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Help me sit the trot!

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  • Help me sit the trot!

    Always done hunter-jumping, but somewhere along the way I've progressed without learning such a basic fundamental- the sitting trot.
    I know it's me because I've seen many people sit the trot on my horse.

    I put her in a circle at a steady, slow pace. try to sit on my seat bone, try to relax, try to breath, yet i bob, jiggle, shake, rattle and roll. Pretty embarrassing that i can't do this. HELP!!

    Someone told me you need to round your back while keeping your legs long.. is this right, does this make sense. Someone else told me your ankles should bob as you put the weight out of your stirrups and into your seat. Does that make sense..

    Whatever I'm doing it's not working and I need to figure this out!

  • #2
    Your weight should always be in your heels, even when sitting a trot or canter - the bobbing thing may have come from watching dressage riders, as there's tend to do that -

    No stirrup work - I can't express that enough, it's a fundamental part to riding, english or western really - it will help your balance to keep your seat and unless you have super strong legs already, you will be forced to sit that trot!

    But yes, weight should be deep from your seat to your heals, I know I tend to round my back a little when sitting, but I'm not sure if that's actually correct eq or a bad habit
    Friend of bar.ka!
    Originally posted by MHM
    GM quote of the day, regarding the correct way to do things:
    "There's correct, and then there's correct. If you're almost correct, that means you're wrong."

    Comment


    • #3
      Like RxCate said, LOTS of no stirrup work. Once you can sit/post/2 point the trot without stirrups, your sitting trot with stirrups should be pretty good. Also, when I rode eventing, I was taught to go from seat bone to seat bone in unison with the horse. Right, left, right, left, etc. That helps too.
      "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong

      Comment


      • #4
        yes, no stirrups really helps you wrap your legs around the horse and keep them long. I've always found that visualizing helps me with this. Basically the horse is not really moving in a strictly up down motion but in a forward up/backward down motion, if that makes sense. So you really need to let your hips and lower back be loose enough (but not loose enough that you lose your eq) to follow this forward and back motion. So I kind of imagine it as holding my abs tight, but allowing a slight forward motion following the horse from my lower abdomen (kind of similar to what you would do at the canter in terms of following the horse with your hips)

        Another thing that may help is to drop your stirrups and then put your hand under the front of the saddle and hold on to help press your butt down so you can really feel what your hips should be doing when the horse is trotting.

        Hope that some of this helps...I'm not great at explaining things!

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes no stirrups work great but if you depend on the stirrups then you can do great with out them. The second you get them back you are going to be balancing in them and have the same problem ( hope that makes since I don't think I explained very clearly.)

          So here's an exercise with stirrups that should help.

          First DO NOT round your back. You are developing a bad habit and it's not going to make you sit the trot CORRECTLY.

          Second I would suggest working on straight lines, walls, etc. When you do a circle you are fighting inertia. While it may be easier to collect the trot it isn't going to help your balance in the sitting trot right now.


          I use this mostly with Adult riders because the visualize better.

          You need to sit back and keep relaxed. Having a bouncy sitting trot comes from being out of sync with your horses movement. So before you can master the trot you need to understand the movement. I'm sure you know that at the trot your horse moves in diagonal pairs and this is what allow ous to have a posting rhythm.

          At the canter you have a moment before your horse strikes out in stride that they are "together", bunched up and their back is round. So at the canter you have a round back and then a stride where the back "falls" out from under you and the rounds again before the next stride....make since? When we canter we follow that movement by closing our hip angle when the back comes up and opening that angle when the back goes down. This gives us our "Scooping" motion with our seat....

          Now back to the trot. You have the same motions only faster. So back comes up before the stride, and drops when they take the stride. So in order to master the sitting trot you need to have the same seat motion you do for the canter. The "Scooping" motion, close when the back comes up, open when it falls away. While you are doing this you need to stay relaxed, allow your joints to take up the motion of the horse, and SIT BACK. Think about keeping your seat pockets on your saddle ( if you were in jeans) once you get the motion you can go forward into your more hunter-ish seat and still allow your hips to take up the motion.....


          I know that was super long and I hope it makes since it's a lot to put into words! But it has ALWAYS worked for my adults to dissect the movements and the apply

          Comment


          • #6
            how short are your stirrups when you flat? I have a bad knee and if i ride with my stirrups too short it hurts - so, i flat with long stirrups.I helped a lot of the girls sit the trot at my barn and the first thing i do is lengthen their stirrup a whole.

            Next, HOW does your horse trot. I know, it sounds stupid. But if your horse trots with his back hollow, it will be hard to sit to. THis, of course is a condensed, simple concept, but if you can get your horse to raise his back under you, the trot is easier to sit.

            Do you brace, or just jiggle and flop? also, how strong are your core muscles? a good sit trot comes (and also creates) strong stomach and back muscles. Think about it like this: every time time your horse takes a step, its like contracting and relaxing your STOMACH and BACK and butt muscles. (Does that make any sense?) If you try to sit the trot by FORCING yourself to stay still and quiet, by HOLDING your horse to a slow trot, it's not going to work.
            Hope that's not too confusing!

            Comment


            • #7
              The other posters have made some really good suggestions.

              I just want to add that you may not be able to sit the trot because you're trying to hard and this is making you tense up. Drop those stirrups and just sink into the saddle. Don't be afraid to bounce a little at first just to let yourself relax. Always sit up straight and tall, avoid slouching or tipping forward. Do plenty of no stirrups sitting and posting (2 point if you can) and then go back to stirrups. You can still sink weight into your heels at the sitting trot, just don't brace against the stirrups or stand on your toe. I know I'm doing a good sitting trot when I feel my abs engage (if you want to flatten your stomach sitting trot and no stirrups work, trust me).

              Comment


              • #8
                A few tips:
                a) Keep some weight in your feet.
                b) Remember Jumping saddles are not designed for us to use much seat, so settle onto your inner thigh, not so much the seat bones...
                c) VERY important -- relax your midsection. Hips and rib cage. It's like dancing. Hips and shoulders can move independantly. Your hips must relax and swing with the horse's back.
                d) Make sure your horse isn't just going slow, but is ENGAGED from BEHIND. THAT is the trot that is "sittable."

                And, if you REALLY want to get good at it, take some lessons with a real Dressage trainer. Have them put you on a lunge-line. The mechanics are the same and you will learn how to feel your body and adapt to your horse's movement.

                Good luck!!
                Seb
                Aca-Believe it!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another visualization that helped me really "get" sitting the trot is to think of my seatbones and core muscles lifting the horse's back during the upward phase of the trot. NLK's break-down of the stride is really great, and I remember thinking those things as I thought about lifting the back with my seat. No stirrup work is absolutely essential. When I want to work on serious flatwork I just pull my stirrups off. It forces me to keep my seat centered since there is no stirrup to lean on and allows me to feel the right-left swing and lift of the back.
                  "Beware the hobby that eats."
                  Benjamin Franklin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I too do all of my serious flat work sans stirrups, but consequently i have trouble keeping my stirrups still when I do use them at the sitting trot.

                    Anyway, try counting your strides as you sit, and think of your horse as an office chair with wheels. You know how when you are too far from you desk to grab it and pull yourself and the chair forward? You have to plant your feet and use your butt to "scoot" the chair up to the desk. I like to think of the sitting trot as "scooting" my horse forward and up in front of me.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      don't mean to hijack the thread, but i've got a similar dilemma..

                      i've always done tons of no stirrup work. i'm pretty humble, but hey, i look great sitting trot NO stirrups.. but i pick them back up and i have a lot of trouble keeping my leg in one place -- granted, theyre not swinging or anything, it's just that if i keep them right under me where they should be, i have a hard time keeping my seat in one spot. otherwise, ive got a perfect seat but then my leg goes into a very slight chair seat

                      this is pretty frustrating. it's a new thing for me. this never happened before. mostly because i almost always did flatwork with long stirrups and shortened them a hole or two to jump. i have worked with another trainer (at same barn) on/off when my normal trainer is away or unavailable. she makes me shorten my stirrups to almost what i jump with (just a hole below) and i find my posting trot *does* look a little bit nicer but now ive got problems with sitting trot because of the shorter stirrups i'm at a loss for what to actually do!
                      (|--Sarah--|)

                      Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by superpony123 View Post
                        don't mean to hijack the thread, but i've got a similar dilemma..

                        i've always done tons of no stirrup work. i'm pretty humble, but hey, i look great sitting trot NO stirrups.. but i pick them back up and i have a lot of trouble keeping my leg in one place -- granted, theyre not swinging or anything, it's just that if i keep them right under me where they should be, i have a hard time keeping my seat in one spot. otherwise, ive got a perfect seat but then my leg goes into a very slight chair seat

                        this is pretty frustrating. it's a new thing for me. this never happened before. mostly because i almost always did flatwork with long stirrups and shortened them a hole or two to jump. i have worked with another trainer (at same barn) on/off when my normal trainer is away or unavailable. she makes me shorten my stirrups to almost what i jump with (just a hole below) and i find my posting trot *does* look a little bit nicer but now ive got problems with sitting trot because of the shorter stirrups i'm at a loss for what to actually do!

                        I have had similar issues on/off before. Try to ride like you dont have your stirrups, but at the same time, keep a little weight in your heels. Keep enough weight in the stirrups so that you dont lose them, but pretend you dont have them at all. (Hopefully this makes sense! I cant think how to explain it exactly. )
                        "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In all honesty no on can teach you in print alone. I can give you tips out the wazoo, but none of it will amount to a hill of beans unless you post a video of what you are doing right now.
                          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                          chaque pas est fait ensemble

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I didn't read all the posts but I agree with spmoonie. Think of your seat bones as being two separate units and allow them to move with your horses back. When his right front moves forward, allow your right seat bone to follow slightly. That's how you will get the right left motion. It really helps me!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Don't round your back! If you can't do it right it's not worth doing and that is not right!

                              Practice, practice, practice comes to mind but more helpful perhaps would be a few tips.

                              A don't go too fast, ou are better off feeling the sit trot at a very slow jog then bouncing all over at a working trot or faster.

                              B If you are on a big moose/battle ship kind of horse and kant keep in contact with the tack even at a slow trot. Grab your saddle and pull yourself down. It is still better then bouncing.

                              C Sometimes it is harder to sit trot with your stirrups then without. Take your stirrups off and do a whole ride without them. Even if it's mostly walking you will benefit from it for sure.

                              IMO when you begin to learn the sitting trot it is easier to do it sans stirrups. There will be some tension in the leg, stirrups will bounce all the way in on your foot and it's a hassle.

                              D do not fight the bounce. It is basic physics that if you are on top of somethiing that moves up and down you will also move up and down. If you fight it, there will be tension in your muscles and a big clash. If you relax and allow your body to move up and down with your horses back you will soon find that you can follow the rythm of your horse very much the same as when you first learned how to post.

                              E if your horse is a moose/battleship to ride at the trot, try to get sme rides in on a smooth horse just to get the feel.

                              The most important part is to relax and feel it. Have somebody put you on the lungeline, close yor eyes and force yourself to feel. It might help.
                              You might be a visual learner, watch others do it, analyse it (to yourself) and try to copy.

                              Good Luck!
                              Timothy, stop lurking

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Thanks for this thread and the tips. I'm still struggling with my sit-trot - some days are better than others. One of my problems, definitely, is that I tense up and my shoulders "lock" - from there it all goes to hell.

                                For some reason this visualization works for me - imagine the horse is trotting in quicksand. It seems to bring my center of gravity down/get me to weight my seat in a way that helps me "sit" rather than "bounce."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Does anyone have a video of correct eq sitting the trot in a close contact saddle? I've seen tons of sitting trot in dressage saddles but IMO the position is different.

                                  Great thread and tons of helpful posts! I was just wondering if anyone had a video that would help show the correct body movement.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Does anyone have any good visualizations for trying to relax the lower back? My instructor keeps telling me to when I'm trying to sit the trot (no stirrups), and the more I try, the more tense I make! Argh!! I can't even think _how_ to relax my lower back!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by RolyPolyPony View Post
                                      Does anyone have any good visualizations for trying to relax the lower back? My instructor keeps telling me to when I'm trying to sit the trot (no stirrups), and the more I try, the more tense I make! Argh!! I can't even think _how_ to relax my lower back!!
                                      Bellydancing She may be trying to get you to stop arching your back so much-not arching is different from rounding.
                                      "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                                      Phoenix Animal Rescue

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by RolyPolyPony View Post
                                        Does anyone have any good visualizations for trying to relax the lower back? My instructor keeps telling me to when I'm trying to sit the trot (no stirrups), and the more I try, the more tense I make! Argh!! I can't even think _how_ to relax my lower back!!
                                        No visualization but when you find yourself getting tense, take a breath, inhale, and on the exhale just let yourself sink down. You can even practice this sitting in a chair. Sit up like you would in the saddle, keeping your back straight and on the exhale, just relax your lower back and seat bones into the chair. You'll feel an instant softening without rounding your back.

                                        I often have to remind myself to just relax and sink down when riding, when I get too tense my left leg likes to creep up and I lose my stirrup! Really annoying actually, must mean that I'm feeling extra tense when riding lately LOL

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