Do you have any other favorite tips for riding the sitting trot? Below I've compiled several sitting trot training tips, which are all of great value - especially if you can plug into your horse's diagonal pairs while doing them!
- Perfect Practice makes Perfect: This is one of those phrases that makes me cringe, primarily because it's just so. darned. true. The fact is, you should practice your sitting trot... The more you practice your sitting trot correctly, the stronger your muscles will become. The stronger your muscles become, the more stable your core becomes and the more your sitting trot improves!
- Breathing deep into your core to release tension is another great way to get your seat to stay connected. In order to sit the trot, we have to follow the horse's movement in perfect sync. The easiest way to do this? Relax! Breathe deep into your abdomen and with each exhale, try to release tension around your hip flexors and in your glutes.
- Let go of your glutes! When your glutes engage and you "squeeze your buns" you are creating tense, bouncing muscle as well as firm barrier between your seat bones and your saddle. Exercise some self control and releeeeease the glutes.
- "The Plank Challenge" is a great way to get a jump start on stabilizing your core for sitting trot. By starting with a manageable plank and increasing by 10 seconds daily, you can strengthen your abdominal and back muscles in just a couple minutes a day.
- One of my favorite tips to teach my young students became "Ride like a Beanie Baby, not a Barbie!" Imagine you have a hard plastic horse and you sit a beanie baby and a Barbie on them. You make the plastic horse gallop around and what happens? The Beanie Baby, being loose and flowy, follows the movement of the horse and stays on for a bit, while the Barbie immediately falls off because she's rigid and unforgiving (lol). Let go of your tension, drape your legs around your horse and try to go with the flow. Feel the bounce; embrace the bounce; become the bounce.
- Lift your feet/bend your knees and imagine you are sitting on a balance beam (this works great for the canter as well) so that you aren't bracing on your feet to protect your bottom. More often than anything, I see new riders trying to push into their seat to take some of the pressure off their bottoms in the trot. By lifting some of the downward pressure out of your feet and bending your knees, you not only redistribute your weight into your seat but engage your calfs as well. Make sure when you do this that you don't pinch in your knees or thighs, as that will make you bounce even more.
I'm sure there are loads of other sitting trot tips out there. What are you favorites?