From Endurance to Dressage
If you're looking for help with your sitting trot, you won't find it here. Sorry. How is it that sitting can be so difficult? I mean really, we're all experts at sitting on our butts. We do it all day long!
When I decided that my time at First Level was rapidly drawing to a close, I started working on my sitting trot for real. That meant I actually looked at my watch and started timing the length of time I could keep my butt in the tack without switching to a rising trot.
Some days, I can sit for 5 to 10 minutes, but then I get frustrated and move on to "real work." I have discovered a few things that help though. 1) I sit better in the afternoons when I've been walking for hours. 2) I sit better in the mornings if I do some stretches first. 3) I sit better when I am focused on a specific movement like shoulder in or leg yielding.
It was pretty hot when I rode Speedy on Tuesday. My arena has some really large trees that will throw great shade in the early evening, but I ride a bit too early for it. Instead, I get a couple of areas that shade maybe a 15-meter circle. I decided that sitting trot in the shade was the focus for the day.
I am happy to report that I rode for 23 minutes and didn't post once! We spent the time working on Speedy's collected trot, shoulder in, turns on the haunches, and walk to canter to walk. And you know what? My sitting trot is getting better!
I can sit the trot when the work is slow or collected. I am even finding that we do some movements better when I am sitting, like the leg yield. The real hurdle is figuring out how to sit Speedy's lengthened trot. Since Speedy is smaller than most dressage horses, there's less "hang time" from one stride to the next. This means my pelvis needs to move much quickly than it would on a larger moving horse.
My Second Level debut is in 10 weeks. It might be a bit ugly, but we're going for it!
It is one of the hardest things to do,( other than sitting the canter on an unbalanced horse) especially riding dressage. Not a problem for the western pleasure jog. I learned to go back and forth with the seat bones. One seat bone forward then the other and repeat in rhythm with the horses stride. However it is still not easy and does take some suppleness and stamina. Best of luck.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: