Sitting trot. How do you fare in it? One of the issues we are filming for Aspire Equestrian Video Library is a process of improving a rider with good lateral stability (left to right) but comparatively weak front to back stability resulting in, what in layman terms we could call a “wavy upper body”.
The rider in our Case Study below mainly jumps and rides with short stirrups in a forward cut saddle. In the video below, as an experiment for the footage, I lengthened her stirrups 3 holes from her usual leather length. I also applied slow motion effect so those of you who are just learning to analyse own videos can spot the problem – it’s not always easy to “see” what’s happening so it’s important to train your eye (especially if you are an instructor-to-be).
For this rider, the issue with stabilising own upper body in the right position in motion (that is, one which effectively helps the horse with his balance) comes with several unwanted by products, some examples include:
– difficulty in controlling downwards transitions, and transitions in general, especially canter-trot-canter. The horse struggles with remaining balanced and relaxed through them whilst maintaining engagement relevant to his current level of schooling.
– difficulty in balancing the horse without becoming elbow-arm-hand stiff (this particular rider has a very quiet hand but achieves it through fairly rigid elbow which causes certain degree of stiffness in the neck of her young horse)
– difficulty with balancing the horse (keeping him relatively off his forehand to prevent rushing) on circles and during changes of direction.
Her training to improve the issue will involve:
1) Awareness of joints suppleness (jumpers often ride with “jammed” ankles which keeps them safe over jumps but it can be damaging for their own back and joints in general. If there is tension in ankle joint (rider pushing down to achieve heel down position), the issue is often reflected in the way the rider sits – a little off the saddle with upper body inclined forwards to counterbalance against the jammed heel.
2) Overall balance awareness. She will spend several weeks playing with various stability exercises like the one we filmed below:
3) Personalised practical sessions building awareness of pelvis movements ( role of hip joints in absorbing the motion of the horse’s back) and lower back vs upper back movement.
4) Focus on the issue during her training sessions (in intervals; it’s important not to overdo new movement patterns both in the horse and the rider)
5) Having personalised Imagery Training: videos to watch and learn from. Footage is of riders who are particularly strong in the areas where she is weak. It’s important to watch the right thing.
6) Have fun exploring the new stronger upper body by using it to school her lovely, young horse 🙂
NOW – BLOGGERS CHALLENGE!
If you would like me to cast an eye on a problem you are having with your riding and give you a mini-training plan to work on the issue, be brave and do the following:
- film 1-2 min of clear footage of one issue you would like a training plan for
- embed it on your blog in a post titled “Aspire Equestrian Virtual Training Challenge 13-15 July” and a short description of what you are trying to achieve and what you are doing on the problem right now.
- send me a link to your blog post as a comment to this post
- I will comment on your blog with a thorough feedback and a mini training plan.
Be brave 🙂 Offer expires 15th July 9pm London, UK time. (but I will run it again next month if you need time to gather your courage 🙂
- “SITTING PRETTY” – is that really the point? Pondering on body position vs body use (aspireequestrian.wordpress.com)
- The magic of a virtual training programme (aspireequestrian.wordpress.com)
- So, who’s stopping you? (aspireequestrian.wordpress.com)
- An Online Shop with a Difference: Come and Purchase some Aspirations 🙂 (aspireequestrian.wordpress.com)