Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sitting trot video: My eyes! My eyes!

Every six months to a year I get Bob to take a video of Harv and I doing sitting trot. Today it was cold and rainy and Harv felt a little stiff/uneven, but the indoor ring was EMPTY on a Saturday at 10am. So we got some footage. We took it easy on the Harvster and you'll notice he's lacking in forwardness. I tried to concentrate on a) a straight, upward-stretching spine, b) shoulders back, and c) a relaxed lower leg. To this list I should have added d) lose the piano hands. Geez.

When I review the footage I'm not horrified; at least Harv looks happy gimping along. Maybe there's some improvement. Maybe.


  1. I don't think you look bad at all! I could offer some suggestions, if you'd like to hear. If not, I understand, considering it would be just the opinions of a 40 year old amateur!

    I have been so busy with stuff that confess to not being able to read your blog in quite some time. I need to catch up, cause your blog is great!

  2. DM, fire away! I've posted footage to which is really going under the microscope. Thanks for any advice.


  3. You dont look bad at all. and I understand why you are doing the piano hands, you are trying not to be on his face..good for you to be thinking of the horse. I hate the sitting trot. Although I will say now that I seem to have gotten to point where I can do it, I would rather sit than post.The best advice anyone gave me was to absorb the up part of the movement and dont focus on sitting so much in the down part. I guess once you sit the up part the down part just happens, it helped a ton and then riding bareback at the trot has been huge for me.

  4. Okay, here goes...

    I think you could lengthen your stirrup by one hole(maybe two - you look tall and long legged!). It looks like you carry plenty of weight in your heel, and I think the shorter stirrup is keeping you from opening your hip and being able to close your calf without gripping with your knee. It's also keeping you from bringing your lower leg back so that your heel is under your hip. It's a bit forward in the video and I think you'll find it easier to keep the lower leg quiet if it's further back and "hugging" instead of gripping. Your seat looks solid, so trust in that and let your really long legs get nice and long around that horse. With your leg longer you should be able to really sink into the saddle, since I think your back looks nice and soft and won't be a problem.

    Please know that I don't think I have a perfect seat or anything. Far from it! I hope to get a video of my riding soon. It's so helpful to be able to pick out at least one thing to focus on for a month or so.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. I see the knee gripping more than I can feel it, so it is good that I have an arena mirror -- that floppy lower leg is a sure sign. I have just lengthened my stirrup one hole (1/2 hole stirrups) and I can still see a lot of angle in my knee. If I could get my heel down more, wouldn't that also open the angles up? Not that I'm against lengthening the stirrup more, but several years ago when I tried to really lengthen my stirrup, Harv became less willing to move forward. I wonder if I might have better balance now that this wouldn't be the case. Thanks for the input!

  6. Stacey, you are brave to post at the UDBB! My older horse and I just kinda gimp along also at a pretend forward trot at times ( I think of it as his pissant trot.) But I know what you mean about getting too long in the leg. It can throw you on your crotch. One thing I have found that helps with my upper body, which then helps my lower body, is working out on weights. Do you do any weight work on the upper body? (I started to say "bod" instead of "body", but at my age, I think it's more of a body than bod.)

  7. The sitting trot has been my nemisis for a long time! Having been a hunter rider for 11 years before switching over I feel your pain. My middle moves too much because I don't know what it means to follow without being too soft and "jello like". The thing that has helped me the most is thinking of expanding my middle and tightening the muscles in my stomache especially in your diaphram. I know it sounds graphic but almost as if you are trying to go the bathroom... I am sure you get it. I think this would help you too, think lift ribcage, expand middle.... You really look great, keep up the good work!

  8. Forgot one thing! Think of stepping on your horses back legs while riding, it is a great visual to bring the leg back and down. Also you can step left,right, left, and so on to slow the trot and make it a little eaiser to sit at the beginning.

  9. Maybe you can try this - ride without your stirrups for a few days. Let your leg fall as straight down as you can, and see where your leg naturally falls without the support of the stirrups. Then at the end of one of your rides, get your stirrups back and adjust them to where your leg was when you didn't have the stirrups. I think you might be surprised at how much longer you can go.

  10. I do regular crunches on a slant board -- about a 100, 15 at a time, on a serious slant. Still I have a tummy pooch. I do go to a gym about 3 times a week (my lunch hour at work), and aside from the abs I do bench presses and some of the weight machines. It's not a hardcore workout by any means, but even what I've done has helped me improve somewhat.

  11. Advice I can give you which is not meant to be critical of your riding. I would suggest longe lessons of 20 to 30 minutes at least twice per week for the next three to six months. This means no stirrups or rein contact, while learning to manage the walk, trot sitting and posting, and canter.

    While longing, your body learns the natural position it needs to go along with the movement of the horse. You will find after time has elapsed that you can ride with a longer stirrup than you thought (at your ankle bone) and your leg won't creep up anymore. Think about keeping your heels down which will mimimize and help correct a weak ankle. Try ankle flexions in clockwise and counter-clockwise directions while doing your longe lessons.

    Your spine is flexible and your posture is good. Riding dressage always entails more riding, but be certain to keep your horse relaxed with outside hacks.

    My horse experience spans 50 years with western, english in dressage and some cross-country eventing. Currently, I am getting into carriage driving.

    Your blog is educational and interesting to those who love or own horses. I'm linking your site onto mine in the Nature Connection as my blog is about writing.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.