Riding the dressage trot, and especially “how to improve my sitting trot” is the number one question on our website.
This article does not seek to re-write all the wonderful texts on sitting trot, and does not in any way replace the Official Rule Book (www.fei.org). What I want you to know is how I learned to do sitting trot again after so many injuries, old age and illness.
How my riders in wheelchairs learn to do sitting trot, how the average backyard rider can learn to do sitting trot, and how my Olympians, World Champions and Paralympians improve their already amazing trots, by simple, fun little “tips and tricks”.
Quick Tip – Dressage Head Nod
Go to a $2 store and get yourself an old pair of sunglasses…then put masking tape across the bottom half of the lens (a bit like a bifocal would look)! Sound crazy? It’s AMAZING. Firstly stops you looking down and putting the horse on the forehand, but secondly as you look up you’ll notice the line go up and down….it can stop “dressage head nod in ONE LAP of the arena”!! I’ve got many more tips here….
Quick Tip – Sitting Deeper
Do sitting trot downhill! When I came back from 2 years of retirement, at one stage in a wheelchair, and learning to ride again with Riding for Disabled at Peppercorn Park in Melbourne…I had to learn to really sit. I wasn’t that great in the first place…but after so long off, I was even worse! And…I did it DOWNHILL…it wasn’t Mt. Everest..just down the driveway.
If you want to improve your dressage trot…get out of the arena, and give it a go! And…imagine the bend of the stifle, hock and fetlock! The same bend you’re going to need for engagement! This one trick has produced many a champion!
Quick Tip – “Longer” leg
OK..now we’re really cheating! My secret weapon! Ankle weights! Yes…go to the running store and buy some velcro strap kind of running weights for your ankles and wear them while you’re doing sitting trot. Never have I had such instant success in improving the dressage trot!
Here’s some places where you can get them: shopping results I found on Google
Many more Tips…
This amazing little book looks at what the judges REALLY want, why we do sitting trot in the first place, and all the ‘myths’ associated with how to improve the rider’s seat, posture & balance.
Does lunging really work? Is it a good idea to close your eyes, or lean back to “feel” your seat bones?
If you REALLY want to know how to improve your sit trot…why don’t you read our new e-book devoted solely to sitting trot “How to Improve the Rider’s Sitting Trot”
Sitting Trot: Should you “wiggle in the middle” to absorb movement?
I could write a whole long article on just this topic…but judge for yourself on this beautiful video!
Have a look at their brass buttons on their jackets….they don’t “wiggle in the midde”.
STAND UP! Yes that’s right! Standing up in the stirrups while trotting is one of the first steps to real balance.
It’s done in all the European military schools (e.g. Spanish School of Riding). Not jumping position leaning over, but STRAIGHT UP.
And…get yourself videod….are you wobbling around up there? When you learn to be STILL up there, then your sitting trot stands a chance of being still too!
I’ve seen lots of the kids “cheat” doing this….standing up they actually “sit” on the pommel! OK, you might think that’s weird, but it’s not as difficult as sitting on the withers backwards in canter holding someone on your shoulders!
When your pubic bone is STILL (that might require changing your stirrup length as often they are too LONG!). If you can’t stand with a tiny gap between your pubic bone and the saddle standing fully, your stirrups are too long to help your balance. And, your heels will be up (which loses you marks in the rider mark…see comment on heels www.fei.org rules).
If you think standing’s hard…have a look at some REAL balance…