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Sitting Trot
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champspartner
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 Posted: Sat Feb 4th, 2012 09:33 pm
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I have read that sitting the trot can amplify the oscillations of the horse's back, increasing the forces on it, and maybe cause discomfort for him. If this is so, then the solution would be simply to post the trot. But what would be the most comfortable way, for the horse, for me to ride the sitting trot? To glue myself to his back - with lots of shock absorption in my waist, jellybelly style? Or, to take a little more weight on stirrups/thighs, and just "skim" his back with my seat? Or other suggestions? Thank you.

AdamTill
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 Posted: Sun Feb 5th, 2012 01:01 am
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Don't sit unless he's offering you something to sit on, and don't post in a way that throws off his balance.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Feb 5th, 2012 04:52 am
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Good advice, Adam, but only interpretable by those who already know what you're talking about.

So let us therefore take a more profitable teaching approach, and begin by interviewing Champ's partner in order to discover where they are actually at in their understanding of this and related matters.

So Champ -- where ever did you get the idea that sitting the trot could "amplify" the oscillations of a horse's back?

And did the source who gave you this idea also give you some means by which it is supposed to happen? In other words, HOW is sitting the trot going to amplify the oscillations of the horse's back?

These would be Questions 1 and 2. Question 3 is this: how do you propose to "glue" yourself to the horse's back? Presumably not with actual glue, ha ha. So exactly how then?

Question 4 is: what does "jellybelly" mean, in terms of which of your bodyparts is actually supposed to move? Does it mean your belly, your abs, your abdominal oblique musculature, your perivertebral musculature, your spine, your pelvis, or what -- exactly? Because Champ, if you don't know EXACTLY, talking about "jellybelly" will do you absolutely no good at all, because you'll still be swatting invisible flies.

Question 5 is: There is a name in formal horsemanship, i.e. the horsemanship style practiced by the RCMP and other professional cavalries of the world, for "taking a little bit more weight in the stirrups and just skimming over his back." What is the name for this way of riding?

If you will, then, get back to me with your answers to these five questions, and we'll see if you can be helped on that basis to find out (1) how to sit, what the secret to sitting the trot actually is -- so that there is no oscillation, no jarring, no effort at all; and (2) why and when you should sit in this manner (because who would want to sit in any other manner?) and why and when you should post to the trot. -- Dr. Deb

champspartner
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 Posted: Sun Feb 5th, 2012 09:08 pm
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(I had prepared my reply earlier, but if failed to go through - something about another member with my member name had already replied). So, here goes again).
Thanks so much for your interest, and fast replies. I like your quote, Adam, and I think I get it - make sure we have that nice, relaxed, roundy bascule under us first. To Dr. Deb's questions, I now recogonize that I have misinterpreted the material I read in the following two articles: "Rider Position and Horse Back Movement Evaluated", in "The Horse", 12/22/09; and "A Comparison of Forces Acting on the Horse's Back and the Stability of the Rider's Seat in Different Positions at the Trot, (Vet. J, April 2010). With terms like increased forces, load, and stress on the horse's back, with sitting the trot, I mistakenly pictured the sitting rider, actually pushing the horse's back "further down".
Please forgve my lack of anatomical precision, but my "glue" is maintaining contact with my horses back while sitting the trot, by absorbing the shock through a loose waist - if youy are built like me, this feels very jelly belly!
Yes, I have seen our RCMP Musical Ride many times, and have noticed their half seat/forward seat/two point riding style.
My instinct tells me that taking more weight in my stirrups, or in my thighs when bareback, is the softest way to ride the rising trot, above a slow jog - would appreciate the input from others, to think about. Thanks very much.

champspartner
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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 12:17 am
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champspartner wrote:
(I had prepared my reply earlier, but if failed to go through - something about another member with my member name had already replied). So, here goes again).
Thanks so much for your interest, and fast replies. I like your quote, Adam, and I think I get it - make sure we have that nice, relaxed, roundy bascule under us first. To Dr. Deb's questions, I now recogonize that I have misinterpreted the material I read in the following two articles: "Rider Position and Horse Back Movement Evaluated", in "The Horse", 12/22/09; and "A Comparison of Forces Acting on the Horse's Back and the Stability of the Rider's Seat in Different Positions at the Trot, (Vet. J, April 2010). With terms like increased forces, load, and stress on the horse's back, with sitting the trot, I mistakenly pictured the sitting rider, actually pushing the horse's back "further down".
Please forgive my lack of anatomical precision, but my "glue" is maintaining contact with my horses back while sitting the trot, by absorbing the shock through a loose waist - if you are built like me, this feels very jelly belly!
Yes, I have seen our RCMP Musical Ride many times, and have noticed their half seat/forward seat/two point riding style.
My instinct tells me that taking more weight in my stirrups, or in my thighs when bareback, is the softest way to ride the sitting trot, above a slow jog - would appreciate the input from others, to think about. Thanks very much. (some typo corrections this time).

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 12:27 am
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Champ -- the literature you have read is as high-quality as can generally be obtained, and I do thank you for having taken pause to think how you might have misinterpreted or misunderstood what was actually said. In fact, however, no scientific study ever published can possibly teach you how to sit the trot; only discovering or being told how to "get the knack of it" can, and this might come from a human coach or it might also come from your horse, particularly if you have a horse with a fairly vigorous trot that requires real skill to sit -- as I said before -- totally without effort.

You have not really answered my question concerning how you would "glue" your seat to your horse's back -- what you have done is simply repeat your idea that this can be accomplished by "softening" your waist or by "jellybelly". However, this is not the case, so what I am asking you to do is to try to think of a different answer. To reiterate: it is not possible to sit the trot well simply by making your body looser, or by attempting to accommodate the horse's back's up-and-down oscillation through a corresponding forwards-backwards oscillation in your own spine, waist, or belly area.

The RCMP does indeed sometimes ride in two-point/half-seat, and I'm glad you're familiar with this terminology. However, plainly, they don't always ride that way, and what I'm indicating to you by this is that trying to ride in half-seat or two-point position is also not the answer you're really seeking.

As to "responses from others"....Champ, you will have to count on corresponding here primarily with me. Others are welcome to respond, but you need to understand that this is my online classroom, and if you want help, you will need to be willing to respond primarily to my guidance.

Now, again, the answers you seek are embedded in this response, and I hope and expect that you'll be able to ferret them out, or at least find something that's going in the right direction rather than in a direction that won't help you. I often ask students to think outside the box and that is definitely what I'm doing with you here: asking you to not repeat previous thinking or conventional thinking. The real answer actually does exist in the literature, and there are licensed practitioners who can teach it to you, so this is not something that's totally arcane or obscure or off the wall; simply not what most people would think at first. -- Dr. Deb

champspartner
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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 01:47 am
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Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. Between its message, your Eclectic Horseman Series, "How Horses Work", your three books on Principles of Conformation, and my spirited and generous gelding, he and I will continue to come as close as we can with this. Please take it as a compliment when I say I must re-read all of your helpful material at least once more!

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 05:13 pm
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Champ, I do want to keep this discussion alive and up at the top of the Forum. So, I'm opening this one up to anyone else's response: what is the 'magic key' to sitting the trot; what is the answer I said was embedded in my previous reply to Champ? -- Dr. Deb

AdamTill
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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 08:16 pm
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Hi Dr Deb,

For myself, I can say the "magic key" if there is one is to induce the horse to use their own shock absorbers rather then to try to absorb or redirect too much impact through my own body. If they're hollow in the back, braced through the sling of shoulder muscles, and moving in a way that loads the pasterns ineffectively (toe first etc) then I couldn't be bothered to even try to sit that sort of movement, personally. That's what I meant by not sitting when there's nothing to sit on.

If I struggle to sit the trot on a particular day there are things I can check within myself as well (am I pinching with my seatbones, leaning forward etc), but I find that by and large those are more refinements rather then things that limit my ability to sit at all. Far more likely, my horse has tensed up or started to move flat and hollow.

While I certainly heed Josh's recommendations to stay loose and relaxed in the saddle, think that's taken by some a bit too literally. To try to absorb too much motion in my body ends up putting me behind the motion and reactive, I find.

I will say that I do find that tack plays a reasonable role here too, in that the rider needs to be able to do the same sort of thing (align their own shock absorbers). I have two saddles that fit my horse - one hard seat, the other padded. I've made modifications to the trees of both such that they fit my horse the same, but the hard seat saddle puts me in much better alignment and has a better seat shape for my build. As such, sitting the trot or canter is much more pleasant in the hard-seat saddle, even if it "points" out errors in my equitation a bit more firmly by emphatically indicating where my seatbones are.

On the flip side, trying to ride my girlfriend's mare in her padded seat dressage saddle is quite a challenge. Her mare has much more trot to sit, to be sure, but I find that the extensive seat padding also acts like a secondary spring (which I don't find helpful). As such, it can feel like riding on a pogo stick at times.

Cheers,
Adam

Last edited on Mon Feb 6th, 2012 08:16 pm by AdamTill

Evermore
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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 10:06 pm
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Dr. Deb - I don't know if this is the magic key but the best sitting trot I ever sat was basically effortless on my part. It was because of the horse.

A relative's horse was kindly borrowed to me for a day. My description at the time would have used different terminology for I have learned much in this classroom. Now I will say he coiled his loins and raised the base of his neck into such wonderful collection...I was just beginning my 'dressage career' at the time so I was too ignorant to take the drape out of the reins when he collected. (This is tongue in cheek. I still am mortified at how I rode when I rode Dressaaage!)

I found it so easy to sit his trot and it was not a fleeting moment but maintained until we changed gaits. It was powerful yet his back was there to meet my seat. I think of it as a great gift to have that experience. When I get a moment or two of this now with my boys, I smile. More will come.

That's my answer of the magic key. Sitting the trot comes from the horse.

 

 

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Feb 6th, 2012 10:50 pm
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Evermore, that's a good answer, and it's true. However....unfortunately it can be true in two ways.

One way is the kind of horse that I think you are describing: the correctly trained animal that moves in true collection of a fairly high degree. He raises his back and he moves with delightful elasticity -- nonetheless, there's no question that the horse is also moving vigorously and covering lots of ground in the trot.

The other way is the kind of horse that we see in the Western Pleasure competitions. This is an incorrectly trained horse that does not truly or correctly collect -- indeed it has no collection whatsoever -- but appears falsely to be collected through simply moving with very short steps, and with so little vigor that the "trot" has no period of suspension. Very little vigor thus translates into a "cushy" ride that many people mistake for a quality ride.

So I agree -- when the horse is like yours was, this is what Adam Till meant when he said, and when you also said, that the horse's back rises to fill your seat. The animal "gives you a place to sit."

However -- this is only 50% of the equation. The other 50% still relates to something the human must know how to do in order to sit the trot well. What is that thing? -- Dr. Deb

Evermore
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 Posted: Tue Feb 7th, 2012 03:32 pm
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Oh, this is making my brain work...

When I think about this, it is my posture that allows me to stay sitting with the trot. Head and neck in postural alignment with my body, legs draped over the horse yet allowing the horse's energy move forward. And, I will add, the most important element is allowing my shoulder blades to "drop" down my back in a "V" and my elbows at my side, elastic yet part of the total package.

When it is right it feels like the horse and I are one. When I get out of alignment I can feel the horse stiffen.

Is our posture "the thing?"

 

 

 

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Tue Feb 7th, 2012 05:21 pm
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For the rider to use your core muscles along with your waist and crotch moving in a forward & back motion together with the horse. Kind of loose to allow our body to move with the horse, adhering to the saddle, but not soggy.

ilam
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 Posted: Tue Feb 7th, 2012 06:03 pm
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I have been trotting my walking horse a lot in the past few months. He has a very vigorous natural trot. When I first started, he did not give me anything to sit on, I had to post all the time. With more practice and riding it got better and better, and my theory was that he learned to engage and strengthen his own core muscles to be able to support my weight as his spine started to swing. I found myself also riding/sitting differently, the best way we moved together was when I sat back onto my seat bones a little more (I probably have a bad habit of slightly leaning forward too much anyway) and started to engage my own core muscles, mostly the abdominals. Mine are naturally quite weak anyhow due to a lordosis, so I have to be pretty aware to do this properly, so that we can swing together. The rest of my body stayed pretty supple, just going with the movement. So far that has felt to me the best way for us to stay in balance.

Isabel

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Feb 7th, 2012 11:33 pm
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None of you are getting any warmer -- you're still hung on the conventional and the "apparently" obvious aspect of the trot as the rider experiencing, and having to deal with, an up-down/back-forth movement. THINK. The answer is embedded in my previous post. READ THE EXACT WORDS and then you'll probably start getting "warmer".

Or, another approach: are none of you familiar with the work of Sally Swift? What does she say about this? -- Dr. Deb


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