Psst! Have I ever told you that I can’t sit the trot? Bounce the trot, yes. Actually sit it? No way. Not happening. Awful, huh? All these years of riding and all I’m capable of is bouncing.

bounce…bounce…bounce…like Tigger!

I love Tigger and his bouncy enthusiasm. However, his over enthusiastic bouncing has led to a few mishaps. Remember how Eeyore fell into the river? Well, with that in mind I need to learn how to turn down the bounce while trying to do a sitting trot. Either that or I’m going to end up bouncing into a mishap of my very own making.

It tends to go a little like this…
I start in posting trot with my horse in a nice frame. Then I’m asked to sit a few strides and switch back to posting if I start to bounce. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be pretty.

“Okay, here goes.” I inhale deeply, then exhale.

posting…posting…sitting…kinda sitting…

“SIT! Sit into her!” That doesn’t help.

bounce…bounce…ARRGH!…posting…posting…

Several attempts later and my internal dialog now contains the words  “can’t sit.” My frustration level has ratcheted to the boiling point and that means tears are on the horizon. Hey, I’m a perfectionist remember? Oh, and I’m definitely developing a sitting trot complex here. Forget all about my fear of cantering or my arch nemesis the 20 meter circle. There’s a new kid on the block and it’s named The Ever Elusive Sitting Trot!

Speaking of the canter, it didn’t go well either. It probably had something to do with that saying “You can’t have a good canter without a good trot.” Yeah.  Anyway, the root of this particular evil was my inside leg. It kept gripping and gripping, while she leaned and leaned some more. I know. I know. I should’ve relaxed my inside leg and applied a real half-halt to get her to stand up in that outside rein. The value of hindsight, huh?

And so the torture began
Walking on a loose rein, I dropped my stirrups and turned my heels out. No, I mean way out. More! Better. Now using only my seat, I asked for the halt. Okay, correct that. I attempted to ask for a halt. Many times. Oh, and in a frame no less. Heels out! Success level? So-so. Facial expressions? Many.

Eventually, I was allowed to pick up my stirrups and the contact and try the exercise in posting trot and canter. Heels out! I noticed that this position brought my knees into contact with the saddle and narrowed the space I was allowing the horse to move within. No fetal, gripping inside leg either.

You try gripping with your heels turned out.

I dare you.

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