Naked Truth of Riding Symposium III
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 09:24 AM
Rising trot - was the next thing Mary Wanless wanted to work with the riders. She again halted the rider, came up to her and explained the dynamics of correct and balanced rising trot. Here are main components:
  • Stable knee, center of the rotation of the thigh - Lower leg does not participate in rising trot: no pushing forward, backwards, loading the stirrups more, etc. An exercise - sit with your buttocks on your heels. Your thighs are resting on your calfs. Rise up to kneeling position and sit down again. Observe how your thigh muscles are bringing you up and then control your decent. That how rising trot should feel
  • Thighs stay connected to the saddle - Thighs are still well connected to the saddle. However, on the very top of your rise it will be lower third of the thigh that is connected to the saddle. The rider must feel and look very balanced at the top of the rise.
    Note: When I came back home and rode I realized I need more connection to the saddle. I rotated my thighs even more inward, and during rise to the top I imagined that I can stay there on top without loading my stirrups more. My thighs felt nicely pressed to the saddle. It wasn't like squeezing or holding. I could feel my horse's body move the saddle and my thighs together as one unit.
  • Torso is solid and steady - The rider is still bearing down and keeping her torso as a box. The rider lifts her torso as a whole unit, there is no wave in the middle, no shoulders moving up or down, no jerky movement to stand up. That usually happens with riders who are too vertical for rising trot with feet too far forward.
  • Rising trot at halt- Practice rising trot at halt you will very quickly realize what is needed for good balance and how much your thighs must work.
  • Rider creates thrust to match horse's energy - Rider is rising up with thrust she creates herself in her thighs. The rider comes forward and up with energy and authority. The more energetic trot you want from your horse the more thrust is needed from your thighs. Do not mistake it with pushing down into horse's back to create more spring, so you do not need to work. You rise forward and up and you come back and down. You are not chasing after your horse and your horse is not chasing after you. If your horse feels rushed you may want to pause at the very top and bottom of your rising trot to control the tempo. It creates quite a workout for your thighs, especially on a big mover or very energetic horse.
To better understand the energy exchange between horse and rider in rising trot Mary wanted us to imagine two people playing a game of catch. They bounce a ball off the floor to the partner who catches it and bounces back. Now imagine you do it with a tennis ball who has nice bouncing properties. The game will go very smooth and rhythmical. If instead of a tennis ball you have chosen a bean ball you will not be able to play the game at all. The ball will not bounce and that would be it. If you take a ball that bounces so high it is impossible to catch the game will be over as well.
Canter - One of the most profound understandings for me came from realization that riders should be taught to have emphasis on the first beat. Pelvis and thighs are like a sling shot with the stone. Thighs pull pelvis backward at the first beat of canter. Pelvis keeps it's position, shoulders do not lean backwards or forward. The rider should send herself backwards with the thighs on the first beat of canter. This will lift the horse up on the haunches in every stride. There should not be any push forward or downward with rider's back or buttocks on the third beat of canter. With emphasis on the first beat the horse will not be on the forehand as much and will not drag the rider forward and down. Canter will become more rounded and uphill creating more of a lifting sensation on the third beat. It is hard for riders who pushed and slid forward for many years stop doing it all of a sudden. Focusing on the drawing pelvis backward on the first beat and being just passive in between will help. Pelvis should stay plugged in and not leave the saddle. If hip joints are locked pelvis will bounce up in the air. Mary's tip is to focus on being aware how much of your seat from the crouch to the seatbones is connected to the saddle. If only crouch stays attached to the saddle, think of spreading the attachment of your seat further back toward your seatbones. Bearing down is of paramount importance in canter.
Happy riding...
Comment by Irina Yastrebova on Friday, November 7, 2008 08:39 AM
Looking through my notes from the symposium I found another tip for riders who has hard time keeping their seat in the saddle during canter.
Think of drawing your knees up to make your buttocks come down to the saddle.
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