. Meanwhile, it works wonders for your legs and overall will strengthen you tremendously as a rider. If you are taking lessons, ask your trainer to help you work on this. If you don't have a trainer, it might be easiest to ask a friend to lunge you so that you can again, focus on you and not your horse. You could even consider going without stirrups and holding the pommel for a little extra help when you're first giving it a go. If no one can lounge you, it would still be fine to just do this on your own. A few important tips 1) Do this on a day that your horse is being well behaved---it isn't fun trying to handle a frisky horse while learning no stirrups! 2) Cross your stirrups over your horse's withers (just in front of the pommel) so that they aren't bouncing around and scaring your horse, 3) Be very aware of your legs---push yourself to maintain proper leg position---toes up and elongate your legs---long and low. Most people have a tendency to pinch with their knees and to stiffen up as they start feeling unbalanced. Remember, relax, maintain even pressure throughout the length of your leg (not just your knee), and lower that leg---it may almost feel as though your leg is nearly straight, but keep those toes up! 4) Do whatever gaits and manuevers you are comfortable doing but push yourself in terms of how long you go to enhance strength. If you only feel comfortable trotting at first, only trot and work towards building up to cantering. You can also work up to posting, two-point, jumping, etc without stirrups---anything is possible as you get stronger and all the while, your seat will be benefiting.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-21-2015, 08:43 PM
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An old thread, but a good one:


Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-22-2015, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much everyone for your valuable input!!!
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-22-2015, 07:01 PM
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My teacher has given me several visualization exercises but today I focused on the 'relaxed muscles' approach, first taking hold of it at the walk and then trying to hang on to that feeling at the posting trot. It worked! Even with my green, all-over-the-map horse, I felt I was sitting deeper, posting just enough, and had much greater control of my leg aids. I could tell it worked because my horse stopped veering all over the place and for the first time offered an even, round circle at a steady pace, and I felt like I was really with her, at least for awhile (then I lost the feeling, we veered again, blah blah).
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