I’ve been looking for my sitting trot…..
For more than a year!
Full confession, nothing brings me closer to suicidal thoughts than the average dressage lesson.
I was watching one of my dressage videos, ah hem the one above, & commented, “I look like I’m riding a pogo stick! I HAVE to fix that.”
Without missing a beat the BadEvent Groom said, “I’m pretty sure the solution is not to ride pogo sticks.”
Truer words have not been said.
That reminded me of that-one-time The Fearless Leader said,” if you don’t want to bounce buy a Paso Fino.”
So recently I had a bit of a breakthrough in the sitting trot area.
Several things came together to make this magical occurrence happen
And I will try to explain them……
First……I can sit on other horses.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Here are 2 rider scores from 2 dressage tests I rode on the same day, minutes apart.
I got a 6.5 and then an 8 (plus smiley face!!) for Rider. Do you really think in the minutes separating these 2 tests my riding ability & skill increased 15%?
The first score was on Mr-I’m-So-Bouncy. And I had a revelation. “It’s not me it’s you!” So what is it about this fancy pony that makes him impossible to sit?
Here’s what I came up with.
1. I Said Go: He has to go without continuously asking. How can I possibly sit when I’m kicking every stride? People ridiculously call that “in front of the leg”. I don’t know about you but if my horse is IN FRONT of my legs…..I’m on the ground. I’ve been told I take things too literally.
2. Goldilocks: He needs to slow down. That seems a bit backwards from what I just said about GOING but when you’re kicking you tend to rush them. So he needed to GO! But not too fast. It needs to be JUST RIGHT!
3. Stirrup length. I must have changed my stirrups, leathers, boots and stirrup length 20 times since I got this horse trying to find the answer. I even bought some magnetic stirrups! I had finally settled for a super long stirrup and it turns out I had overdone it. I went up one hole & it’s amazing what a difference that made!
4. Ride your horse. My “dressage flashback” habit is to try not to move in a test. And that would be 100% wrong.
Basically I was told that I need to “school your horse” through the test, and ride him at the show like I’m schooling at home. I know this is super basic for all the DQs out there………. but I don’t think it’s unusual for mere mortals to “freeze” when they enter the ring.
After deciding it was him and not me, making sure he was going without kicking, shortening my stirrups a hole, slowing down 1mph, and remembering to ride-him-no-matter-what…… I started getting comments like, “Wow that sitting trot looks great!”
I don’t know – you tell me!