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Sitting Trot: Part II

This article has appeared previously with EQ Life. To see what is in our latest issue, please click here.



Limelight and I in 2012's 4 year old class at DWTS.

© Derek O'Leary


Dr Kerry Mack

I have been very privileged to have had some great trainers. At lthe 2012 Equitana I was lucky enough to have help from Kyra Kyrkland and her partner Richard White. I have to admit they didn’t choose me because I looked good. A group of us were riding around trying out for the masterclass. I was riding my 5yo homebred whisper gelding, Limelight. He is a very big fellow, over 17.2hh with big movement, especially the trot. Eventually I bit the bullet and sat to it, knowing I had real problems sitting on his elastic back.
Richard and Kyra watched me, looking bemused for a while, then Richard came up to me and asked would I like help to learn to sit to the trot. Of course I was embarrassed that as a CDI Grand Prix rider, riding at Equitana in the Grand Final I needed help to learn to sit to the trot, but I accepted gratefully. So on to the mini masterclass and there is Kyra riding in front of me and there am I trying to sit trot. Richard was talking about Kyra saying, look at this and that, all the good things you look for. He didn’t have to say “now look at Kerry”. Of course that’s what people did. And could see all the wrong things. Oh well, no pain no gain.


Special guest for Equitana Kyra Kyrklund had a big crowd for her Specialist Dressage Clinic

Kyra Kyrkland.

© Michelle Terlato Photography


Let me tell you what they got me to do. Imagine your body as two blocks. The bottom block is hips to above your waist, the top block shoulders and chest down. The bottom block must remain mobile. It must balance on the horses back lightly and move evenly up and down as the back moves up and down. Remember the hands stay still in relation to the horse’s mouth. The seat bones stay still in relation to the horses back.
But then the top block (shoulders and chest) press down onto the mobile bottom block as if the top block is heavy. Try to position the top block just a little behind the bottom block. The bottom block comes up and down. The pelvis is soft and supple. The legs hang down softly. Kyra and Richard don’t want you to stretch the legs down too much, rather allow the big muscles under your thigh to act a bit like a cushion attached to the seat bones. Now this is actually not as hard as it sounds when you are on the horse.
The most important things are the two blocks, bottom one - mobile and attached to the back and the top one - pressing down onto it, allowing gravity to pull it down. Try it out yourself, but try to keep the correct diagonal in your mind (see last week’s blog). Another tip courtesy of Ulla Salzgeber, top German team member, don’t be afraid to use a monkey grip!! Much better to hook your fingers in the monkey grip than balance on the reins/your horse’s mouth.
I always ask professional riders for a book recommendation. Richard's was “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell. This is a very interesting examination of what correlates with outstanding success. One of the most consistent findings was 10,000 hours practise is needed to become an expert and achieve excellence.
So get to it and have fun!
This article has appeared previously with EQ Life. To see what is in our latest issue, please click here.





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