How Do You Do Sitting Trot? – Part 3: How Do I Stay In The Saddle In Sitting Trot?

Hey Dressage Superstars! Today’s question is, “How Do You Do Sitting Trot? – Part 3: How Do I Stay In The Saddle In Sitting Trot?

This is the third part of a 4 part series on how to do sitting trot. Step three to having an awesome sitting trot is thinking about, okay, what do I use to stay on the saddle? And what most people do is, “I want to stay in the saddle,” and they grip with their knees, which actually causes their body to come out of the saddle.

And when I was learning, that was me. I wanted to sit
in the saddle so much. I just thought if I gripped more and more and more and more, that’ll make it
okay.
To watch Part 1: Using Your Seat Bones CLICK HERE
To watch Part 2: Sitting Still In The Trot CLICK HERE
To watch Part 4: How To Use My Core CLICK HERE

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To Your Success,

Natasha Althoff

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Hey dressage superstars, today I’m going to answer the question, how do you do sitting trot, part three?

Okay, so step three to having an awesome sitting trot is thinking about, okay, what do I use to stay on the saddle? And what most people do is, “I want stay in the saddle,” and they grip with their knees, which actually causes their body to come out of the saddle.

So I’ll do it in halt. Here, I’ve got an open knee, my leg’s long, and everything’s good. The minute I tighten my knee, did you see? It moved my entire body. So I’ll do it again. Relaxed. And the more … So here’s relaxed, here’s, sorry Wessy, here’s tight. And the more I tighten my knees, the more I grip, do you see, the more my thighs come out of the saddle and my bum moves to the back of the saddle.

So when I got an open knee, I can really sit deep in the saddle and stay connected with my seat bones. The minute I grip, I come up. And the more I grip, the more I move to the back of the saddle. And that’s what most riders do. You guys are trying so hard. And when I was learning, that was me. I wanted to sit in the saddle so much. I just thought if I gripped more and more and more and more, that’ll make it okay. And of course it just sent me further back in the saddle, further. Look when I’ve really tightened up, I’ve come totally out of the saddle, and there’s air between … It’s still dark because I’m still connected to the saddle, but I’m completely out of the saddle. So the answer is not to grip tighter. The answer is to be looser.

So if the answer is to actually let go of the knee, and not grip with the knee at all, but keep the knee open, so you can see it’s not, there’s space, sorry camera, there’s space, there’s space between my leg and the knee block. Yeah, so if that’s open, what am I using? So if you look at my leg, what is in contact with the saddle? And you go, “Okay,” or with the horse, and you go, “My thigh,” sorry, “My calf?” But we really don’t want to grip with the calves. The legs tell the horse to move sideways, to go forward, that kind of thing. So we don’t want to use that to stay on the horse. So if then all the rest is off the horse, off the horse, off the horse, all we’ve got left is this, which is connected to the saddle, and this.

Now, most riders I know go, “Okay, what’s the strongest part of my leg?” And it’s your hamstring muscle. So they turn their legs out, this is totally exaggerated, and they ride with the strong part of their leg. Who’s guilty of toes out and their legs a little bit like this? And that’s just normal, because you’re going, “Well, this is strong, this can hold me into the saddle.” And that’s great, but again, especially if we want to ride grand prix, and we need to ride with spurs in grand prix, if our knee’s like that, we’re going to spur the horse.

So we have to have a flat leg position where the calf and the leg and the ankle is all perpendicular to the horse. So it doesn’t matter what happens, I will never, ever spur this horse unless I want to. So you as a dressage rider have to make sure you’re not riding with legs like this, because you’re going to give the wrong [inaudible 00:02:56] to the horse, and you have to start developing this.

So, okay, if my legs are going to be like this, then the only thing I’ve got left if I’m not going to use this part of my leg is an upper groin muscle. Get in there, cameraman. But yes, it’s these upper groin muscles. Now, when … So kind of this stuff. I remember when the coach taught it to me, and they were like, “Okay, do you feel it? Can you tighten those muscles?” And I was like, “No. I was born without them.”

And it’s the same if I say, “Move your little toe, or can you feel …” Sorry, this is a better example, “Can you feel your little toe?” And you’re like … And you want to move it. So when I move it, I can feel it. But otherwise, I’m like, “I don’t know. Maybe I don’t have a little toe.” And that’s kind of like this in a groin muscle, I was like, “I don’t know where it is. I wouldn’t know how to turn it on. I don’t know what to do.”

So the thing is, you’ve just got to keep searching for it. So one great way is obviously without stirrups, because now I’m really stuffed. My leg’s super long, and the only thing I’ve got left is these upper groin muscles. The other thing is just, you can have your foot back in the stirrups, but you constantly are going, “Okay, long leg, find my upper groin. Long leg, find my upper groin. Long leg, find my upper groin.”

So I’ll just show you in the trot. Yeah, we’re turning. So here’s if I turn my leg, I can kind of grip with the back part of my leg, which I don’t want to do. So I need to find where that is. And then I’m just going, plug my seat bones in, take the weight down through my ankle, which we learned in video one and two. And now, just stay there with those upper groin muscles, upper groin, upper groin, upper groin, upper groin. That’s all I have to hold me in the saddle, upper groin, upper groin, upper groin, upper groin, upper groin, upper groin, upper groin.

And if you stop and then go, “Nothing’s sore,” then maybe you haven’t used the correct muscles. You should after a couple of circles be like, “Ha ha ha, ow.” And if anyone has not ridden for a bit and then gone back to ride, those upper groin muscles get sore. We’re like, “Oh,” you know, when people who’ve never ridden a horse go on a trial ride, they get off after two hours, and they’re like, “Oh my God.” It’s that kind of muscle on steroids.

So have fun finding that. You can go without stirrups, if it’s safe to do so, to go and find those upper groin muscles. Have fun with it.

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