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Training holes! The sitting trot

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  • #41
    This is a timely thread for me. I'm at the point where I'm having to relearn how to sit the trot on my ungodly bouncy horse. Years ago at school, I sat with no problems, for multiple lessons in a day.

    Then I worked a bunch of young horses and didn't do much sitting trot. Then I had a kid and have only ridden my current horse for the last two years. As we moved into first level, I started to force myself to sit a few strides each ride, and it's hard. Frankly, I was so frustrated, I thought I was destined to never be able to sit the trot again after having my daughter.

    Luckily, a few months ago I got the chance to ride a friend's big moving TB/WB cross mare and sat without a problem for a 30 minute ride. I was floored.

    I started a serious core program two months ago and have already seen a difference in my riding. Even with losing a couple of weeks of riding because of stuff at home I can now sit a slowed version of his trot for a minute or so and his working trot for about 1/2 a circle before I start losing it. It's not much, but it's a lot more than I used to be able to do. It's also made a difference in our canter. Our transitions coming back from lengthenings are better.

    It's doubly frustrating to me because it's something I used to be able to just 'do' on pretty much any horse without thinking about it. But the process is making me a better rider. If his back isn't up, sitting just isn't going to happen. His back HAS to be up and swinging and his hind end has to be engaged for me to even try.

    Good luck and know there are plenty of us going through the same struggle!

    ETA: Try not to think of your core as only your abs. Consider your core from your knees to shoulders and don't forget to evenly work the front and back sides!

    Comment


    • #42
      Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
      So I started walking with a friend about a month ago, and have had 2 sessions with the Cross Fit coach so far. BTW I think CF messes with your head because I've be alot less neurotic about riding lately -no equivocating when mounting, and when Fella shied with me trying to put on a safety vest while on him it didn't freak me out and I didn't grab his face. What's that about?

      Paula
      It means you are a lot stronger, especially on your core area. You are less neurotic because your body can handle the physical demands more. Those fears have a lot to do with your body's survival response. Now when Fella shies, your body knows how to adjust automatically with the unexpected movement. When you go to show rings (or just riding in general), you will be able to "pretend" nothing has happened and continue on with your riding when your horse shies - which will happen regardless how sane your horse is, lol. You are on your way to become a better rider. Congratulation!

      Comment


      • #43
        Originally posted by mp View Post
        Two things:
        1. Remember you've got elbows. When you don't bend them, you block your horse.

        2. You don't really need to sit the trot right now, do you? Get your horse going forward (and strengthen your core), then work on your position and sitting.

        Says she who can get about 10 strides of a balanced, forward sitting trot before the horse slows down and says "gawd, will you learn to ride ... PLEASE?"
        I've always had trouble with my hands being out in front of my saddle and my shoulders hunching.

        Then I got this book http://www.amazon.com/Things-MInutes...=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

        "Bend your elbows"!

        Who knew????
        I wasn't always a Smurf
        Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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        • #44
          Originally posted by OreoCookie View Post

          ETA: Try not to think of your core as only your abs. Consider your core from your knees to shoulders and don't forget to evenly work the front and back sides!
          YES!

          My last piece of the puzzle has been the muscles from the back of my knees to my waist. My badly sprained back last year meant some of those muscles atrophied, and I simply wasn't using some enough. I essentially think of lowering my butt cheeks to the back of my knees (the imagery which works for me) and that gets my legs and seatbones in the correct place to allow my hips to move with my horse. It still means soft/loose butt cheeks, but pulls you down into the saddle more and everything else becomes easier. I think of using my hamstrings only and use the surrounding muscles as well - and BOY am I weak there! I'm working on increasing strength and can now manage to specifically engaged that area for about halfway around the arena before I start to lose it.

          ETA: The way this weakness was diagnosed was because when I use my legs my knees want to come up/my hip angle closes. That's a sign that there's an imbalance in strength, and any kind of positional flaw which appears when you're doing something can help tell you about imbalances and areas you need to strengthen.
          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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          • Original Poster

            #45
            Originally posted by Gloria View Post
            It means you are a lot stronger, especially on your core area. You are less neurotic because your body can handle the physical demands more. Those fears have a lot to do with your body's survival response. Now when Fella shies, your body knows how to adjust automatically with the unexpected movement. When you go to show rings (or just riding in general), you will be able to "pretend" nothing has happened and continue on with your riding when your horse shies - which will happen regardless how sane your horse is, lol. You are on your way to become a better rider. Congratulation!

            Okay, so you know I keep reading this and grinning like a fool right? Shall I employ you to occasionally call me to say uplifting things? That was just perfect for some reason -thank you. I guess you said something I didn't know I needed to hear.

            Paula
            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

            Comment


            • #46
              So much good stuff on this thread! I'll just chime in to agree with OreoCookie that your core is much more than your abs. I like to think of my body like a box and that I need to keep the boards up and moving forward.

              Can you do plank position on the ground? Doing it a few times a day is helpful, even if you can only hold it for a few seconds. If nothing else, it highlights the muscles you should engage in the sitting trot - at varying degrees (hold tighter for a half-halt, release a bit o' tension to ride on, etc.).

              This winter, I went on a "no stirrups" kick...only once or twice a week, and only once I had warmed maresy up with stirrups to make sure there were no over-the-top protests lurking in the dark corners of her mind. Then, I'd completely take my stirrups off (no banging around or worries about folding them over the pommel) and do quite a bit of sitting trot, posting, and general position work at the trot. On the lunge is even better, but you can accomplish quite a bit (especially the feel of your seat being down your thighs) just riding around with great intention and attention without stirrups.

              Comment


              • #47
                Anytime, Paula, lol. So many of us are so focusing on what we want (the ideal image we are chasing,) and working so hard to achieve that goal, that we completely forget where we were and that even though we aren't as good as that next rider, we are making good old honest progress. Love my husband - he gives me a lot of these pep talks. This year, I can honestly say is the first year I don't feel like throwing up watching my own video.

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                • #48
                  Paula, I LOVE my barn and my trainer. But I have to say that if I were back on the East Coast, I'd love to board with/near you!! I think that we are both very analytical and would have a blast discussing critique and theory . I have no comment on anything position related due to my inexperience, but I love your sweet horse and your fun attitude!

                  If you're at Devon, I'll find you!
                  LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

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                  • Original Poster

                    #49
                    Could you imagine the critical mass that would result if we were in the same barn? I think it would be cool, but other people's heads might explode!

                    Paula
                    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Yes, I think we would quickly be quarantined or locked in a stall!
                      LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        IME, holding onto the pommel, or bucking strap actually makes me bend my elbows. My go-to state when nervous is to lock my elbows. Luckily I have people in my barn who will remind me "your elbows bend!" when they see I've started to lock my elbows.

                        Currently, I am struggling with this while riding my baby horse. I feel somewhat out of control, so tend to lock my elbows, which is the wrong answer.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #52
                          One habit I know I have and have been consciously working on is I try to steer him in the most ridiculous way. It came along with the riding cocked forward to make him go faster, I also began this habit of pushing my outside hand forward and down when we're trying to bend -like I'm riding a bicycle. I try to be aware of my elbow brushing my boob fat -seriously. If I can feel my side boob with the inside of my elbow I'm doing better. So I just ask myself, "Can you feel your side boob?"

                          Hey, boobs are useful! For example I know I'm cocked forward if I can't get a glimpse of boob at the bottom of my field of vision on the rise.


                          Paula
                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            I still fight the dropping of my inside hand. See the linked image.
                            http://www.irealm.org/horseplay/geti...2/IMG_6345.JPG

                            But, I just realized in looking for an example picture in the set of 49 pictures that are up, I had to run through several to find an example, and there are only a couple, and this makes me very happy! I realize I obsess over fixing things, so I would have guessed this was in most of the pictures...not a couple. So, persevere! I work on something every ride. Since I don't have useful boobs, I have to rely on things like the holding the whip on my thumbs or the bucking strap, or losing my stirrups.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #54
                              Awesome -you just realized how far you'd come regarding that habit. Good job. I am really excited to get some video on Wednesday. I hope someone can oblige me!

                              Paula
                              He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Of course all of the fitness stuff is important, but there are two pieces of the puzzle to consider, with the bottom half being the more critical one.

                                It can be difficult to sit a horse that isn't through. Draft-crosses -- the one I ride and others I've known -- are very good at "assuming the position" but not honestly coming through.

                                They have those nice upright necks and they can trot along all day long looking pretty but still holding in their backs. Even if it doesn't look like much, it still can be awful and jarring to sit on. I actually find it easier to sit on a bigger moving horse with some swing in the back.

                                The good news is that once the horse is finally through and engaged and using the back correctly, the trot becomes easier to sit.

                                Even the "lowly" draftie with the earth-bound gaits can achieve a little loft and swing. When that happens, the clouds will part and the angels will sing Hallelujah.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by LarkspurCO View Post
                                  It can be difficult to sit a horse that isn't through.
                                  This is so true. I never sit on my horse until he's through - what's the point? It is just misery for both of us. But once he's all set (especially after we've done long and low work) he's a dream and I could sit all day. It seems to me that throughness should be the priority, rather than sitting at this point.

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    I agree!! Very nice video to watch....
                                    https://www.facebook.com/Luckyacresfarm
                                    https://www.facebook.com/Ulrike-Bsch...4373849955364/

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by LarkspurCO View Post



                                      The good news is that once the horse is finally through and engaged and using the back correctly, the trot becomes easier to sit.

                                      When that happens, the clouds will part and the angels will sing Hallelujah.
                                      I love it when that happens. There are key steps to acquiring a good sitting trot before even attempting. This being one of them.

                                      I remember decades ago with my old German instructor who would have us warm up and then have us cross our stirrups. Yes in EVERY lesson. We would do W/T/C without stirrups. It was like a freaking musical ride every week. The transition from canter to sitting trot in the early stages often were OMG. Then with time we developed upper body strength/core and it became a piece of cake. Especially after we took back our stirrups and they seemed shorter with our now longer leg and we would do sit trot work. In the beginning it wasn't pretty but we had to learn to balance and follow the motion and not grip. The work without stirrups helped with that.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Try the exercises described in the following article. It works!!

                                        http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...ng-trot-really

                                        I first practiced the knee exercise on a hard chair as suggested to get the feel. The hand on your shoulder exercise helped me engage my core like never before and had me looking straight ahead vs. down at his pole. I could actually sit the trot without bouncing!!! and, bonus, my canter work improved 10 fold because I wasn't pushing him down on the forehand.

                                        Good Luck!

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          I thought the video Mike Matson posted above was interesting in the slo-mo part, watching the rider use herself...at the Hassler clinic
                                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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