Rising Trot.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 11:04 PM
Rising trot is one of the basic skills that every rider learns in the beginning. And I think after riders able to do rising trot they believe they know how and never really come back and review their skills. Many instructors assume that nothing can be done and some riders just more able and talented than others. However, there are certain principles and laws of physics that involved in executing a good rising trot and any rider is capable of learning to control horse's balance, speed, energy and tempo.
    Before you learn to ride a rising trot well you need to check that:
  • Your saddle sits level on your horse's back. I find it quite common that riders put their saddles too forward. This makes saddle slanted backwards and riders struggle for balance in any gait.
  • Your stirrups are not too long. Usually this is not the case for jumper riders. However, quite common in eventers and dressage riders, even more so in eventers. They usually ride in jumping or all-purpose saddles which require shorter stirrups than dressage saddles. However, many eventers when not jumping or having a dressage lesson lengthen their stirrups beyond what their saddle can support regarding size and shape of knee roll. Do not simply follow rules, see what works for your situation. Rider's size and shape, horse's size and shape, saddle's shape - all these factors can influence your stirrup's length.
  • You are aware of the tempo of your horse's trot and any changes in it. If you had some education in any arts that involves music such as singing, playing an instrument, or dancing you know how important the tempo is in music. Ability to recognize your horse's tempo is necessary prerequisite for developing ability to control it.
    There are a few misconceptions about rising trot that still quite common and readily taught by many instructors.
  1. Rising trot is up/down movement. I see so many riders struggle to follow this rule, jumping up and then falling down back in the saddle. Very often they push off their stirrups to create enough momentum or wait for their horse to push them up. Because their horse continues to move forward they are left behind and end up falling ungracefully back very often using reins for support.
  2. The other misconception is not just about rising trot. It is idea of following your horse's movement. How many times you heard from instructors: "Just relax and follow your horse's movement!" The intention is to help beginner who is stiff, unbalanced and uncoordinated to start feeling what the horse is doing and finding rhythm and regularity in the gait. However, this notion has much more negative impact on rider's skills the more experienced the rider becomes. If you follow your horse's movement you will wait for it to change and you are always going to be late or behind it, hence, the word "following". In order to be in balance you need to be with the horse's movement. And eventually as your skills grow you want to lead the movement: organize, regulate and balance it. Compare riding a horse with dancing a ballroom routine. If you do not know the steps of the dance whom would you prefer: a skilled, balanced dancer that knows how to lead his partner, or someone who would pull and push you around, step on your feet, etc. You are the lead partner for your horse, he does not know the steps...
I have already written a blog on actual technique of rising trot. Please click here to read it.
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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