“You cannot learn to sit the trot on a horse who is not offering his back for you to sit on!”www.classicaldressage.co.uk

Ahhhhh, sitting trot, how I loathe thee, let me count the ways.  The unfortunate reality is, the more you ride, the more you improve (right??!), your goals become larger, you move up levels, you are required to sit the trot. Dunh Duhn Duhnnnnnnn.

Wicked.

So, like any self-respecting adult, I of course, head on over to the internet to see what kind of tips I can find in the area of sitting trot.

Well, wouldn’t you just know it?!! There are TONS of sitting trot tips out there!!  Here are some of the tips people have offered to us general population on sitting that trot:

Tip #1 -> At first, you just need to completely relax, like a wet noodle, and learn to follow the horse’s motion. If you start to bounce, relax, breathe, let your muscles relax and follow. Resist the temptation to tighten up.

Why Tip #1 sucks: Ummmm – last time I checked, just sitting there like a wet noodle will get you nowhere… except for maybe with your ass in the dirt, as you watch your horse trot happily away going ‘thank GOD that is over…’ But, if someone knows of a horse who appreciates being ridden by a wet noodle, let me know, because I know someone who would interested in that. (No, not me.)

Tip #2 -> What helped a lot for me, was to ride without stirrups. I found it helped to deepen my seat and improve my balance.

Why Tip #2 sucks: Actually, this tip isn’t that bad… considering you have the ability not to bounce around on your horse’s back and really piss him off….or create a death grip with your knees and thighs…

Tip #3-> Bareback and no stirrup lessons will help you get the sitting trot faster.

This doesn’t even classify as a tip, so I am not going to bother commenting on how sucky it is.

Tip #4 -> I once had a girl having a hard time sitting the trot. I started singing a song with her latest boyfriend’s name in it, she got to laughing so hard she relaxed and sat the trot.

Why Tip #4 sucks: I honestly think the last thing that would help, is being sung to while I try not to bounce around on the back of my horse.

Tip #5 Your hips (hip joints) have to become part of the horse, moving like backwards rotating bicycle pedals; one is up and one down. When I went for some seat refresher lunge lessons, I was told to exaggerate the actual lift and dropping of the knee to instill the feeling of what is happening. Whilst releasing into the hip joints you also need to let your lower back release to allow your weight to come right down into your seat. You may find it is getting blocked at around your lower chest because you’re ‘trying’ to sit still. This is also keeping your centre of gravity too high….

Why Tip #5 sucks: First of all, I cut this tip off…simply because I was getting confused (blonde??).  You want to me to raise my left hip up and forward while pushing my right hip down and back like I’m riding a bike backwards…? But moving at the same time that my horse’s legs are moving? Huh?

If you stick 3 horse people in a room and ask them the same question, you will get 7 different answers to that question.  When I first started to deal with the reality that 40 minutes of my hour long, normally private – private lessons suck sometimes…you have to be ‘on’ the entire time… and none of this ‘well you should be ‘on’ all the time you ride…yeah right, like you can sit there and tell me that you are all ‘on’ every second you are on your horse – lesson was spent at sitting trot I wasn’t dealing with it very well.  (Oh Oh Oh – and then there are those days when you spend those 40 minutes at sitting trot on a 20 meter circle…aren’t those a slice?!!) Simply, because I suck at sitting trot.

There, I said it.  I suck at it.

And, because my dear friend Chester is very much aware of that fact, he thinks it is hilarious to have a somewhat difficult to sit – and I am not just saying that, ask my coach – trot.  It takes every bit of my core to sit it…and I think THAT is the key to sitting trot…your core.

People talk about ‘absorbing the motion’, ‘moving your hips with the horse’, ‘sitting somewhat behind the vertical’ (SHAME!!), pretend you are riding a bike backwards (see tip 5 above)…honestly, be like Nike and JUST DO IT!

Yes it is important to stay in balance with your horse.  I try to achieve this by engaging my abs while trying to keep my butt, thighs and knees somewhat relaxed, but still on – not gripping – my horse.  Which has sometimes on occasion, more often than I feel comfortable divulging, lead to people asking me “Hey, did you just hear those ducks?!”

Other than that I also try to sit as deeply as possible and give my heart to my horse….ladies – stick those guns out if you got em’!!!  DO NOT LOOK AT THE SPACE BETWEEN YOUR HORSE’S EARS!!!!

That is a great way to pitch yourself forward, start bouncing around and if you happen to ride a very sensitive red headed TB who gets pissed if there is a microscopic piece of dirt under his saddle pad end up once again on your butt in the dirt because of the ginormous buck your friend let go to tell you just how he felt about it.  Not that something like that has ever happened to me or anything.

As with anything that has anything to do with horses, sitting trot unfortunately takes a ton of practice, determination, relaxation, repetition and patience.  I’m by no means an expert on sitting trot…or anything to do with horses really, but for me, engaging my core, opening my chest and shoulders and feeling my horse with my thighs and knees and looking up and where I want to go, helps me to sit a very difficult trot….as best as I can.