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Help me with sitting trot...

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  • Help me with sitting trot...

    Every time I ride, I cross my stirrups and practice sitting trot. I've been holding the pommel with one hand and using it to sort of pull myself to the front of the saddle and sit the motion without bouncing. I still pretty much suck at it, but I've seen some improvement in my ability to follow the motion.

    I have some questions about it should feel to sit the trot. What kind of motion should my pelvis make? Posting is up and down and a little forward, so how should sitting feel if I'm doing it correctly?

    Thanks! Any tips are appreciated!

  • #2
    Sent you a PM.
    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

    Comment


    • #3
      There are trainers on this board who can answer more specifically, but I will tell you that holding on to the pommel won't get you where you need to be. You are using arm strength instead of learning how to follow the horse's motion.

      I will share one thing that I learned on my very hard to sit horse, and that is to do the hula. Imagine that you are supple in your hips from side to side but also diagonally. When your horses outside front leg is forward, you "hula" your hips in that direction, when his outside leg is forward, you hula in that direction. To be more specific, it is as if you were sliding your inside hip diagonally towards his outside shoulder, and vice versa, with every stride. I learned to exaggerate this motion at first, but eventually the movement became more quiet and fluid. That stopped the bouncing for me and taught me to follow.

      Another thing is to try sit-sit-post, sit-sit-post. When I first get on and am stiff I do that and it really loosens me up all over, even my shoulders, and gets my pelvis in sitting mode with out going through a rough jarring phase.

      Good luck--it is a major hurdle to overcome.
      2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

      A helmet saved my life.

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      • #4
        I've heard people describe how to sit the trot in so many different ways- move your hips diagonal and forward at the same time, imagine that your seat bones are "jogging" independently of eachother, etc. But a couple of years ago someone on COTH said to do the same motion as when you hula hoop. I tried it that night and it was a major lightbulb for me- for some reason that description totally worked for me.

        Now it's not like I could immediately sit a trot perfectly, but it allowed me to feel (if even for a couple of steps) what was supposed to be happening. It took a lot of practice and muscle building to get my seat more and more independent and reliable for longer periods of time (i.e. lots of lunge line lessons!). So using the same motion as hula hooping is what helped me get it. Hopefully you will find an analogy/description that will help you get there too!

        And I will also say- it helps to have a horse that is using it's back- to try to sit on a hollow horse is NOT helpful in learning.

        Comment


        • #5
          My biggest improvement in sitting the trot on a big moving horse came not from trying to sit the trot for longer and longer periods (which I was also doing) but when I got an exercise ball and started doing core-strengthening workouts everyday. It didn't take long before the core workouts became noticeably easier and I was able to do longer and more difficult workouts... and at the same time, my sitting trot became SOOO much easier. Until the right muscles are strong enough, you will attempt to sit the trot by bracing the wrong muscles in your effort not to bounce, which won't strengthen the right muscles.
          Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
          Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
          My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com

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          • #6
            Another PM
            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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            • #7
              Originally posted by GallantGesture View Post
              but when I got an exercise ball and started doing core-strengthening workouts everyday. It didn't take long before the core workouts became noticeably easier and I was able to do longer and more difficult workouts... and at the same time, my sitting trot became SOOO much easier. Until the right muscles are strong enough, you will attempt to sit the trot by bracing the wrong muscles in your effort not to bounce, which won't strengthen the right muscles.
              I have to agree with this! Keep in mind that the horse's hips move up and down/side-to-side, so you try to sit the same....not just down into the saddle. Core strength is huge for the sitting trot! I don't think the sitting trot is ever easy, on any horse, but it can get easier as you get stronger...and don't hold your breath! Don't worry about the bounce. The more you try not to bounce, the stiffer you will get...and bounce more! Good luck! I've ridden for most of my life and still work on this!
              Mirror Image 2001-2007

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              • #8
                I sure can't explain how it should feel, but I can tell you I was having an awful time with it myself. Then one night I rode with my bareback pad (no stirrups) instead of my saddle and voila! I really got the hang of it. I'm not sure why that made the difference for me - but it did - and it did translate back into the saddle.
                http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheHorseProblem View Post
                  but I will tell you that holding on to the pommel won't get you where you need to be. You are using arm strength instead of learning how to follow the horse's motion.

                  On the contrary, hooking your fingers under the pommel to "plug" your seat in is one of the best ways to learn to sit the trot or canter. This is best done on the lunge line however. It is not done merely to hang on, but to teach yourself how to stay plugged in and "ride the wave" of movement.

                  To the OP, can you get someone to lunge you so that you can focus entirely on "plugging in" your seat? When you plug in your seat by using the pommel, notice exactly what you feel happening. Notice your engaged core muscles and stretched up spine, and exactly how your hips are following the motion. The more you do this and commit it to muscle memory the sooner you will be able to do it without the crutch of the pommel.

                  When you feel like you have a feel for "riding the wave", wean yourself off of the pommel. By initially holding on with just one finger, and then letting go completely for brief periods. Making sure you try to emulate the engaged core and the hip motion that keep you plugged in. And avoiding the natural tendency to clamp with your legs to hang on, which will only "unplug" your seat.

                  It can take quite a while for a rider to develop that coveted balanced, independent seat. But the end result is well worth the struggle! As being in true harmony with a moving horse is what it's all about!




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                  • #10
                    Posted by TheHorseProblem:

                    There are trainers on this board who can answer more specifically, but I will tell you that holding on to the pommel won't get you where you need to be. You are using arm strength instead of learning how to follow the horse's motion.
                    This is an exercise that will give you the feel of the three-points that should be in contact with your saddle (two *seat bones* and the pelvic bone). It is used to give the feel of the contact between the deepest point of your saddle and your *pelvic floor*. It is a very important *feel*, and then you begin to build from there.

                    In order to keep that contact, first and foremost, your spine will have to ripple and absorb the bounce/suspension of every stride. That is what it is meant to teach.

                    Using your hand to pull yourself down deep into the saddle is an exercise that can be practiced once or twice at the beginning of every ride.

                    ETA: if you are going along practicing your sitting trot and you feel that your seat is a bit loose, put both reins in one hand and take your free hand, grab the pommel and pull yourself down into the deepest part of the saddle. Drop your wieght down through your heels and ride forward. let go, pick up your other rein and see if you can keep that deep sucked down feeling, letting your back absorb the bounce.

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                    • #11
                      Try to think of your seat bones separately as they follow and receive the respective diagonal pairs. One will be up, the other down.

                      In other words, you need an independent rear suspension.
                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                      Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
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                      • #12
                        What works best for me is to do exercises that take enough concentration that I stop thinking about sitting, and just do it.
                        "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                        -Edward Hoagland

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                        • #13
                          LOL Wayside--lately what works great for me is going out to the barn saying to myself, "I'm not gonna ride today." I say this off and on while tacking up (especially with all the ice sliders on the roof lately!) and as I lead the horse out. As we walk off, I'm saying to myself, "Ya know, I'm just not gonna ride today." When starting any sitting trot, I say to myself, "I'm not riding today."

                          For some reason, I can totally pysch myself out with this. It seems to help me let go of any tension I'm holding in my shoulders and back, which allows my hips to relax and follow, particularly on my very forward guy who will stiffen up and rush at the least sign of stiffness in my seat. It resets my balance, as if I were standing on the ground.

                          Kinda weird but it works for me!

                          Probably not much help to the OP, though.
                          Ring the bells that still can ring
                          Forget your perfect offering
                          There is a crack in everything
                          That's how the light gets in.

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                          • #14
                            Not to jack the thread, but I naturally like to get a "chair seat" and it gets even worse when I sit the trot. Any suggestions to help fix it, other than consciously telling myself to slide my legs back every few strides?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by maggini View Post
                              Not to jack the thread, but I naturally like to get a "chair seat" and it gets even worse when I sit the trot. Any suggestions to help fix it, other than consciously telling myself to slide my legs back every few strides?
                              It would help to see a video. When I regress to having a chair seat, it's usually caused by bracing. Remembering not to do that and instead bend my knees helps me. Also, if it's bracing, no stirrup work might help, since there's nothing to brace against.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Ride bareback. Drop your legs, relax, and trot. You'll get it!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by MelantheLLC View Post
                                  For some reason, I can totally pysch myself out with this. It seems to help me let go of any tension I'm holding in my shoulders and back, which allows my hips to relax and follow, particularly on my very forward guy who will stiffen up and rush at the least sign of stiffness in my seat. It resets my balance, as if I were standing on the ground.

                                  Kinda weird but it works for me!

                                  Probably not much help to the OP, though.
                                  You have a very good point, though! I think a lot of people try so determinedly to sit that they have a lot of tension that blocks them from following, and makes them sort of pinch and hover. It's just not something you can force, in my opinion.
                                  "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                  -Edward Hoagland

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I agree with longe lessons if possible.

                                    I had one with my trainer recently in which she said "Do you feel like you're moving too much?" When I said yes, she informed me that my sitting trot was exactly what I should have in the show ring. I'm trying to adapt from showing in equitation where you're supposed to be still, to dressage where you're supposed to help the horse. I can't feel what's "correct" yet, but am working on it with several longe sessions a week.

                                    My best sitting trot is if I actually hold my legs off my horse in the air. My seat gets on him exactly as it should, and suddenly it's easy to follow his motion, just balancing on my seat on the saddle.
                                    Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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                                    • #19
                                      I also want to suggest that an ill-fitting or hard saddle adds to the difficulty.
                                      2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                                      A helmet saved my life.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        One of my trainers always tells people to "bounce on a ball" to sit the trot. It seems to work for most of them.

                                        I think the most helpful part for me was to learn it on the lunge, basically not having to worry about keeping the horse round, and doing it not for short periods, but beyond exhaustion. Once your muscles are fatigued, you can't hold on anymore, and then your body will automatically follow the motion in the most effective way. The phrase "belly up" also helps me not to collapse in my core. (Add an old school German trainer barking at you to to the picture and you arrive at the sitting trot sooner or later! )
                                        "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht

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