Tips for Mastering the Rising Trot – Feel the horse

No More Bouncing – Follow These Easy Tips to Master the Rising Trot

If you are a new rider one of the land marks of success is learning to master the rising trot. Wobbly legs, slapping seat is replaced with synchronicity. If you have already mastered it, you can move onto step 2 – rising trot without stirrups. Something all riders should do on a regular basis.

Tips For a Perfect Rising Trot

Most riders when starting out put too much effort into the rising. They press onto their stirrups, and stand up as far as they can. This can sustain them for only a short time as their legs get tired and new riders do not ‘go with the flow’.
You must admit you have to FEEL the horse to do a posting trot correctly. By feel I mean:

  1. understand how horses move their legs while trotting
  2. how your body should move while trotting
  3. and how these movements fit together.

How Horses Move Their Legs While Trotting

Take a look at this simple, yet expressive video on how a horse moves its legs at the trot.

You will notice the horse moves his near fore and off hind (left front and right back) together followed by the off fore and near hind (right front and left hind). You can see there is a period of suspension where there are no legs touching the ground. This gives the trot the rythmic 1 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 1 – 2 we often think of when trotting.

When the horse is in its “period of suspension” the horse pushes you  up and forward. Horses with more suspension have a larger ‘push’ up and forward. And you seem to be in the air for longer.

Some ponies, for example, have little suspension, and some bigger, warmblood types have huge suspension. This suspension, this push is what allows us to rise and do a posting trot.

How Riders Should Move at a Posting/Rising Trot

Most riders put too much effort into their riding. Think of letting the horse PUSH you out of the saddle. Standing up in the stirrups does not allow you to feel what the horse is doing underneath you. You do not want to bring your behind to far forward or too far out of the saddle. Think of “brushing the crotch of your pants against the seat of the saddle”. This is how one person explained it to me.

Instead of thinking up – down – up – down, think of bringing your bum slightly forward and have the crotch of your riding pants lightly brush the saddle.

HOw These Movements Fit Together


Please review this lovely video on How these two movements should fit together.

Do you have tricks to help you post? We’d love to hear from you.

Exercises to Help Feel the Rising Trot

My favorite exercises to assist with feeling the rising trot is what I call the UP-UP-Down exercise.

  1. Start in 2-point or jumping position. Establish a trot in your 2-point or jumping position.
  2. Once you have established your trot count, up – up – down – up – up – down – up – up – down. This means Stand in your stirrups in 2 point for 2 beats (up – up) then back to 3-point for 1 beat (down).
    So rather than going up- down – up – down for your normal rising trot, go up – up – down – up – up – down.
  3. This forces you to feel the horse’s rhythm, rather than mechanically going up and down. You will find your balance becomes more secure and you become more stable over your leg.

Try it! Let me know how you made out and send some pictures (or even a video!).

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Long and Low, Is it Really That Important?

Dressage

Stretching is Important to the Development of the Horse (Photo credit: Thowra_uk)

Stretching is important to the fundamental development of the horse. Stretching, or allowing your horse to go ‘long and low’ and forward is the primary step in the systematic development of the horse’s top line for all disciplines.

The strength of the topline of the horse is what determines:

  • how much collection a horse can obtain
  • how large a horse can jump
  • how fit and sound a horse will be.

Young Horse Training

In the beginning of a horse’s training the young horse has very little muscle development on his top line. As a result, some horses need more stretching to promote their back coming up and their stomach muscles to become engaged.

In general terms, horse’s have two sets of muscles, those which extend and lengthen, and those which contract. The muscles over the top of the horse should be longer so they can extend the horse’s legs forward.

2012 Olympics - Team Dressage Final

In General, Horses Have Two Sets of Muscles (Photo credit: lhourahane)

The muscles underneath the horse, along their stomach and barrel, should be shorter so they can draw the horse’s hind legs under the horse’s center of gravity. When the horse naturally lowers his neck, with a light and positive contact, the horse’s back will lift up and the stomach muscles will engage and draw the horse’s hind legs underneath the horse.

If you see a horse with it’s top line shorter than its stomach, it is hollow and inverted. The hind quarters are usually left behind without power, the horse’s back is dropped, and the horse’s neck is concave (ewe necked).
For young horses and horses in training, stretching can be and should be a fundamental exercise for development. Stretching correctly, with the back up and the horse pushing from behind, can be done for 10 strides at a time and as a requirement for 1st and 2nd level horses, a full 2 metre circle at trot and canter.

Stretching for Advanced Horses

As your horse progresses through  his training allowing them to stretch serves a different purpose. Advanced horses are fit enough and have developed the needed muscles and do not have to perform stretching exercises for muscle development. Stretching can be used as a  way to relax a horse and release tension as they progress through their daily program.

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The Classical Training Scale

Here is a explanation regarding some challenges we face with our training.

I like

IMPULSION

IMPULSION (Photo credit: JAMART Art Photography)

where the commentator says some thing to the effect of ‘it takes a brave judge to place a ‘back mover’ over a ‘leg mover’ in competition.’

I think people should take a step back and remember the 6 classical dressage training steps….

Do you know what they are?

  1. rhythm
  2. suppliness
  3. contact
  4. straightness
  5. impulsion
  6. collection

If you keep these 6 steps in mind while riding you will find your training ‘deficiencies’  and understand which step you need to go back to to develop and strengthen before proceeding.

Where do you find you have to do the most word before proceeding to the next step?

Post a comment below and let us know what your biggest challenge is.

 

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