The feeling of the sitting trot is a little bit different on every horse. Some horses have a huge trot and lots of impulsion, others have a flatter, quicker stride. The art of riding lies in the ability to adjust to each horse’s movement while sitting deep in the saddle, maintaining a stable position to allow for optimally developing each horse’s movement potential.
Even, Elastic Movement of the Hip Joints
Better understanding the motion sequence of your own body when sitting the trot is quite helpful in developing a quieter seat. Sitting the trot requires even and elastic movement of the rider’s hip joints. This means that the femur should be able to move freely within the acetabulum (socket of the hip joint) so that the angle between thigh and upper body can open can close in the trot without having to move the entire pelvis. When riding with stirrups, this also means that the ankle joints need to move elastically with the motion.
To keep a quiet upper body despite the motion of the horse’s back and that our of our own hips, we need a strong lower back and a strong core. Stability in our center allows us to sit on the horse in balance and carry our hands independently from our seat.
Riders with stiff hips tend to absorb the horse’s motion with their back instead of their hips. Often, the rider stiffens their muscles and gets lifted out of the saddle or overcompensates by wiggling too much with their waist or head.
Three Exercises for a Better Sitting Trot
The following three exercises improve the mobility of your hip and ankle joints to enable you to absorb the horse’s motion in the right places. In addition, you will strengthen your core which helps you avoid unwanted “wiggling” of your waist and head. This allows you to better influence the quality of your horse’s movement.
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