We’ve all ridden a horse that trots with enthusiasm, and it can be tricky to sit! In this Ask a Trainer article, Pan American Games Silver Medalist Shannon Dueck shares how she sits powerful and bouncy trots.
The first thing I do is make sure that my seat bones are well situated, my legs are nice and loose, and then my lower back is loose. So you can see I’m doing some exercises here where I take my knees off the saddle to make sure that I’m sitting and connected with my seat bones. And now I’m going to do a stretch for my lower back. Hands forward and lean back as far as you can, see my hands forward. And hopefully have somebody hold your horse if they’re not gonna be as good as this baby girl. Now stretch forward so you stretch your lower back the other way. She thinks she’s getting a sugar. And then back again. Really feel your hip joint open up in the front and your lower back get loose.
Next thing for sitting the trot the smaller, slower, rounder trot will allow you to sit with more ease. It goes hand in hand when you sit better your horse will have a nicer back. Now the sitting trot. This is a little bit more trot than before that I’m sitting, and I wanted you to see how vertical I am. The balance is crucial. The rider must be balanced in order to be soft and relaxed. The horse must be balanced in order to be soft and relaxed. The balance is vertical. Shoulder, hip, heel and also side to side so that I’m not leaning right or leaning left. Any loss of balance will result in some gripping somewhere because you have to stay on somehow. Here is a slow mo. I want you see how much I come up and drop and up and drop and up and drop. My legs see how the leg drops down below that thigh block every stride? The next thing we’re going to show is leaning way behind the vertical. This is an okay problem in the short term for people who are learning how to really engage their pelvis and feel a horse’s back. I let my riders do this. For a moment in their riding while they learn how to follow with their pelvis and stay sitted through every moment of every stride. So now as I’m coming around the short wall here I start to become more vertical. I start to bring myself up with her. Hopefully it comes back here to I do a little bit of lengthened stride on this little mare and I’m staying up with her in it and that allows her to come forward. Loose leg, vertical ride and then to walk. What a good girl. Long rein. Hope that helps everybody!
Courtesy of SmartPak