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View Full Version : Your fav tips/advice on how to better sit the extended trot



piaffe885
Oct. 6, 2011, 06:33 PM
Hi everybody,

My gelding and I are going through a bobble in our training at the moment. He's a 17.2 Dutch WB with powerful gaits, I'm 5'10 but lacking some core strength. We're currently at 3rd/4th level. Unfortunately when I ask for the sitting extended trot, I loose my stability, then start bouncing around, loose a steady leg, connection, ect. So frustrating! I've started at a gym and am taking Yoga to improve my core strength, but I still feel there's more I could do. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

lovey1121
Oct. 6, 2011, 07:58 PM
This is what worked for me and my horse when having the same problem, told to me in a clininc w/a BNT. This may earn me flames:cool: but! it really helped me both sit my horse at medium and extended, and helped me get his back up.

I was told to soften my thighs and close my lower legs as if there was a crane trying to pluck me off my horse's back, and I wasn't allowed to let him go......

BNT took an old styrofoam coffee cup and put her fingers around it so that her thumb and forefinger held the cup gently, She said to imagine the lowest phalanges of both fingers as my lower legs,and the upper phalanges(those closest to the body of the hand) as my thighs. With me so far?

When BNT squeezed the coffee cup with the middle phalanges (proximal phalanges) alias her thighs, the cup fell out of her hands...!!!

When she squeezed the cup with her lower phalanges (distal and intermediate phalanges)---alias her lower leg, the cup bent a bit and filled the curve of her hand.

I realize that this advice is not for all-it worked for me, since my horse had both a big tough trot to sit AND I had trouble keeping him through--he was notoriously very picky about giving his back...bounce around even a little and he'd drop it like a dirty Kleenex.

So I imagined this big crane trying to pluck me off my horse, and I'd be darned if I wasn't taking my horse with me by using those formerly clueless lower legs of mine. Worked like a charm for me...a true AH HA moment. Horsie appreciated it, too. I could finally sit his trot, because I had his back AND I was more stable up there.

Certainly you should also do longe lessons, use a bucking strap, etc. For me and my horse, however, this was the lightbulb moment.

mildot
Oct. 6, 2011, 08:09 PM
lovey, great imagery. I'm gonna give it a try tomorrow.

lovey1121
Oct. 6, 2011, 08:24 PM
Great, mildot....it worked so well for me. You can try the cup thing at home-just dont use glass!

meupatdoes
Oct. 6, 2011, 10:59 PM
I had an ah ha moment when I stopped imagining my hips going up down up down on one lifting and lowering line parallel to the ground, and instead envisioned them swooping up down up down individually (http://movieclips.com/frYCp-my-cousin-vinny-movie-a-lovely-witness/).

Also it has helped me to try to lead the stride with the 'front line' of my lower torso rather than try to push it from my back line.

Leprechaun
Oct. 7, 2011, 10:38 AM
Drop your stirrups for a week or two.

Reiter
Oct. 7, 2011, 11:00 AM
Some great tips already! I think it is very important to let go of all the (wrong) tension. Yes, your core needs to be strong, but stiffness (wrong muscle tension) will cause you to bounce. When I think about what it feels like to sit a great extended trot I imagine the rider almost melting a little bit on the horses back. Not slumping or slouching but really going with the motion like you are part of the horse (which is not possible if you hold yourself stiff)!
Good luck and definitely keep the ab work out going! :)

mbm
Oct. 7, 2011, 11:34 AM
the most important thing to have in place is that your horse is truly using his back and working from behind sending the energy over a soft swinging back out to the bit, etc.

since a correctly working horse offers his back they pretty much will suck you down into their back - and if that is in place then sitting should be much more easy -

if you are still having trouble sitting the trot then some of the above posts certainly should help.

Blugal
Oct. 7, 2011, 11:55 AM
Along the lines of the cup analogy...

Think of lifting the saddle and the horse's back with your seat in the "up" phase of the stride - almost doing rising trot, except you're sitting. This imagery helped me.

mildot
Oct. 7, 2011, 12:03 PM
Along the lines of the cup analogy...

Think of lifting the saddle and the horse's back with your seat in the "up" phase of the stride - almost doing rising trot, except you're sitting. This imagery helped me.
I concur. That's one of the techniques that took me from bouncing off to sitting fairly effectively at a working trot.

scubed
Oct. 7, 2011, 12:07 PM
My childhood trainer used the picture of a figure 8 with the hips with the middle of the figure 8 "higher" than the outside edges of the circle. This has always helped me

Gloria
Oct. 7, 2011, 12:09 PM
Lovey, what a lovely description!!!

Just prove that dressage is so darn counterintuitive, isn' it?

Petstorejunkie
Oct. 7, 2011, 03:59 PM
think about pedaling teeny tiny circles backwards with your legs in time to the motion of the horse while keeping your abs "zipped up"

2tempe
Oct. 7, 2011, 04:14 PM
think about pedaling teeny tiny circles backwards with your legs in time to the motion of the horse while keeping your abs "zipped up"

:eek::eek::eek:Somehow this sounds like patting my head and rubbing my stomach........I'm just not sure its possible!!!
But - always game for a challenge, I'll give this a try tomorrow when no one is watching.....

I think I'll also try the loose upper leg, snug lower leg. Fortunately my girl is pretty comfy to sit, but I do know that I need more control on the extensions:yes:

DutchDressageQueen
Oct. 7, 2011, 04:15 PM
the most important thing to have in place is that your horse is truly using his back and working from behind sending the energy over a soft swinging back out to the bit, etc.

since a correctly working horse offers his back they pretty much will suck you down into their back - and if that is in place then sitting should be much more easy -

if you are still having trouble sitting the trot then some of the above posts certainly should help.

:yes:

If he is not working correctly you will not be able to sit the trot well.

Petstorejunkie
Oct. 7, 2011, 04:40 PM
:eek::eek::eek:Somehow this sounds like patting my head and rubbing my stomach........I'm just not sure its possible!!!
But - always game for a challenge, I'll give this a try tomorrow when no one is watching.....

I think I'll also try the loose upper leg, snug lower leg. Fortunately my girl is pretty comfy to sit, but I do know that I need more control on the extensions:yes:

one leg at a time in the motion with the horse. right hind of horse comes forward while your right leg makes a tiny (like 1" tiny) circle backwards to "step on" the horse's hind foot as it lands

lovey1121
Oct. 7, 2011, 06:03 PM
:yes:

If he is not working correctly you will not be able to sit the trot well.

Very true. Though in my case, my horse would drop his back when I started a-thumpin up there-once I envisioned the crane coming and I used my lower legs to "hold on" to my horse, not only did I have much more control over ME, but I felt as though I was "lifting" my horse's back at the same time. Until then, I'd never had a great ext. trot with this GP master of protecting his back.

So it was a chicken-or-egg sequence--I believe that once I loosened my thigh muscles and really used my lower leg muscles, I immediately became more secure AND asked my horse to lift his back and stay there. Add a bunch of half-halts and we were going gangbusters, and I never again had trouble with sitting his trot OR getting his back.

At first I felt like I was squeezing inordinately hard, and I worried about that. But as we practiced, it became easier and thus more automatic-I believe that rather than me doing too much, I had been sitting trots (all my life) as too much of a passenger. Boy I wish I had discovered this 20 years before...my poor first horse:no:

DutchDressageQueen
Oct. 7, 2011, 06:55 PM
Very true. Though in my case, my horse would drop his back when I started a-thumpin up there-once I envisioned the crane coming and I used my lower legs to "hold on" to my horse, not only did I have much more control over ME, but I felt as though I was "lifting" my horse's back at the same time. Until then, I'd never had a great ext. trot with this GP master of protecting his back.

So it was a chicken-or-egg sequence--I believe that once I loosened my thigh muscles and really used my lower leg muscles, I immediately became more secure AND asked my horse to lift his back and stay there. Add a bunch of half-halts and we were going gangbusters, and I never again had trouble with sitting his trot OR getting his back.

At first I felt like I was squeezing inordinately hard, and I worried about that. But as we practiced, it became easier and thus more automatic-I believe that rather than me doing too much, I had been sitting trots (all my life) as too much of a passenger. Boy I wish I had discovered this 20 years before...my poor first horse:no:

That is exactly the way I learned to sit the trot and extended trot.

Let go of negative tension, instead of gripping with thighs, use lower leg.
:yes: :yes::yes:

Also, gripping with thighs only pushes the rider more out of the saddle

dudleyc
Oct. 7, 2011, 07:08 PM
Also don't go bigger than you can sit. I assume you can sit well at a collected trot - how about a medium trot? Push forward, slowly, step by step, just barely past your comfort zone, than half halt and come back, get comfortable, push again just barely past the comfort zone. Play around the bounderies.

lovey1121
Oct. 7, 2011, 07:34 PM
That is exactly the way I learned to sit the trot and extended trot.

Let go of negative tension, instead of gripping with thighs, use lower leg.
:yes: :yes::yes:

Also, gripping with thighs only pushes the rider more out of the saddle

YUP. Hence the styrofoam coffee cup drops to the floor.

/0\ ..... . ............ / \
l . l ..... versus .... l 0 l

apologies to the stick art master...

DennisM
Oct. 7, 2011, 08:44 PM
The best advice I ever got for sitting my 17H mare's extended trots (has scored 8s to 9s) was to let my shoulders bounce (i.e., not stiffening my upper torso, but absorbing the up/down motion by loosening my shoulders). I also agree that more relaxed thighs helps. Good luck.

DutchDressageQueen
Oct. 7, 2011, 09:23 PM
Also don't go bigger than you can sit. I assume you can sit well at a collected trot - how about a medium trot? Push forward, slowly, step by step, just barely past your comfort zone, than half halt and come back, get comfortable, push again just barely past the comfort zone. Play around the bounderies.

:yes:

also do not attempt to sit unless you know your horse is moving correctly(using his back, is soft, etc.).

It is better to have small parts of good sitting than attempting to sit for a long time and bouncing around. the smaller parts will get longer with more practice.

also do not tense your whole back. You need to have some positive tension in lower back. have positive tension in your shoulders, but do not let it get so far that you are tight in your back/shoulders.

remember to sit straight, a lot of people will lean backwards, to try and put more weight in the saddle to stay seated properly-that is incorrect.
you need to go with your horse, not lean against him.