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Monday, 21 October 2019

How to improve your Rising trot



It is actually quite difficult to keep your position and balance while riding the rising trot (or posting trot if you're American).  Many of us accidentally lean forward, move their lower leg or slouch.  Then, when we try to sit up straight, we lose balance.  This can cause us to fall forwards or backwards.  there a few things we can do to help these problems.  




Keeping your lower leg still


I have actually written a whole blog post on keeping your lower leg still and secure (which you can read here, hint hint ๐Ÿ˜‰).  While you are rising in trot, it is really easy to move your leg due to how active your body is.  

To combat this, try to imagine that you are kneeling in the saddle.  Sound weird right?  'Stand in the saddle', 'kneel in the saddle' which is it?  Depending on the issue, all of them ๐Ÿ˜‚.  Focus on putting a little bit of pressure on your knees (without squeezing).  


Bay Dressage Horse Being Ridden In a Competition School


Stop Leaning Forward


Leaning forward while you ride it usually due to not being balanced properly.  Having balance it all about strength.  So, the best way to improve your balance is to do the following exercises...  

Every. Single. Ride. 

1.  No stirrup work - 

Practise riding your horse in sitting trot without stirrups.  You should be working towards a tall, straight posture as though you are standing up straight on the horse.  You may bounce around for a good few rides until you have the strength, so keep with it.  Don't be embarrassed if you feel like your flopping around, everyone does it so don't give up.  I was sooooo bad when I started sitting trot (picking the bounciest horse in existents wasn't the best idea).  

2.  Rising with no stirrups - 

Start in sitting trot.  Every 5 strides, try to rise without your stirrups.  You will need to squeeze your knees, inner thighs and calves into the saddle - there is no way to avoid this.  Slowly, start to rise more until you can rise in trot correctly without missing a stride.  

This exercise helps to strengthen your core, hips and legs.  These muscle groups are the ones you need to keep your balance.  


A black dressage horse training in trot in a grass field


Slouching


The only to improve your slouching while riding is to work on it while not on your horse.  Because this is when the habit started.  You could try yoga (some people even do equestrian's yoga... fancy-schmancy) or back supports.  

Another option is to find an equine chiropractor who also does riders.  They will have a look at you off and on your horse.  Then they will treat you and your horse before giving your exercises and advice on a better posture.  


A bay jumping horse trotting around a show jumping competition school


Keeping a Good Rhythm


When you first started riding, I can get that you were taught to rise in trot pretty quickly.  It might take a while and tons of bouncing BUT you learn to follow the horse's movement.  Many people stop at this point, we've already learnt, right?  Not really.  To get the most out of your horse, you must learn to make the rhythm.  Your horse then learns to follow your movement.  

You may be asking 'is this really necessary?' 

I would have to say yes.  Having your own rhythm will influence your horse into a balanced trot.  No matter what discipline you have chosen, your horse needs to be kept trained by you.   

So, how do you use your rising trot to change your horse's rhythm?

It's actually pretty simple.  Unless you are like me and struggle with everything.  Then it is difficult.  

Start with following your horse's movement in rising trot.  you then want to 'pause' in the rise position for a tiny bit longer than your 'should'.  Do the same in the sit position.  Now, continue this until you feel the horse slowing down.  Or you could do the opposite and rise faster to speed the horse up.  

Sound easy?  

Well, it sounds easier than it really is (to me anyway๐Ÿ˜ฐ).  However, there are a few tips I have found that can help you.  I focus on putting pressure on my knees against the saddle ( do not squeeze!).  then, I imagine that I am tiptoeing in the stirrups when I rise for a few strides.  By that point, I can then rise normally in my own rhythm.  


A white spanish dressage horse training in collected trot in outdoor school


What is the point in all of this?


Our aim when riding, no matter how long we've been at it, is to progress.  To get better.  That usually means to develop an amazing independent seat.    

This means you have great balance and are able to influence your horse.  So, adding these exercises should make a huge improvement in you and your horse's trot.  

Got any more tips?  I'd love to hear them!  comment tips below for me and other readers ๐Ÿ˜Š


*disclaimer* 

I am not a horse trainer or any other equestrian professional.  I only give advice on horsey topics that I have experience as a horse owner in.  Please don't follow my advice without contacting a relevant equestrian professional.  

TheRider'sReins 

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