Trot Questions? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-27-2015, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Trot Questions?

I used to ride a while ago, and only got back into it recently. I've gone to 10 lessons already And have mostly just worked on my posting and steering at trot. My horse's name is Mia, she is a thoroughbred and about 13 years old. She has a funny personality, and she decides to stop if you aren't posting or trotting perfectly. In the beginning, I would only get about 3-4 steps before she would stop. And usually the error was easy for me to point out because I had just started (usually heels weren't down or I was leaning to forward to to back) But now, I can get much farther and get her trotting on my own (she is very lazy and finds any excuse to stop) but keeping her going seems so straining and tiring when I'm doing it. It feels like when I'm going I can't keep posting for much longer and that I'm just going to fall into the saddle tired. When I watch others in the ring with me, they post so easily, and it looks like they could just do it in their sleep. Why does something that seems simple as posting takes so much effort for me? I'm not sure it's because of my horse, because she needs a lot of leg, or if it's just something I'm doing wrong, or maybe it's that I just have to get used to it, I'm not sure. Has anyone else experienced this before?
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-27-2015, 03:28 PM
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The horse you ride could be much smoother than the other horses so doesn't pop you up as easily or you could be over posting (going too high). Try letting her do more of the work & you just go along with it.
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-27-2015, 07:36 PM
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All horses are different. My horse I have to try and stop from breaking into a canter at times. You're horse is just being lazy and knows that to some point she can get away with it. Do you ride with a spur or a crop? You just really need to enforce that unless you ask them to stop, they do not stop, and if they do you get after them. Otherwise you are teaching them that they can get away with it. And it is perfectly normal for your legs to get sore, they will get stronger with time.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-03-2015, 04:52 AM
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It's always hard in the beginning. It also sounds like your horse isn't helping, but don't let her get away with stopping. If you think it's a pain issue, check the saddle fit. And honestly, if you're getting tired you must be doing it right! It takes months for posting to become effortless because you have to build up your muscles. To help a little, you could try squats, hip abductor exercises, lunges, and yoga to build up muscles quicker and gain flexibility. Also, everyone else may look great, but they could be using the wrong muscles ;) Keep it up!
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-03-2015, 11:21 AM
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There are a number of things to consider in a situation like this. While posting may appear simple, posting well requires some knowledge and practice.

The first thing to do is try to determine how much of this problem is caused by your horse and how much is caused by you. If you are able, try riding other horses and see how different your experience is. Ask others – particularly those you say seem to post so easily – to trot your horse. Compare how your horse responds to then. Ask them to share any tips if they must ride differently on your horse.

Of course, you want to determine that your horse has no physical problem limiting her ability to trot well. You also want to be sure your tack fits her reasonably well and is adjusted properly.

It is also beneficial that your saddle fits you well. The saddle should be reasonably comfortable and allow you to sit in the middle without touching either the pommel or cantle. The stirrups should hang so your body can align itself with head over shoulders over hips over heels. It helps if the stirrup straps are long enough that the stirrup irons hang near your heels when your feet are not resting on them. When rising at the trot, it is no more beneficial to rise several inches out of the saddle than to rise 1/8 of an inch.

Technique greatly influences the energy expended by an individual engaged in any physical activity. Try to relax as you let the horse propel you out of the saddle. If your horse is not propelling you out of the saddle, there is no benefit in posting. Simply use your muscles to draw your hips forward, if necessary, to keep up with the forward motion of your horse and control your decent into the saddle so you do not drop onto your horse’s back causing her to tighten her muscles in a defensive response. Understand that performing this technique well may take some practice.

Aside from having others ride Mia, you might try a sitting trot to determine if she is really lazy. If your horse is truly lazy, proper application of a crop or whip may help. A more experienced rider can squeeze his legs in a pulsing motion as part of his posting action to encourage the horse to move out with more energy. Some riders do this when rising from the saddle, others when returning to the saddle. The best effect may depend on the particular horse and rider.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-03-2015, 04:20 PM
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Everything the others have been saying is great. I wanted to chime in because I also have a lazy horse (especially in an arena--she's got more pep on the trail, though she's still never in a hurry to get anywhere). My trainer doesn't want me to squeeze-squeeze-squeeze to get her to keep going. The horse will become dead to that cue, and you'll have to move to firmer and firmer cues if you do that. Instead, I need to teach my horse "responsibility."

The trainer helps me work with her on this at the lunge and riding, and at both the walk and trot (we're not worrying about the canter yet with my horse). If I ask her to walk, she needs to walk until I tell her otherwise. Same with trot. So when riding, if we're walking, I ask for a trot with my seat and a squeeze of my legs, and if she doesn't start trotting, I pop her with the whip. Not BEAT her with it, but a good whap that will cause her to re-think her decision. She trots. Great. No nagging, mission accomplished. We slow to a walk. I ask her to trot again, with seat and a squeeze of the legs. This time she decides to just go ahead and trot without the whip needing to get involved. After a couple lessons of this, it usually isn't a problem to GET the trot anymore.

However, then we had to start working on maintaining the trot. The hardest part is that you have to let the horse make the mistake. If you feel them starting to slow down, and squeeze with your legs to make them speed up a bit, a green horse anyway won't necessarily associate those things, and you'll just have to start nagging them every time they slow down. So let them get all the way to a walk, then cue for the trot again, with the reinforcing pop of the whip if necessary. Repeat ad nauseum.

My trainer also works with us on posting properly. She's a centered riding instructor, so has all these great images she shares verbally for us to picture mentally while riding. The one that works for me and improves my posting the most is to not worry about pumping your butt up and down, but rather to think about pushing your knees (not even your feet, though that image works for some people) down toward the ground. Every time I think of it this way, my posting gets WAY more effortless, and less bouncy on the saddle, too. Who knows why. My instructor has also shown us, in clinics, the difference in posting by using an exercise ball. When you think "up down up down up down" while posting, you tend to be pushing the energy of the horse backward--the ball literally wants to squirt through your legs backwards, so if it's doing that to the ball, your horse is probably feeling like you WANT it to slow down. When you think "forward back" with your hips (it almost seems obscene doing these hip thrusts on an exercise ball, but it's much more natural on the real horse), and think of pushing your knees down, the ball has forward energy, and is much more likely to squirt forward between your knees instead of backward, so obviously the horse would have more forward energy, too. It's the weirdest thing, but really does seem to work.

Hopefully you have a trainer near you who can help, but try it out yourself--do a circle of your normal posting, then do a circle thinking up-down-up-down, then try a circle where you're thrusting your hips forward and back while posting, not worrying how high off the saddle you go, and think of pushing your knees down toward the ground. See if it helps!

Meanwhile, yeah, your legs WILL get tired and sore from posting--it does take muscles even if you're doing it right and the horse is mostly thrusting you upward/forward, but they shouldn't be AS sore if you're only posting, and not having to post AND squeeze to keep your horse moving.

Good luck!

Shawna
Central Oregon
http://yougottastart.blogspot.com
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-03-2015, 09:11 PM
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I take lessons at a barn and I have ridden several different horses. Some are WAY easier to post on than others. Hang in there--you'll get it!
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