How To Develop the Sitting Trot
So today, we are talking about introducing the young horse to the sitting trot.
The biggest mistake that most people make with this, is they sit too long. Young horse’s backs take quite a while to form, so if you just drop your stirrups (as so many people do), you will probably end up hollowing the back of the horse, because the horse won’t be able to sustain it.
So, when your first beginning the sitting trot on a horse, what you want to do is get them into the stretch, and then only sit in the stretch. This teaches the rider independence as well. My student Sarah in this video, is working with a horse that has only had a few weeks of dressage training, and is learning to stretch. To get him back in place, she waits a moment till she gets the horse into the stretch and then sits to the trot alternating every 3 strides.
3 strides rising and 3 strides sitting and then she is back out of the saddle. But if the horse hollows again, she is going to take a moment before she sits again, get the horse back into the stretch once again, get the back up where it can sustain the weight of the rider, and then sit 3 strides again. Then again she starts to rise. When it is correct, our goal is to see no change between the sitting and rising trot.
So often in dressage today, we see people rise in the trot and as soon as they sit they shorten the gait of the horse. That will ruin the horse’s gait. We have to learn to sit to real true working gaits. The best way to do it, even for the rider, is to introduce a few strides at a time instead of dropping the stirrups and sitting for a half hour of time. This will ruin the horse’s back, and will also interestingly enough create damage to the rider’s back. If the back isn’t up and supporting, your going to take a lot of concussion into your own back. This is the way we do this, stretching into the contact and only sitting when the horse is stretching. As soon as the horse hollows, bring him back up and get the horse correct again, and try again. In the video, he hollows again, which tells us this horse’s back may be getting a little tired at this point. We will try to get one more good one and then we will quit. Then we bring the horse back to the walk.
Thank you all very much! So, get the stretch first, and then only sit 3 strides at a time. When you can get 3 strides at a time without changing the gaits of the horse, then sit 5 strides…then 7. Always use odd numbers, that way you will always come up on the outside diagonal. Thanks very much, and have a great day!