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Sitting Trot Tips

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  • #41
    It wasn’t until I could get my horse properly connected back to front and in front of the leg that I could sit. Then it was easy. Imo It shouldn’t be that difficult even on a bigger moving horse. I struggled for literally years and now it’s easier than posting. I agree it’s one thing to sit, another to influence the horse while sitting.

    Comment


    • #42
      I haven't read all of the responses on here so apologies if this is repetitive. But I feel like I struggled with the same issues as the OP. Here's what worked for me:

      1. I started seeing a chiropractor for lower back pain from an old injury. Lo and behold, it helped loosen up my hip flexors!

      2. I started seeing a massage therapist for the same thing. The combo of chiro and massage has been awesome.

      3. I really, really strengthened my entire core and upper body by attending a barre class twice a week. This was on top of my weekly yoga class.

      This was in addition to riding 3-4 times a week -- also on a horse with big gaits. I think the core strengthening though was what really did the trick. And when I say I REALLY strengthened my core, I mean REALLY strengthened it. I'm not saying I had a six pack, but I was on my way. And it helped my back pain too!

      Of course, my horse then got sick and I fell off the wagon, so I'm going to have to redo all of this eventually, but at least I know what to do now.

      One additional comment -- I also recently started doing yin yoga in addition to my regular vinyasa. I have found it more effective in terms of loosening everything up. I would highly recommend checking it out.

      Comment


      • #43
        Originally posted by the sandiest shoes View Post

        You don't have to sit the trot at First Level, to be clear. It's optional rising or sitting.

        I agree that someone training First Level should probably be able to do some sitting trot in general, but it's not required.
        No, it is not required (although it used to be). I was speaking in a general sense training wise. Not sure I would recommend someone who has not sat a whole test debut that at 2nd level. The whole "training a full level above where you are showing" and all. One should not be barely 2nd level showing 2nd. You should be firmly schooling 3rd level (maybe not changes, but the balance and collection, movements) before showing 2nd.
        From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

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        • #44
          The first thing to remember is that in a sitting trot, you are not just sitting. Your hips are allowing your gluteals to stay softly parked in the saddle. In order to do this your upper pelvis needs to rock down, and forward. Your inner thighs at first are relaxed and allow the motion. Later they are helpful in controlling speed , and later that gentle rock of the upper pelvis controls the amount of thrust needed in transitions within the gait. But for now you just need to keep those gluteals softly grounded in rhythm..

          The upper body carries you, but that's another problem.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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          • #45
            Exercise with a hula hoop!

            Comment


            • #46
              Originally posted by ZELLA View Post
              Exercise with a hula hoop!
              I’ve seen that advice before, and while enjoyable it seems to adversely affect my waistline, maybe I’m doing it wrong?


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              "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

              "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

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              • #47
                Originally posted by jonem004 View Post
                If I don’t actively make sure my butt cheeks are relaxed it makes be bounce. Riding is such an interesting combination of enough tension to keep you balanced and enough relaxation to allow you to follow.
                yes! This is super important. I imagine that i have in hinge in the middle of my pelvis so each side can move fluidly with the side of the saddle that is lifting. I know this doesn't make physiological sense, but the visual is helpful to me. I also have to tell me body to relax my bum and move that tension into my core. I try to imagine the tension visibly moving from one muscle set to the others.

                I'm at the point where I still have to really focus on what to do with my body to sit the trot.Which means I can go it on a straight line but add steering in and my brain gets overloaded and my body reverts to gripping. With enough practice it wont have to be such a mechanical, front of mind thing, but boy is it a nice feeling to really move with the horse and have his back lift you - even for just a few strides at a time - its encouraging!

                Comment


                • #48
                  OP - you said something early on that caught my eye. You said you "end up gripping with my calves." To a degree, that's not incorrect. I have since had them both replaced, but I rode with arthritic (and very painful) hips for years and while I had to guard against stiffness, I never had issues sitting the trot, so I think I understand where you are coming from.

                  As many others have said, you should practice on a lunge line if your instructor can help you with that. One exercise I give people when they are learning to sit the trot is on the lunge, holding the grab strap for balance, while the horse is trotting, pull both legs as far away from the horse's sides as you can. You will, of course, bounce wildly and have to put your legs back within a stride or two. The purpose here is to illustrate that you are never sitting on the horse's back with balance and the grace of God alone. You DO have to hold on with your legs somewhat. That is what will keep you from bouncing.

                  Ride without your irons as often as possible. Bracing in the stirrups against the trot rhythm causes a lot of the stiffness and bouncing. You will find it is easier to find and use your core to move with the horse when you don't have any stirrups to brace against.

                  Also, as has been mentioned, establish your nice, rhythmic rising trot around the arena. Sit a few strides and then right back up into posting until you can gradually increase the length of time you remain sitting. If it helps, the movement of your pelvis in the sitting trot is not too much different from that in the canter - it's just a faster 1-2 rhythm instead of the smoother canter rhythm. Make sense? Good luck!

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    And I will disagree and say the opposite to what Mondo just said! You want your legs OFF your horse to sit well. Gripping with legs is what is tightening your hips. And your hips should not be rocking. Your hip sockets open and close, and tight hip flexors can prevent them from doing that. But a rocking pelvis is a fast track to back surgery and doesn't work. Yes, there will be some motion there on a bigger trot, but if you think about moving there instead of about letting your hip sockets move, you're going to continue fighting your tightness.

                    I think of breathing through my legs, or the gentle in and out of a bellows, as if my legs are barely skimming my horse's sides. My core supports my torso so my waist is NOT bending from pelvis rocking, and my pelvis essentially stays oriented to the saddle in the same way it started - and the angle of my hip sockets changes as my horse moves.

                    Straddling a yoga ball and bouncing it upwards - think of doing kegels - helps you feel the muscles you need, which are not your calves or a rocking pelvis. It also gives you a chance to think of following the bounce.

                    Yes, stretching regularly is good, but I suspect just learning to let go of tension will be a big part of it.

                    Added:
                    Try to lift your legs entirely off your horse, leaving air between legs and horse. it becomes super easy to sit the trot like that. Combine that with all the advice of posting as soon as you start to feel tension. And if you need, think of sitting trot as tiny posting until you're never leaving the saddle. You have to improve your posting trot for that to help!
                    If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
                    -meupatdoes

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                    • #50
                      If the horse is actually collecting, as in sitting more to lift the forehand more, then sitting the trot should be much easier.

                      If however, the neck is collected but the horse is still on the forehand (often with the nose btv), then sitting the trot is much harder because the horse is still on the forehand.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        I don’t remember struggling with the sitting trot when I was younger and in riding camps than now, with lessons and my own horse

                        I take lessons with a dressage trainer who of course helps me with flat work and *some* jumping, which is nice, but I’ve recently been entering the hunter scene.

                        I can very much relate to being able to do a nice or decent sitting trot without really trying but not when I get in an arena and actually focus on it. For example, sitting the trot from the warmup arena to the actual arena to get to my class on time. Easy peasy! But when the announcer tells everyone to sit the trot and you must maintain it for at least three minutes... yikes. I pray the night before that there’s no sitting trot!

                        Personally, I’ve been trying no-stirrup work more and more. I also focus on keeping my legs firm but soft, putting my heel down (which I find helps me with the bouncing a bit), and stretching down my leg. However I mainly do the stretching down because my leg and knee tend to come up and grip more.

                        I unfortunately can’t relate to pain or an injury, but the massage suggestions seem like it’d be beneficial!

                        As for whether it’s required or not, I don’t usually sit the trot unless it’s for a show or my trainer asks me to. I will if I’m riding without stirrups (posting without stirrups is hard for me) or want to see what needs improvement, but otherwise I avoid it. I don’t really recommend this as in my case I’m just putting it off. Waiting is perfectly fine if you and/or your trainer think you’re not quite ready for it yet.

                        Apologies if any of these are repetitive! Good luck.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by netg View Post

                          Straddling a yoga ball and bouncing it upwards - think of doing kegels - helps you feel the muscles you need, which are not your calves or a rocking pelvis. It also gives you a chance to think of following the bounce.
                          netg, could you explain this a bit further? I have long legs.... should I have bent knees? How close to my crotch should the ball be? etc etc.... I think this is really what I need, because I have started sitting the trot by putting a lot of weight in my feet, and I think I am therefore riding the "down" rather than the "up"......

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by lorilu View Post

                            netg, could you explain this a bit further? I have long legs.... should I have bent knees? How close to my crotch should the ball be? etc etc.... I think this is really what I need, because I have started sitting the trot by putting a lot of weight in my feet, and I think I am therefore riding the "down" rather than the "up"......
                            Much like a riding position. Because of leg length, you will likely have more bent knees than in the saddle, but you can play with feet aligned with your hips the way they should be in the saddle for balance with feet spread the amount they would be on your horse, which won't be to the sides of the ball but will be a chair seat equivalent. For me, the legs back is important due to my own imbalances. Many times taller riders have legs which swing back too far so legs more forward can be ok. This should help you feel the balance between allowing your feet to help balance and absorb motion and lifting instead of driving down.
                            If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
                            -meupatdoes

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #54
                              Originally posted by netg View Post
                              Your hip sockets open and close, and tight hip flexors can prevent them from doing that. But a rocking pelvis is a fast track to back surgery and doesn't work. Yes, there will be some motion there on a bigger trot, but if you think about moving there instead of about letting your hip sockets move, you're going to continue fighting your tightness.

                              !
                              I can't even really imagine what you mean by hip sockets open and closing.
                              i do have very tight hip flexors though so I'm sure it's not happening for me.

                              Is there any other info you can point me too, to illustrate what you mean? I watched a bunch of videos but they all say the same thing (hours of practice)

                              I've gone back to doing 3 strides in trot as I've noticed that my horse changes as soon as I sit (anticipating a change of pace I'm guessing) so that's something to work through.

                              The longer stirrups help my position when I put them back to normal for about 2 minutes but changes don't stick like they used too ☹️
                              I definitely don't brace on the stirrups, I more lift with my heels.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Eclipserider View Post

                                I can't even really imagine what you mean by hip sockets open and closing.
                                i do have very tight hip flexors though so I'm sure it's not happening for me.

                                Is there any other info you can point me too, to illustrate what you mean? I watched a bunch of videos but they all say the same thing (hours of practice)

                                I've gone back to doing 3 strides in trot as I've noticed that my horse changes as soon as I sit (anticipating a change of pace I'm guessing) so that's something to work through.

                                The longer stirrups help my position when I put them back to normal for about 2 minutes but changes don't stick like they used too ☹️
                                I definitely don't brace on the stirrups, I more lift with my heels.
                                Try sitting in a halt-trot transition, he will get over the idea that every sit means a down transition. Be sure your legs and seat are active when you go from the posting to the sitting.
                                If you are lifting with your heels you are pressing with your toes. You should have weight in your heels.... that straight line shoulders-hips-heels.... (I also have this problem)

                                and yes I am struggling to effectivly sit Bravos trot so take my advice for what its worth.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by Eclipserider View Post

                                  I can't even really imagine what you mean by hip sockets open and closing.
                                  i do have very tight hip flexors though so I'm sure it's not happening for me.

                                  Is there any other info you can point me too, to illustrate what you mean? I watched a bunch of videos but they all say the same thing (hours of practice)

                                  I've gone back to doing 3 strides in trot as I've noticed that my horse changes as soon as I sit (anticipating a change of pace I'm guessing) so that's something to work through.

                                  The longer stirrups help my position when I put them back to normal for about 2 minutes but changes don't stick like they used too ☹️
                                  I definitely don't brace on the stirrups, I more lift with my heels.
                                  Your hip flexors are unlikely to be your actual problem. You are most likely tensing them because you're trying to ride the trot with incorrect mechanics. Even knowing correct mechanics alone doesn't make it easier necessarily! If your hip flexors are too tight, shorten your stirrups so they aren't being extended so much.

                                  https://youtu.be/UgkZtqsiu2Q

                                  There is a little motion in Steffen's lower back because of the size of the gaits. However, most motion is absorbed by his pelvis staying the same relative to the saddle, but not his legs. His leg/pelvis angle changes, thus the hip socket absorbs the motion. So do his knees and ankles. I actually screw up my trot more by tightening my ankles than anywhere else these days.

                                  How is your two point? Besides posting lower and lower, riding two point with a leg which is not gripping, feet parallel to the horse, and turning it into a more upright position maintaining the opening and closing of all the leg joints which allow you to absorb motion when riding two point well, until your pelvis touches the saddle, puts you into a great sitting trot.
                                  If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
                                  -meupatdoes

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    THE THING that worked for me was longe lessons on a bareback pad with a vaulting surcingle. That's what finally separated my aids and found me my balance. The first session was full of tears, but the learning curve was astounding. Can you find an instructor who is an effective longeur and has a balanced longe horse?

                                    ETA
                                    I am in the camp with those who say you do not grip with your legs. Gripping will cause bouncing. Finding your balance is the key.
                                    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Quick reply, have only read the first page.

                                      If you struggle to get the leathers back on, cross your stirrups rather than taking them off.

                                      I struggle with stiffness and the best thing I've found is some barre work. My friend is a ballet teacher and nagged me into it but it really helps.
                                      Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by Eclipserider View Post

                                        I can start planning to show at 2nd as soon as I can sit, so that's really what's holding me back at this point.

                                        We spent a lot of time and money looking for the current saddle, while I agree in principle that maybe there is a better saddle out there, I refuse to be sucked into a neverending cycle of looking for a saddle to solve my rider issues.

                                        I really struggle with hip flexibility and it's the root cause of a bunch of issues for me. It makes it harder, not impossible. I'm aware I could probably do more from a rider fitness and flexibility POV, which I'm trying to do (juggling 10hr shift work, a horse and study) and adult responsibility in general.

                                        Thank you everyone. I have no visions of being the next Anky, just an adult re-rider with a very nice horse, hoping to get a bit better 😄
                                        In addition to the excellent tips above, do you have a good yoga instructor in the area that you could take some private sessions with? Someone that can show you how to put together an at-home practice that will safely, progressively open the hips, chest, and back? While I've never injured my hips, I've always been less than stellar in the flexibility department and had fascia buildup from bad movement patterns in the gym and life in general. It sounds kind of silly, but improving my biomechanics for riding was a huge part of what motivated me to go back and finish the 200 hour yoga instructor certification that I'd stopped due to a non-riding related injury.

                                        It's made a huge difference! My personal practice includes a lot of hip, chest and back work. I also try to do at least one Yin practice a week and myofascial work. I recorded part of my schooling ride yesterday and was cringing at first because my lower leg swings waaaaay more than I would like at the trot. Then it occurred to me - my seat and upper body have improved like 1000% since the last time I recorded my riding at the clinic in April. And my magical dressage unicorn schoolmaster that spent his formative years with Silva Martin actually seems to approve. He gives nothing up unless asked correctly. My lower leg sure isn't going to get me into the Olympics and needs to be addressed. But so many of of my former disaster areas are looking much better and my overall riding has apparently improved to the point where I almost can't believe that I'm the one getting *that* trot from *that* horse. The trot that only the trainer could get a few short months ago. And the horse just seems happier - eager to get to work and enjoying our rides together a lot more.

                                        Comment

                                        • Original Poster

                                          #60
                                          [QUOTE=netg;n10510894

                                          How is your two point? Besides posting lower and lower, riding two point with a leg which is not gripping, feet parallel to the horse, and turning it into a more upright position maintaining the opening and closing of all the leg joints which allow you to absorb motion when riding two point well, until your pelvis touches the saddle, puts you into a great sitting trot.[/QUOTE]

                                          my 2 point is pretty good, I'm better at that than sit work (ex track rider) I can trot around without posting though not as well as I used to.
                                          Getting older sure have some physical downsides

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