a poor workman

I have basically never been able to sit the trot.  I have only been trying to do so for about, oh, the entire length of time I’ve been riding seriously (admittedly not that long).  I don’t have the advantage of having developed an independent seat as a wildchild galloping around bareback on my pony, but I’m not sure many people do these days.

Over the course of three consecutive evenings, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will trace the history and evolution of motion picture formats from the silent era through the current digital age in ÒBehind the Motion Picture Canvas: Film Formats through the 21st Century,Ó beginning on Wednesday, September 9, at 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  The presentation will continue with screenings of ÒManhattanÓ (1979) on Thursday, September 10 and ÒThe Black StallionÓ (1979) on Friday, September 11.  Both screenings will begin at 8 p.m.  Academy Science and Technology Council member Rob Hummel will host each evening. Pictured: Kelly Reno rides the title character in a scene from THE BLACK STALLION, 1979.Can you imagine the unimaginable places horse hair would have gotten shooting this scene?!

What I did have was determination and desire.  I didn’t know how to sit the trot, and practicing just seemed to end in sore seat bones and inner thighs.  Practicing something incorrectly was not helping, so obviously I needed to learn how to learn to do this.  I read a lot of things.  You have to trot slower.  You have to remove your stirrups.  Relax this.  Tense that.  Move your pelvis.  Don’t cling.  Hug with your thighs.  Hug with nothing.  It is a mystery.

onesieunicorn
he was perfect in other ways

I never had the perfect horse to practice on, as lesson horses are probably predisposed to especially hate attempts at sitting trot.  My bouncing and jiggling never seemed to impress them, and there was more than one occasion that I nearly bounced myself off the side of Quincy, cartoon style.  Then I started riding this adorable four year old and I was like “Wow! Trying to sit the trot on this weak, tense back would be a huge disservice to this horse. guess I don’t have to try any more!” and I had a sweet out to stop trying to sit the trot for two years.

fistbumpbabyThen MIL said I had to sit the trot half of all my rides and I was like… wahh.  But my knees kept bumping the knee rolls.  And I was bouncing.  And I thought… maybe I should try another saddle.  I KNOW, I KNOW.  IT’S A POOR WORKMAN WHO BLAMES HIS TOOLS.  But I was desperate, and curious.  So I sat in my trainer’s new Stubben Euphoria.  And it was… if not quite euphoric definitely better than my saddle.  So in about four seconds I decided I was getting a new saddle.  Since then I’ve tried about four different saddles and all of them have been a marked improvement on my saddle in terms of sitting the trot.  I suspect the larger seat size has something to do with it — I’m not bumping up against the cantle or the knee rolls.  As it turns out, despite my flat-as ass, my spider monkey legs mean that I need a bigger seat than I thought.

So while I’m not putting all the blame on my saddle, I suspect that I’m going to have a lot easier of a time learning to sit the trot in a saddle that actually facilitates the correct position.  I’m going to go ahead and pretend not to be a poor workman blaming her tools, and just get tools that are better suited to the task because they fit my tiny ass and weird long legs better.

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17 thoughts on “a poor workman

  1. The right saddle definitely makes a difference! But it took me until I was about 20 years old to figure out how to sit the trot – really properly sit it, not hunter-princess-fake-sitting. Now I love sitting the trot! You are not alone – I am happy to share weird exercises that helped me learn if you want!

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  2. Lol! The right saddle definitely makes a difference, and I think more so the longer legged you are. Long legged people also tend to need larger seats, no matter how small their derriere happens to be.

    Good luck. It takes time. Having the right trot helps. Not riding a wildebeast (er, massive warmblood) helps, too. So does being double jointed and naturally talented. Whatever. You’ll get there.

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  3. Saddles make a HUGE difference in your ability to do all kinds of things!! Before I had my dressage saddle, I just did all my work in an Ainsley XC saddle. The super forward flaps did NOT help me do anything! Switching to a dressage saddle helped, but as I’ve checked out various saddles from work, I’ve realized that some dressage saddles are better than others. And that’s why I’m trying to find a convenient way to make the Sommer Esprit “disappear”. 😉

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  4. Yup. Especially in dressage (and jumping, hah) the right saddle is so important. I bought my saddle when I wasn’t even saddle shopping because it was one of two dressage saddles I’ve EVER sat in that doesn’t tip me forward. Part of that is the right seat size. Part of that is pelvic conformation and I have no idea how to quantify that. Glad you’re on the right track!

    Oh, and while I sat the trot fine on my old guy, I’ve studiously avoided it on Courage because I don’t think it’s fair to the horse to try and sit the trot until their back is strong enough.

    We’re inching closer to that, which means I need to start figuring it out again. Hmmmm.

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    • While it isn’t fair to them, it’s also a good idea to try to get them used to it. So maybe 5 min of sitting trot when they are good and warmed up and their back is really moving nicely. That’s also a good way for you to work on it for a little bit of time before you both fatigue and it gets ugly fast. Just set a timer and go.

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      • Yeah that was my MIL’s thing. She was like “neither of you is getting any better by never doing it.” If I slow him down and concentrate a lot, Murray doesn’t tense up when I sit the trot, but obviously that level of concentration is only sustainable for a few minutes at a time!

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  5. The right saddle makes such a difference! There are some that I simply can’t ride in. One of my students has a schlesse that I feel like I’m going to fall off the back end of it every time I ride. I can’t trot in it at all.

    I was (and will remain) in the young horse no-sitting-trot phase with TC, I was sitting a few steps here and there during each ride. It was definitely tough on him I think because he’s SO bouncy that I’d inevitably get a little tense trying to stay with him. I really want a new saddle with better blocks (mine kind of pop my leg up), but that’s me being lazy since I’m clearly fine in mine through the FEI levels…

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  6. I was lucky enough to be one of those wild children, so sitting trot is my happy place. Posting, on the other hand? Didn’t learn it was a thing until my late teens and I still pick the wrong diagonal 50% of the time 😉

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  7. You and I, we are built very similar. I think I am an inch shorter than you and I bet you it comes off my sad, small, torso. I could use a new dressage saddle as well, but alas, funds are needed for that!

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  8. I actually like sitting trot. I default to it every time I need to concentrate on doing something; it’s a lot easier to get your leg on right and ask with your seat correctly when you’re sitting. I’ve actually had a problem in that I’ll go to sitting trot whenever I feel like I need to and not even realize it. When showing intro, rising trot is required so I had to actually make sure I was remembering to post.
    Saddle fit does help, but honestly, the best fix is riding without a saddle. I spent a few years riding my horse bareback (years ago). My husband had to spend about 6 months riding without a saddle until we could find one to fit his horse. And his seat improved dramatically.

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  9. ugh good luck!! i see more sitting trot in my future (and just practiced on my dressage trainer’s warmblood hony mare and dammmnnn was it a shit show…) and am not thrilled at the prospect. practice practice, i guess

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  10. A well fitting saddle can make a huge difference! I have the opposite problem. I can sit trot for days, but feel like I am flopping around like a wet noodle half the time when I am posting.

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