Sitting Trot Technique
When it comes to sitting trot you would think you just sit to the trot. Easy! Well as most of you know its not that easy and how one persons body reacts to the horses movement is very different the next person. It all depends on our bodies position and the biomechanics of how our body absorbs that movement.
How your pelvis is positioned through to how mobile your hips are changes from person to person. Now for me personally when I rode my TB he was narrower and so my pelvis position was actually different to where it is when I ride my big 17h mare. Alot of this has to do with tight psoas and adductors, so just sitting there, wasnt working. It required me to physically put effort into positioning my body correctly so that my pelvis was balanced and my hips were able to open and close with the horses movement.
So on one horse I could just sit there (kind of) , but on another it was more complicated. You see on the larger horse my body naturally would lock due to the position my hips and pelvis got placed in, so I had to really visualize what my hips are actually doing and this then allows me to get in tune with the horse.
When I just sit to the trot on my big girl, I usually bounce and become rigid. But when I think of moving with the horse and really positioning my body correctly, it feels like I have just plug into something powerful. There is really such a huge comparison. It’s like black and white for me.
It’s Not Merely Sitting, It Involves Motion of Your Hips
What I have found to work really well once my pelvis is correctly aligned, along with neutral spine is then thinking of the movement within the saddle as very similar that of the rising trot. So when I would normally rise I am moving with the horse each and every stride while still remaining in the saddle. This requires me to move my hips, not just sit there.
When I do this and then move back and forth with my hips, I don’t become so rigid, as soon as I become rigid it is often due to my pelvis tilting forward again like it naturally tries to do on her and my hips then getting into a locked position. So I then have to rebalance my pelvis to allow hips to often up. All of this I cover and go in depth in the dressage rider training program.
The forward movement is replacing the rise of the trot. Sitting to the trot is the ability to move without being seen as moving. For me, I actually have to think of really moving my hips because if I think of being still I become rigid and I just bounce. It then requires huge core activation to allow my hips to move independently of my torso. This is then what creates the illusion of not much movement and even though I am working hard the illusion is that I am relaxed and sitting to the trot.
Sitting trot requires a motion through your pelvis, front and back. It’s far easier said than done. If you become too locked up, you will affect the movement of the horse and it will be uncomfortable. For my approach, I have to really visualize the movement of my pelvis front and back. This requires flexibility through the hips and mobility of the spine while maintaining a strong core.
Like I mentioned though, every single horse is different as well as every rider, some people have a natural balanced sit and on their horse they may not struggle at all with position. Then for someone else it could be quite the opposite for them to achieve the same outcome.
The key is to work on balancing out your rider strength and mobility and discovering where you centre of balance is as well as where your pelvis is positioned within the saddle. Once you under stand this it comes much easier to adapt your body to suit the horse beneath you.
Inside the dressage rider training program we work on all of these things and I go into depth about your seat, balance and pelvis positioning. I give you all the tools to help improve your rider fitness and positioning. Learn more about the program here