Rising Trot Mechanics
In the rise - your pelvis goes up and forward in a circular arc towards the horse's neck. Your knees stay on the saddle - in fact they form the center of this circle (or part of a circle that your pelvis describes).
Riding without stirrups, you really use your thighs to make the rise! As you rise - your thighs move, right? During the phase of the stride when you sit in the saddle - your knees (patellas) point more or less forward. During the rise - your thighs rotate to a more vertical place - now your patellas point more down. You may think of your thighs gripping with the lower third - to ensure you can "lift off" from there. Just make sure you let that lower third rotate while it's firmly on the saddle - pushing you up and forward. Also remember to let the angle between your torso and your thighs open (on the way up) and close (on the way down).
Yes, the horse helps by "giving you a boost" with the bounce of his trot, but it is still a lot of your muscle use.
Try this exercise:
Kneel on the floor, lower your pelvis to sit on your heels with your torso vertical. You can practice the rising trot from this position: as you slowly rise, do your best to keep your upper body lined up correctly in neutral spine. In initiating the rise, do not move your shoulders first - try to lift your upper body as one piece (shoulders above hips) with your thighs. Think of your thighs as levers and your upper body as one piece, as a box that you lever up and down.
You can put one hand on your lower back to make sure that the curve of your spine doesn't change as you rise. It's not easy but spend some time playing with different feels of this "rising".
Don't despair - often a skill learned like this, by dissection, is much more "yours" than something your body "just does"!
Want More Lesson Plans?
Attention instructors: we have built the LARGEST database of lesson plans focusing on riding skills, warm ups, games, activities, etc for all levels of riders and disciplines. Group or private lessons!
Learn more about our online and easy to use subscription to our lesson plans...