Seat series part 2 – rising trot
The second part in my seat series will briefly discuss potential problems riders have with rising trot and how to do the perfect rising trot!
I see lots of problems riders have with rising trot, mainly I think because people don’t really get taught how to do rising trot properly (unless I teach you, in which case you have probably spent 2 or 3 lessons learning how!) and so end up with a hollow back, lean forward, have swinging lower legs, a thumping sit, a rise lead by the shoulders, and balance on their hands. All of these, aside from making rising to the trot hard work, actually decrease your horse’s ability to trot freely and actively from behind. Most rising issues are balance and weight related and you end up shifting weight onto the forehand when you rise, only to throw it back and place it heavily onto the horse’s back when you sit.
So, how do you get the perfect rising trot? How do you fix the problems above? I can give a brief overview of the concept of the active rise and active sit, but to really sort it you would need a couple of rising trot positional lessons to locate and change your problem areas. Rising trot should feel easy, you should feel connected to your horse and the rise and sit should feel totally harmonious with your horse. First off you need to engage your core, and keep it engaged ALL THE TIME. A trick I use to help beginners (and those who don’t know their core exists) is to get you to pull your tummy button to your spine, then roll your shoulders up and back and down and look ahead – NOT AT YOUR HORSE’S HEAD! You should feel your abdominal muscles engaging. Now think about John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever pelvic thrust. This is the action you need to replicate. Thrust your hips forward towards your horse’s ears and then hold this position (standing in stirrups) in the halt. Do not lead with your shoulders, lead with your hips; do not balance on your reins. This is your active rise. Now, sit back in your saddle. Keep your core engaged, do not let your body collapse. Control your sit, make it as slow as possible so that you can isolate the muscles you are using. This is your active sit.
Now practice your active rise and your active sit in the halt. Then in the walk. Then in the trot. You really need to thrust forward and once you have this right a number of things will happen – downwards transitions will be easier, your back will hurt less, your horse will trot better as they can move more freely, and you can control the speed of the trot by controlling your rise. You will also feel more secure and more in harmony with your horse. 🙂 If someone fancies lending me a horse and videoing me I can make a video of these movements to help those of you who are visual learners!
If there are any more tips you would like about problems you have with rising trot please let me know in the comments 🙂
There may not be a Tip next week as I will be recovering from surgery, but I will try and get a guest tipper instead, no promises though! 🙂