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Training holes! The sitting trot

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  • Training holes! The sitting trot

    These last couple of years with Fella I've been having these eye-opening, comin'-to-Jesus moments where I've had many an opportunity to discover how much of my awesome riding was because of riding made (school) horses!

    Well, it seems I've had another. When I got Fella he was pokey and behind the leg. Nothing surprising here considering his background.

    Ha! He's been in training, he's getting a back, he's forward, etc. And I have discovered now that I cannot sit his trot! Sure he's no WB, but he's gotten animated enough, and he is short coupled so he's got some vertical in his trot, and all I'm doing is stabbing him in the back with my seat bones!

    So what do I do? What exercises will remind my hips how to move? I'm thinking of some longe sessions with him and my trainer -he should be good at the longe since he was carefully started this way.

    It's kind of hilarious because when I first got him I could definitely sit his trot because it was a slow, sucked-back, hollow-backed trot. It kind of like chugged along

    Yup, could sit this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqxx...GUbSQ&index=56

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

  • #2
    Absolutely get to the longe. It will allow you to focus on actively using your hips rather than just sitting there going along.

    Lengthening and shortening the stride, and walk trot transitions while riding without the reins will be not only beneficial for you but is also good training for the horse.
    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.


    • #3
      Sigh. Some of 'em just - suck - to try and sit. I would say that considering your saddle issues, it might just be that he won't pick his back up enough to give you a place to sit. I am in the process of spending entirely too much on yet another saddle - but I am confident this time that this is a decent answer for the two of us. I would not push the issue until you get the treeless dressage saddle. Nothing is worse than making them back-sore. It is a long road back. I lost an entire summer to it.

      Lunge lessons are good. As hard as it can be, try to envision forward rather than up with your hip. I would spend time on the treadmill at the gym envisioning both up and forward with each hip while I was walking, I'm sure it looked weird as hell to the meatheads at the gym.


      • Original Poster

        Tell me more about this up and forward with your hip on the treadmill? My fitness is probably a huge issue right now, but I recently started cross fit so I'm in the gym.

        I just IMed our trainer to see whether we can do some longe work.

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


        • #5
          It's more of a core issue for me, holding myself together through my abdomen in the sitting trot. When I'm out of shape or get tired, my sitting trot gets incredibly sloppy. Not that it's awesome now, but it's better than what it had been.
          It's more like an active absorbing of the movement through my hips and abdomen. When I'm on a bigger moving horse, it can feel like I've been doing continuous situps when I get off.


          • Original Poster

            Well heck if it's core that explains so much. Ain't got much of that going on at the moment! Your description reminds me of how my old equitation trainer described sitting trot -a game of catch with a ball of energy between you and your horse. You catch it and send it back in a fluid motion.

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


            • #7
              No stirrups in a jumping saddle that has like no rolls! Seriously i learned to sit in those now dressage saddles are piece of cake! Did this on big movers to ponie
              Also no stirrup longe lessons

              Seriously though learning in a minimalist cc saddle helped me be able to sit in any saddle
              Beyond the Ring-para dressage, training, coaching

              Proud Team Four Star Minion! Renegade for Life!


              • #8
                Try this exercise while lungeing:

                Put two bucking straps on each of your saddle dees -- better yet, attach them via "dee savers" to your stirrup bars. Saves wear and tear on the dees. Hod one strap in each hand and actively pull UP on the straps while actively bending your elbows. You will feel it in your core if you're doing it right.

                You will feel stabilized in the saddle and very firm. This is what you want. This exercise also prevents (most) people from overusing their hands as the hands are too 'busy" just "pulling up" while your elbows bend. You should have the feeling of pulling yourself down into the saddle for a nice firm seat. Oh, and keep your buttocks relaxed as you do this.

                I liken relaxed buttock muscles to an underinflated basketball. You CAN't dribble it!


                • #9
                  My last dressage horse was a TB - his trot was like a jackhammer, and I spent a bunch of hours on a lunge line - my trainer LOVED it! DO IT. I got the two of us together enough that I could sit, but it was never fun or easy. Top of list when shopping for current horse was a trot I could sit. If you're doing the gym thing, see if they have a pilates class or trainer that can give you some pilates work. You will build core and learn not to clench other muscles. Also consider work w/out stirrups, it will help you relax your hips. Short sessions - ie get the best trot you can, sit for a few strides, regroup, rinse, repeat, a zillion times, hopefully increasing the # of strides!
                  We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                    Well heck if it's core that explains so much. Ain't got much of that going on at the moment! Your description reminds me of how my old equitation trainer described sitting trot -a game of catch with a ball of energy between you and your horse. You catch it and send it back in a fluid motion.

                    Exactly! The best example I can think of is watching someone sitting a friesian's trot. It almost feels like a type of obscene pelvic thrusting on some of these big trotting horses. Can't sit the trot more than ten minutes max on some of these friesians.

                    Like this lady in this video:


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by r.j.246 View Post
                      It almost feels like a type of obscene pelvic thrusting
                      Yes! This is how it was described to me during my lessons. Thrusting one hip forward and up a little and then the other hip forward and up a little to follow the movement of the horse.

                      It always made me think of the Madeline Kahn character in "Young Frankenstein", and her walk towards the bed. Watch this and pay attention to the hip thrusts at the beginning of the clip:

                      Like that, but not as "big".

                      Forward and a tiny bit up on one side, and forward and a tiny bit up on the other side and so on and so on. Your bum is relaxed and in the saddle, rather than tight and perched on the saddle.
                      ETA: Not to say that both hips aren't moving, just that one side moves a little more (that thrust), and then the other side moves a little more. I am not explaining this very good!
                      Last edited by IdahoRider; Apr. 28, 2013, 07:11 PM.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                        Tell me more about this up and forward with your hip on the treadmill? My fitness is probably a huge issue right now, but I recently started cross fit so I'm in the gym.

                        I just IMed our trainer to see whether we can do some longe work.

                        The cross fit will help. With the new saddle I am in, I can feel my core, so I know I was not engaging it enough previously.

                        With regard to the treadmill - I would keep the MPH slow enough as to not fall down and hurt myself - but I would attempt to consciously pick my hip up an inch or so as I stepped forward and envision it being a trot so that I was not getting poked in the seat bone. As Fella's left hind is coming forward, you need to be lightening the left seat bone enough to give it room to come forward. You want him to rotate the hip under and up, not just forward. The most difficult thing I find in a challenging trot is to convince myself to follow the motion forward, not just up and down.

                        Though I did find it somewhat comforting to watch a BNT ride my horse during a clinic and see that he bounced around a bit too. Not as much as me, but still more than on the average horse.


                        • #13
                          And I know this could be painful - but if you had current video, it might help us see if it is horse related or rider related.

                          All I had to do was watch video of myself shot three months apart (December vs March) to know I had some serious issues to address.


                          • Original Poster

                            I don't have any current video. I'll see what I can do in the next few days.

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


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                              but I recently started cross fit so I'm in the gym.
                              I'm so glad to hear that! It'll change your life in great ways.

                              Big thing that I notice here is that your abs needs to be more solid, your leg heavy and turned in, and you need to elongate your neck.
                              chaque pas est fait ensemble


                              • #16
                                Sit on an exercise ball with your feet on the floor.

                                Now bounce and feel how your hips have to open and close. Bounce for a few minutes and you will really feel it :-)

                                When you ride at a walk feel how your seatbones follow your horse's hind legs, think In Out. Keeping the same rhythm ask your horse to trot, think Up Down....but don't rise, just let your hips open and close.

                                remember NOT to brace into your stirrups. That alone will kill the sitting trot and is the reason many people find it easier to sit the trot without stirrups. If you feel like you want to brace post a few strides then go back to sitting.
                                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.


                                • Original Poster

                                  This discussion has led me to an understanding -I am out of shape. I haven't been this out of shape in a long time, maybe never. A good sitting trot relies on both dance partners being able to exchange energy back and forth with each other. I'm not able to do that right now. It will change -I've joined a gym.

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


                                  • #18
                                    This is a current video, right?


                                    • Original Poster

                                      That's right; Laura took some video at our last show! But it's not really good to show anything because:

                                      1. I was nervous and clutching (because it was my first show) so Fella was behind the leg and inverted.
                                      2. It's really rather far away.

                                      I need to get some better video -close up and working. I had less of a problem sitting around the barrels there because he was slow. He's a good caretaker so he was very pokey because I was so unbalanced.

                                      I'll get some video maybe on Wednesday if I can find someone with a phone willing to take it and you'll see my sitting trot in all its gory!

                                      ETA: This one was a little better because it was later in the day and I'd unclenched a bit -especially on the way home. You can see that Fella has come a long way from that old pokey 2011 video.


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


                                      • #20
                                        After watching the videos linked, I have to say that it was nice to hear all that support ("Go Paula!" was yelled out more than once).

                                        What a positive, fun environment to grow in.