The roles and uses of Rising and Seated Trots. Discussion.
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Author:  Bryan [ Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:23 am ]
Post subject:  The roles and uses of Rising and Seated Trots. Discussion.

I find a number of riders in  Australia that are very against seated trot and believe it should only be used in moderation and only on strong advanced horses.  The thought is to rise whenever you can and that it takes years of work in rising trot before they are strong enough to be worked in seated trot.  The thought here is that you can collect a horse rising too!   

From my reading this does not sit right with me.  Firstly I can't see how it could be possible to obtain true collection in rising trot and feel that may be the desire to rise is more due to their riding seat not being developed enough to sit the trot and not interfere with the horses movement ( not saying that mine is there either.. Yet).

My reading, and especially of Alois books, that rising trot does indeed have its role to play in the training of young horses.  He talks developing the trot on a young horse rising then as the horse develops strength and balance gradually adding seated trot in typically in the middle of the session and when ever the horses trot movement is impacted from sitting ( impulsion, lift, rhythm, frame, contact, balance etc) then rising again until you have the correct movement reinforced.

Obviously the better the rider the less they will negatively effect the movement of the horse but no matter who the rider is a green 3 or 4 year old( depending on their level of development may be 5 etc) will need to be ridden rising for some time and as the balance and strengthen - develop the muscles to carry the rider the work should move more to seated trot.

I would love to see some discussion happening around this and hear some more opinions.  To me for cavalry the seated trots and canters is where I and my horse Merlin needs to be.

I am also interested in people's thoughts about training an older more developed horse .. Like a 9 year old quarter horse!  Would it take two years to strengthen such a horse for seated work?

I have increased the amount of rising trot I am doing with him and it has resulted in bigger trots.  I am warming him up rising then, to the disapproval of many here, riding him seated as much as I can.  If I feel him losing form then I am rising for a bit until he becomes more forward.  Do people feel this is the wrong approach?  Should I just not sit much now and rise as often as possible?  Or go the other way and try to fix the loss of form from the seated trot?

I would most appreciate peoples thoughts on Rising trot and when and how it should be used In The training of horses.

Author:  Hanne [ Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The roles and uses of Rising and Seated Trots. Discussi

That is a very good question, and I agree with you, Bryan. I am looking forward to explaining the reasons for my view in debth later today, as I am on the run to get some shopping done. :D

I'll be back. 8)


Author:  Hanne [ Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The roles and uses of Rising and Seated Trots. Discussi

Sorry, I have been too busy to get time to answer this as promised. It is a very interesting topic, and deserves a thorough explanation. As usual I would like to illustrate this with film clips, but I am very bad at producing instructive movies, there is always some details that are not perfect enough, and those are always distracting from the point I want to make. :D

Rising trot is basically invented to allow riders that are not so good at sitting trot to let their horse's back move correctly. There is basically nothing wrong with sitting trot, the only fault is that very few riders have the skill, the balance, the stabilization of upper body and the suppleness around the hip joints to let the horse's movement through.

The younger the horse and the weaker the back, the more sensitive the horse is for a blocked rider's hip. A very strong, seasoned horse, or a large, insensitive horse, or a horse that is big and strong in comparison to the rider's weight, might be able to withstand the blocked hips, and move correctly anyway. For all others, a rider that not yet is able to let the horse through the hips will have to ride rising trot regularly, to make sure that the horse again can get its back in order.

The horse's back needs to be stabilized for it to be able to move elegantly and with correct rythm in all gaits. This means that all the muscles around the torso/belly has to be active, and all the time has to work to hold the midsection of the horse stable. It is wrong to think that the back should swing like a jump rope, it should move more like a rather stiff, but elastic thick pole. What is crucial to understand, is however that this rather stiff but stable midsection is moving in a wave-like movement, almost like a log of timber in rough sea. You get the picture? It is possible to move in a wave movement even though the log is stiff?

Okay, now we place a rider on top of this rather stiff and stabilized midsection, in a saddle. If the rider is stiff in his hip joint, his pelvis and buttocks will block the saddle in a horisontal position at all times. Even though he might sit rather still because he has taught himself to wobble in his own midsection. The pelvis and buttocks are still forcing the saddle to keep a horizontal position.

Imagine now the log moving in the waves. Or the horse's back moving in trot, which is a very similar motion. If the saddle is blocked in a horizontal position, the horse's back is blocked in a horizontal position in the exact area under the saddle. In order for the horse to move in walk, trot or canter, he will have to make some changes to his back posture. He might do one or more of the following:

1. Sway and wobble his back under the saddle or behind the saddle, so that the spine is "broken" in two places, allowing the back to wobble, just like the rider's back is wobbling. The gait rythm will be lost over time because this weak back cannot carry the cadence if the movement. Horse over the bit or curled behind, depending on the rider's "skill" with his hands.
2. Freak out and run, trying to get rid of the problem. Buck, kick, whatever.
3. Start developing a habit of being sluggish and move without energy.
4. Move with hind legs more collected than the rest of the body, and lose its gait rythm in a different way, often called a "positive" rythm fault, but the back problem is still there.
5. There is also a lot of other symptoms that can be seen, such as forging, stumbling, bad temperament, fear, skittishness, concentration problems, etc.

From this, it is obvious that we need to keep the horse's back stable. And the horse very much likes to do so, as long as we allow him to. Thus, it will take time (duration depending on the strength of the horse) for the back to "break" again, after we have together made it stable.

This is the reason why it works rather OK to ride rising trot regularly. Even though your seat may be blocking the horse's back, you can undo this by rising every time you feel the horse "breaking" i. e. the rythm is lost.

A better solution would of course be to develop a seat that really allows the back to move without blocking it. A prerequisite for this is to be able to move through the hips, which I have described more in our riding theory. If you can do this, you can actually heal a "broken" back by just forcing it to move correctly, just by balancing the pelvis dead vertically and letting the seat bones move in the correct, circular movement that the back needs. You might even force the saddle to move like that, and thus help the "broken" horse find his rythm very quickly.

I would say that there is no way to really collect a horse in rising trot. Collection is not about pulling the reins and squeezing with your legs. It's about collecting your body and letting the energy from the hind legs lift the horse up instead of pushing it forwards. This has to be directed by the seat, and if you lift the seat out if the contact more than 50% of the time, the collecting effect is accordingly weaker, even if it still is there. For many riders, the rising trot will prevent a much larger fault of blocking the back, of course, but this does not mean that there is a rule that sitting trot is bad for the back or that it is only for very strong horses.

You can actually make the horse stronger much faster by riding sitting trot correctly.


Author:  Bryan [ Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The roles and uses of Rising and Seated Trots. Discussi

Talking black and white here... Would you say there is no role for rising trot or it is still a useful tool for a young green horse?

Do you guys use it at all or never. If you do use it when and why do you use it.

Now for me here now with Merlin I clearly am still blocking him and have found that I have been able to get him moving better in trot by rising. I still want to improve my seat so I can ride the bigger trots and not block but I it's going to take some more time. I have my moments and They are becoming more frequent but I am still finding I need to use some rising trot otherwise he does become sluggish and loses energy. What would you advise me to do in this situation? Note there are some photos on Facebook taken yesterday.

Author:  Hanne [ Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The roles and uses of Rising and Seated Trots. Discussi

There is definitely a use for rising trot, especially for young horses, riders who have trouble, and horses with back trouble, and just for loosening up and checking the state of the back and double check your sitting trot seat (am I really not blocking him now?). We use it a lot, for these reasons.

There are some points to observe when it comes to rising trot. It has to be done in the right way. A good way to practise using your seat correctly is to make sure that your crotch ends up over the pommel every time you rise. This may seen exaggerated in the beginning, but soon you will find it more natural and balanced. Later on, you may rise less out of the saddle for each step, but still use the seat musculature in the same way.

When doing this, you may practise the sitting trot by trying to rise less and less each time, and finally end up sitting. Or you may stand in the stirrups, balancing with your upper body well inclined forwards and felxing in the hips, and then gradually lower the seat bones into the saddle without ever dumping down into it. The transition needs to be totally seamless, and you must practise going up and down and be able to stop and stabilize at any moment. That is, with your seat bones "in the air" without falling back into the saddle.

From the pictures, it seems you have the right position to start doing this practise. This is a matter of movement and movement control. It may be a big help if you stand in the stirrups and feel the horse's back movement when the back is free to move, and then, as you gradually sit down, you must try to follow the actuall movement of the saddle, and not try to adjust the saddle to your seat bones. You will in the end find that the saddle moves in a specific flat oval circular movement. Upwards/forwards and downwards/backwards in an oval movement. If you manage to follow this and balanse the upper body at the same time, you have a good seat.

Make sure that your legs always are under you, and not flipping forwards, or else you will lose balance and fall into the saddle again.

Observe the horse's movement. If he stops, throws his head up, alters the rythm og anything else changes, you are blocking him. It is a very physical way to train, and a very fast way to learn.

Hope this helps, or else, we will fix it this summer, I promise.


Author:  Bryan [ Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The roles and uses of Rising and Seated Trots. Discussi

I recall starting some of this with Henrikke. I will study it up again and start work on it this week. I will try and organize a bit of video as I'm sure this will tell a more complete story. I plan to be as advanced as we can for the clinics.. I am so excited about them. So, so excited.

I fear I am alone in the way I want to ride and the approach I am taking. There are good skills and I can learn other things which I deem useful as I want to be able to ride to the task at hand and the moment I find myself in but the core seat... I feel quite alone... Sob sob... Merlin understands and tells me when I'm right and wrong!

Author:  Hanne [ Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The roles and uses of Rising and Seated Trots. Discussi

To bear a ring of power is to be alone. 8)

We are very much used to being looked upon as weirdos here at Trollspeilet. :D The reasons are many, let me list some, and I do not excuse myself if I seem a bit arrogant. I am tired of excusing myself for facts.

- We talk about things that are far too advanced for many riders. Also for many riding teachers. Many riding teachers are natural athletes, and have never been forced to change their way of moving, and thus they do not know that it is possible for struggling riders to change, and have never reflected on how. Changing and understanding movement is difficult, and sometimes very difficult to understand. It means taking time to study this topic especially, and not just study the best riders, because these riders may also have flaws.
- Many people with faulty posture and movement are reacting very energetically against change. The driver software of the body movement is controlled by our nervous system and our feelings, and it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between feelings like anger, sadness or resentfulness and the need for change in movement. This is an interesting topic that may explain some of the rather hateful reactions that we sometimes see against our methods. (And I guess these theories are even more difficult to understand, at least without deeper explanations, but I trust you graps some of the idea, being a sw programmer, or am I wrong? )
- Many of our teachings are things we have found out ourselves, in our work with horses and riders that struggle. These methods function every time, on all horses and people, at least have we not yet found anyone that does not respond well, if they really want to change and are brave enough to dare change. (Change is often very scary, ref. nervous system =control system for movement). Many people are very sceptical to anything they have not heard before, which is of course a healthy practise, but we would recommend trying things out before condemning any method.
- Many riders and riding teachers feel a bit threatened by our very theoretical explanations, and our love for questions and discussions. They may be very good teachers, but if they are not equally strong when it comes to new theories and making their own conclusions from new findings, they might turn to ridiculing instead of arguing.
- Many riders have not really the skills and the seat to collect a horse, nor ride it over the back and to the bit. Even top GP dressage riders often lack this skill. This is the reason why we see so many horses with strain injuries and so many riders struggling to activate the horse's hind legs correctly. I truly respect the difficulty in this task, which is of course the reason why we are far from starting in dressage competition ourselves, as we want this basic stuff in place first and have started from difficult positions both regarding riders and horses. Being interested in learning this, or fixing struggling riders and horses can often mean that you are regarded as a weido, or at least feel very alone.

Anyway. Training in this fashion makes you eventually able to ride the horse in the kind of knightly combat with the kind of control you like. But every rider that is not prepared to do the tedious, basic work of years on end before expecting to do advanced stuff, will end up struggling for ever and never actually reaching his goal.

Consider yourself as one of the happy few. :)


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