Piaffe and why one cannot use a whip to create it
The famous Nuno Oliveira in piaffe
Piaffe gets created by increasing the deceleration phase. In the breaking or deceleration phase the horse stores energy – the more I have of that the more I can release. Normal breaking happens during 45% of stride, whereas in Piaffe it is up to 80% of the stride. The smaller the forward push of the hind legs, the better piaffe because the upward push comes from front legs.
If the best piaffe comes from letting the hind feet stay on the ground longer it becomes very clear that a stimulation with the whip will create the opposite. It will stimulate the leg to leave sooner rather than stay longer.
You cannot touch the front legs either – elevation of the front leg is an elastic recall that creates the lift. Touching them with the whip will disturb that elastic recall. If you touch the front legs the horse will often bring the front legs back too far (goat on the mountain top) and again no elastic recall. Also - if there is too much weight on front legs then you can’t get elastic recall. Touching the hind legs with a whip will create a lift in the croup which in turn will overload the front legs. Many horses respond then by bringing the front legs too far back.
In the piaffe the legs need to be perfectly straight under the body – if you bring the hindlegs more under then the horse cannot use its legs like a spring. The push up from the hind leg happens when the hind leg is just a bit behind. If you make the horse piaffe with the hind leg too far under you create a functional sickle hock. As a matter of fact the hind legs in the piaffe are less under the body than they are for collected trot. Ultimately dressage is about education not to teach a trick. Using whips to teach piaffe creates a trick which then often cannot be recreated in the competition arena.
How do you create Piaffe then?
You teach more lift by more straightness – once the horse figures out how to use the back and they stay in deceleration 80% on hind leg – when they push forward they do minimally so – then the forelegs can propel with 81% upward.
Piaffe is the ultimate orchestration of the entire body.
If you teach a young horse the pinot jog – they learn how to propel the front legs upward – this takes up to 5 years and then you refine it until you reach Piaffe. Some horses offer passage first and then develop piaffe from it, some horses are not comfortable to handle the forward movement with the balance control so they do piaffe first. If they learn passage first often the piaffe is more elastic.
What is the Pinot trot?
Jean Luc has shown us Pinot trot (which he named after the guy that showed it to him first) during some of his lessons.
Pinot trot is rising trot where the rider stays very close to saddle, hands rest on neck, a slow cadence set with the body, think about keeping knees down. During that slow trot, the rider keeps pushing the horse forward, doesn't let him lean on the hand and maintains cadence until the horse starts lifting the back. This jog is also a good way to get the horse to let go of an isometric hold in the back.
To create maximum output for minimum effort: the horse needs to use its back.
The rider puts the horse at its natural cadence. The he/she filters the energy and nuances with his/her body rather than using the hands. As the rider continues to push the horse forward he keeps the small steady posting in his body. Once the horse offers longer steps it does so by lifting the back. More lift can come from a better dorsal-ventral movement of the pelvis. Both the Pinot jog and the canter encourage that pelvis movement. My own epiphany: Many movements / exercises in today's training have a kernel of truth but the true reason and background have either been lost or are just not understood biomechanically => exercises are executed mindlessly and therefore do more harm than good. Therefore it is necessary to constantly observe and evaluate if the movement creates the desired effect in the horse's body.
No, I am not done with my notes from the Science of Motion symposium yet, however one of my blog readers has asked me which books I would recommend. Let me first state that books are a great resource but also likely to be outdated if they contain studies or newer information on biomechanics. That means if you are interested in new information you are better off to find a good website that regularly updates. If you like Science of Motion, then you have found the website of course – www.scienceofmotion.com. There are several tabs that have quite current findings and studies as compiled by Jean Luc Cornille.
When it comes to books I like to separate them into two big groups:
Tips and ideas that make you a better rider
Tips and ideas that help you understand the body of the horse and specific exercises that can help you train your horse
So first my favorite for the Rider books:
Ride from Within – James Shaw
Here is a book that teaches you how to control your body better by applying Tai Chi and Chi Gong methods. The basis of everything is a very effective breathing method and James shows many exercises that can be done on the ground and in the saddle. I found them to be extremely effective. If you are a visual person, he has two DVD’s that accompany his book that I recommend. James has further developed his method, if you get a chance to experience him in person, please do. I have written about some of his ideas in earlier blogs – check the July 2015 one. James has a website - http://www.ridefromwithin.com/
Ride with your Mind Essentials – Mary Wanless
If you learn by picturing certain movements and positions this is a great book. Mary has quite a few books out, this is my personal favorite and the one I go back to when I need to refresh my ideas on teaching. Mary does hold a few clinics in the US, check out her website for more details - http://www.mary-wanless.com/
It’s not just about the Ribbons – Jane Savoie
A wonderful book to help you with the mental side of riding. As physical as riding is, your mind plays a huge role in being successful and confident on a horse. Jane points out some great strategies to achieve that. Her website is - http://www.janesavoie.com/
And now the about the Horse books:
Biomechanics and Physical Training of the Horse – Jean-Marie Denoix
Mr. Denoix holds a PhD in veterinary medicine and is a specialist in equine locomotion. If you want some very current information on how horses move, what happens in their body when their hooves impact the ground, then you will find this book quite enlightening. There are many illustrations that help you understand the matter. With your updated knowledge, you will also find why it is best to avoid some exercises and which ones the horse can benefit most from. It certainly can help improve your training. Here is his website - http://www.iamanequineveterinarian.com/dr-jean-marie-denoix/
Tug of War: Classical versus “Modern” Dressage – Dr. Gerd Heuschmann
One of the earlier books that questions current training methods and gives great biomechanical insights into the movement of the horse. Especially the information on the back, where to position the neck, how the reins and bit can have an unintended effect is important and well presented. Dr. Heuschmann since has published a second book “Balancing Act”. Another good book. If you only want to buy one, get “Tug of War”. Dr. Heuschmann’s website is - http://www.gerdheuschmann.com/. Currently it seems to be only in German. I know he did have an English version.
Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage – Philippe Karl
Philippe Karl studied at the Cadre Noir (incidentally so did Jean Luc Cornille) and this book questions many “tried and true” training methods. He does make it very clear why he does not like some methods, how they can be detrimental to the horse and how our understanding of dressage has changed in the last 50 or so years. An interesting read, certainly eye opening - http://www.philippe-karl.com/
Classical Schooling with the Horse in Mind – Anja Beran
I had the great pleasure to meet Anja at one of her annual performances at Circus Krone in Munich. She certainly embodies the idea of lightness and correct riding with the horse in mind. This book takes you in logical progression from selecting a horse, through all training stages to Grand Prix movements. Well written and with many useful illustrations. Anja mostly trains out of her facility in Germany (good excuse for a trip) - http://www.anja-beran.com/
Falling for Fallacies – Jean-Claude Racinet
A very interesting book that questions many statements that are made day in and out by riding instructors across the globe. Mr. Racinet starts with the statement and then shows you why the reality might be quite different from common beliefs. Mr. Racinet passed away in 2009.
How your horse moves – Gillian Higgins
Gillian paints horses – specifically she paints muscles and bones onto the horse and then shows you how everything moves. A wonderful book to get a better idea of the placement of bones and muscles. If you wish to see it in motion – she has a great DVD as well - http://www.horsesinsideout.com
Today I want to continue with more information from the symposium. Jean Luc wanted to clearly show us the incredible complexity of the horse’s body and allow us to think beyond the outside of the horse. Again, all images in this blog were found on Google Images.
What is a functional straight hock? With a functional straight hock the horse impacts too early on hind leg. This results in the lower part of the leg not moving in conjunction with the upper joints. If a horse goes faster than its personal tempo (i.e. ridden too much forward) – then the speed causes them to stiffen their back which decreases movement in the lumbar / pelvis area and impedes the dorsal ventral movement – see picture below. A stiff back does not allow the pelvis to move the way it should and thus the hind leg impacts too soon. Therefore, riding too forward can do much more damage than good.
Why, do you ask, do they often look better then at a higher speed? The stiffer back causes the limbs to move with more extravagance which can appear flashier. But as you are finding out at potentially great cost. Often the early impact of hind leg is caused by front legs being overloaded. If the front legs are overloaded (e.g. by riding the neck too low) then they cannot leave soon enough and effectively are in the way of the hind leg. Hyaluronic Acid Once damage has been done in joints they often get injected with hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid has shown some excellent results. However, if used as “maintenance” and repeatedly it has shown to encourage the development of fibers inside the synovial fluid which makes it less effective. The best answer is to correct the movement of the joint to avoid further damage.
The horse can lock its patella for resting. Deliberate locking of the patella locks all the joints below it. If the stifle extends too far then the patella will lock by accident. A horse can avoid the accidental lock.
Better movement in horse comes from better movement in the pelvis. The dangers of asking for more “step-under” If I ask for more engagement of the hind leg and ask for it via spur, whip, or my leg then I can create an abnormal movement. For example, if the horse steps more under without matching movement in the pelvis then an over rotation in the hip occurs, which in turn rotates the femur wrong. The following extension of the leg behind the horse is often beyond 145 degrees and causes the patella to lock. The horse will respond quickly and avoid the accidental lock however damage to the stifle will occur. In addition, artificially created “engagement” of the hind legs without the proper movement in the pelvis causes stress on the SI joint.
Canter can help The best gait to create move movement in the lumbar/pelvis area is the canter as it creates the dorsal-ventral flexion by itself. This would explain why many horses feel more “springy” at the trot after they have cantered.
The ligaments around the joints are designed to absorb the impact and they are attached in different ways to allow for force from different directions.
Looking at the front foot you can see a great number of various ligaments.
The bone structure also plays a role.
The Navicular Bone The navicular bone is there to make sure that coffin bone is always at the same angle. The wrong angle will cause damage. When you have a navicular problem you might have two issues:
How is the hoof shaped – your farrier can help
Too much weight coming on forehand
Another problem caused by constant over loading of the front legs is ring bone.
Ring bone is basically arthritis in the pastern joint or coffin joint. The arthritis has caused a bony structure in the joint and is quite painful for the horse.
What causes joint damage? The cause of any joint damage is usually abnormal kinematics. Abnormal kinematics can happen through overloading, stimulation of the limb (e.g. via whip), stiff back, wrong movement of the back or poorly designed exercises that cause wrong movement in the horse. As mentioned before over loading the front legs can happen in various ways:
Bringing the neck too low
Horse pushing / leaning on the bit
Horse travelling with a stiff back
With your new-found knowledge, you can now make some adjustments in your riding and training. Next time you are thinking about simply riding more forward to fix an issue, take a moment to think what might cause it and find a better solution. In my next blog, we will look at specific movements and typical problems and how to fix them.
On February 18 and 19, 2017 Jean Luc Cornille of Science of Motion held his second annual symposium in Colorado. I will share some of my notes and thoughts from the symposium in a series of blogs. Jean Luc Cornille has developed Science of Motion over the course of well over 30 years. Trained by the Cadre Noir and showing internationally in three day eventing, he soon realized that many ideas that we held to be true have been proven false by modern science. I met Jean Luc a few years ago, and it has been an eye-opening journey. Many theories that I had learned over the years on biomechanics of the horse and on how to train and ride have been overturned by this new knowledge. While Jean Luc is the first guy to tell you to respect tradition, we also need to face new facts and studies. The development of new technology, slow motion video, ultra sound, bone scans, motion studies have shown us, that many theories are obsolete and we need to update our training accordingly. Often things will look a certain way on the outside and move or work completely different on the inside. Jean Luc’s goal is to educate and show us a better way of riding. I have learned that many injuries in horses are repetitive motion injuries. If a horse moves in wrong alignment, in the wrong balance, with tight muscles then an injury cannot be avoided in the long run. While it is important to use all means necessary to treat the injury, ultimately only correct movement can facilitate healing and prevent re-injury. Therefore, I had to let go of many training theories and exercises as the scientific evidence clearly shows that they are likely to cause injury. I must apologize to all the horses I have ridden and trained without this advanced knowledge. Jean Luc’s goal this year was to show us first the incredible complexity of the hind leg of the horse. He had a wonderful video of the skeleton of a hind leg. All the joints have been fitted with magnets so Jean Luc can move them in any direction and show us which movements are possible and which ones will cause damage. Let’s start with an overview of the hind leg. All images in this blog were found on Google Images.
And here are the major joints – this drawing compares the front and the hind leg.
Typically, in the hock you have extension and contraction but also rotation. Everything must work in perfect synchronization to avoid doing damage. The hock has 4 joints – if there is abnormal movement it will rotate the splint bone, which can cause suspensory problems. A hind leg suspensory problem is a kinematic abnormality – which means the hind leg moves incorrectly. In contrast, suspensory problems in the fore legs are normally caused by overloading them. In the hind leg, we basically have an unnatural movement of the bone which in turn causes these problems.
The splint bones are big to stabilize the fetlock and handle stress. Why is the fetlock relatively small? To allow for speed. The horse has been designed to minimize weight in legs to increase speed. The splint bone is basically a secondary system to support the fetlock.
The sesamoid bone keeps the tendon at a small distance from the bone which allows for more movement. When foot hits the ground the energy does not go all into the ground. Within stride the following happens:
For the first 0% -20% of the stride energy goes down
For the next 20% - 45% the energy goes up
For the next 45% - 60% of the stride it is a mix of downward and upward force
For the next 60% - 90% there is upward force
And finally, on 90% - 100% we have the break-over
During the movement, the hock will rotate by a certain amount and that in turn also rotates the fetlock. If the rotation does not happen correctly it will create a shearing force within the hock, specifically between MT3 and T3. When the hind legs impact the two upper joints in the leg move together and the two lower joints also move together.
For the last few months I have been riding a very sweet young Andalusian mare. One of the things she has taught me is to ride with a much looser leg.
Why would you want to do that and won’t it create less balance you are asking? I am not talking about keeping my leg completely off, but rather keeping the whole leg soft and draped along the horse. The advantage is that I can feel her much better. I can feel if she gets tight on her sides, if she hollows under my inside leg in the turn, how her body moves. She in turn moves much more freely and relaxed, the softer I can keep my legs. It allows me to keep them more quiet as well. The more tension there is, the more my lower leg will bounce around. What about balance? Actually I think it creates better balance in your seat since your body weight works much more efficiently that way. Every time you grip anywhere with your leg – be it your upper thigh, your knee or your calf – you literally push yourself out of the saddle and away from your horse. Keeping deeper in the saddle also gives you much better feedback if you start to lean a little to the left or right and you will be able to correct it quickly and with minor effort.
No, it is not easy and if you own a big moving horse you might find it very difficult, especially in the trot. By the way I do this in the sitting trot, I think in posting trot some more contact with the leg will be hard to avoid. Try it in the walk and if you feel safe in the canter. If you have not read my blog about breathing – do so, you will find it essential to allow for those looser legs. Then start enjoying a more relaxed horse and a more relaxed you. Let me know how it goes J
If you have read my last blog you should have a better idea on transversal rotation of your horse’s spine. Look again at Mr. Denoix's picture in the last blog.
What if there was an easy way to ensure correct rotation and bending? What if you did not need to use an outside rein or outside leg to “fix” falling out of the circle ever again?
Let me show you First of all you need to become aware of your seat bones. To do this start with
Breathe in – breathe out (see my earlier blog). If your body is not relaxed those seat bones are hard to find
Imagine your seat bones as two pieces of fruit. That sounds silly but it does engage your right brain and voila – you found them.
Let’s say you ride around on two very pretty peaches. Focus on your inside peach only. As your horse pushes off with his/her inside hind leg you should feel your inside peach getting lifted. Take your time to feel this.
Following the lift of your inside peach, you will next feel a drop. That is the moment your horse’s inside hind leg is in the air and reaching forward under his/her body. Again take your time to feel this. You might need to engage a friend’s help from the ground to make sure you feel it correctly.
Once you can feel the drop consistently – tell yourself the word “drop”, “drop”, “drop”.
Now let’s try to ride a left 10 meter circle – simply turn your sternum to the left, to the inside of your circle in rhythm with the “drop”, “drop”, “drop”
Enjoy a perfectly ridden circle – with no drifting, no need for rein aids, outside leg aids etc.
Did it work? Great.
Try again. You should be able to turn from a straight line onto a circle simply by rotating your upper body and perfect timing on your dropping seat bone.
It did not work? Ok – trouble shoot
Are you certain you have the timing right and your seat bone is dropping – again ask a friend to watch your horse and tell you when the inside hind leg leaves the ground. When the inside hind leg is in the air – that is the moment you should feel the drop
Are you rotating your upper body and pointing your sternum to the inside of the circle without leaning? Your spine should stay perpendicular to the ground
Does your body rotate one way but not so much the other? (just like your horse – hmmmm)
Are you blocked somewhere in your body – are you still following the breathing pattern with breathing out the extra step?
Is your horse falling in? Try to not let your inside seat bone drop quite as much and check your rotation in your upper body.
Does this work at all gaits? Of course
It is easiest to discover it in the walk.
In the trot – if you sit the trot you once again should be able to feel your seat bones and the drop.
If you post the trot – rotate your body into the circle the moment you sit in the saddle.
In the canter – your seat bone drops when both hind legs come under the horse.
Now go out there and ride your horse. Let me know how you like your circles.
Have you ever found yourself in the following situation(s)?
Going one direction your horse and you feel in sync – going the other way it is rough
Changing direction for example in a figure 8 – goes smoothly one way and almost does not happen the other way
Your horse falls in, in , in on the circle
Your horse drifts out, out , out on the circle
You feel like you are sitting completely on the outside of the circle and the turn is almost impossible
And of course you have been told how to "fix" it:
Sit to the inside
Step into your inside stirrup
Just bend the horse better
How has all of that worked for you? Exactly :-)
To understand why a horse will or will not bend we first have to review the biomechanics a bit.
First of all – let go of this picture
The horse does not bend evenly throughout his/her spine on the circle – it is biomechanically not possible.
There is only very little bend possible in the thoracic area – between about T9 and T14 – conveniently located between your upper thighs. There are studies that show this clearly. A quite extensive one was done by Jean Marie Denoix in 1999. Except in the thoracic area there is really no bend, just rotation.
Lateral bending is always coupled with transversal rotation. One rotation is correct, while the other one is incorrect.
What is transversal rotation you ask?
Look at a vertebrae
What is shown as 1 is called the Spinous process, 2 are the transverse processes.
Now let’s looks at the whole back
As you can see the spinous processes are varied in height - they are highest in the wither area, much shorter towards the pelvis and tail.
When a horse bends correctly the rotation happens throughout the spine in such a way that the spinous processes rotate inwards. In other words - imagine those processes like dragon spikes. When you bend your "dragon" to the left - those spikes should fall to the left, when you bend to the right, they turn to the right.
Here is a picture from Mr. Denoix that shows the ever increasing angle of rotation as we are getting closer to the front end of the horse.
If your horse is in correct rotation - your circle and your turns feels easy, perfect, flowing. If you horse is incorrectly rotated you feel like you are sitting to the outside or higher with your inside hip, lower on the outside etc. No it is not your saddle, nor will changing your stirrup length (on one side) help - the only fix it to ride correctly.
The good, the bad ,and the ugly
The good: I have a fix for you The bad: It will take time and patience The ugly: If you don't fix it you risk permanent damage to your horse - kissing spine is often a result of incorrect rotation
So how do we fix it?
First of all determine if you have trouble one way or the other. Most horses have a preferential rotation one way and they will choose to rotate that way no matter which direction they go.
Have you have determined the side they do not wish to rotate towards? If it is the right side, go on a circle to the left, the easy one.
Gradually change the bend and flexion in your horse from the inside to the outside, while still on the left circle. Take your time, be careful to not have too strong a contact, keep the poll open (a whole other blog will come soon on this) and feel with your seat.
Did your horse gradually shift you from sitting on the left side to feeling much more centered possibly even slightly to the right? Great - as soon as you feel that - go on a circle to the right.
It will feel great for the first few steps and then whoops you are sitting on the outside again. No problem - go back to the left circle and start all over - take your time, please.
As soon as you feel it - go to the right again. It is possible that your horse holds it for a few steps but then he/she will likely return to preferred rotation, which in our case is left.
Just keep at it. Your horse has the preconceived notion that it can only rotate to the left and it is your job to show through gentle movement therapy that a different way of moving is possible. If you try to do this with force your horse will brace immediately against it and all is for naught.
Allowing your horse to explore a different way to move and coordinate its body takes time and patience.
Breathe in, breathe out - sounds so easy and yes, you know how to do it. If you did not, you wouldn't be alive. However there is a twist to this - and this twist is a very powerful one.
When you look at the size and the power of the horse it is clear that we cannot overpower them. They simply are bigger, stronger and faster. Plenty of riders and tack manufactures have of course tried to come up with tools that give you that extra power. Some of those gadgets are even effective. But they are normally effective in a way that is detrimental to the fundamental movement of the horse. Therefore, if used extensively they will cause injury and lameness. Many gadgets will teach the horse to move in an unnatural way and once learned, it will keep moving like this even without the gadget. The end result? A horse who's health and natural movement have been severely disturbed often to the point of crippling it.
So how can the simple act of breathing give you power? According to James, "You borrow the power of the horse and re-direct it."
How can we do that? By breathing out an extra step. Very simple, and yet incredibly effective.
James tells you to "Breathe in like you smell a flower, then breathe out as if blowing into a flute." Now you count steps at the walk - and find a breathing rhythm that is easy for you. For most of my clients it is 4 steps in, 5 steps out, or 5 steps in, 6 steps out. If you wish to change to a longer sequence it works best to increase on breathing out. So if you want to go from 4 in - 5 out to 5 in - 6 out you would breathe 4 in, 6 out and then 5 in on the next cycle. Voila you are at 5 in - 6 out. Breathing this way connects you to your body and makes you much more interesting to your horse. If you are sitting on a nervous horse (aka powder keg) - increase the cycle and you will find that the horse will start to relax, listen to your body and your breath. I experienced that first hand at my clinic with James and it worked extremely well.
It is also important to let your breath sink deep into your body. As you are riding, focus on how deep your breath reaches: Just to the middle of your rib cage, the bottom of your rib cage, your belly button, into your pelvis? Most of us don't breathe very deep and if asked to breathe deeper we try to push the breath down with our diaphragm. Guess what - that does not work well and your breath will become shallow quickly again. Instead on your last step of breathing out, pull in your belly button and then let it go as you begin to inhale. You just created a mini vacuum in your belly and it let's your breath sink deeper into your body. You can also increase the cycle length. I sometime can go to 7 in and 8 out on Matcho.
After playing for a while with this kind of breathing it became clear that there is a connection in your body between breathing and overall tension. James solved the puzzle for me: Biomechanically, when your body gets tense because you are nervous or scared when riding, your fascia tightens. Your fascia is connective tissue that covers your whole body. There are different kinds of fascia. Imagine the superficial one like a sheet that is directly under your skin. Below is a picture that illustrates the superficial fascia. This one shows a running man. The fascia can feel and react, it is one of our largest sensory organs. But the fascia does not talk to your brain. So in other words you can't tell it to relax. But your fascia will talk to your diaphragm and guess what - deep breathing with your extra breath out will relax your fascia. So next time your horse is overly excited focus on your breath, focus on your body and invite the horse to become relaxed with you.
The breathing that I described above works also at the trot and the canter. I tend to just count in the trot and canter at the same speed that I used in the walk, rather than trying to count my horse's steps. I also found that as we go faster I often have a shorter cycle, in other words I will go to 4 in - 5 out, whereas I am often at 6 in and 7 out at the walk.
I hope you will get a chance to try this the next time you ride your horse. Prepare to be amazed.
I had the pleasure to meet James Shaw for the first time at the Horse Expo in Denver this spring. Watching him work with riders and horses it struck me how quickly the horses would change once a change happened in the rider. I decided that I really wanted to learn more and invited James to conduct a three day clinic at my home barn in Black Forest. We had a great group of six riders and four auditors and came away with many new insights. My plan is to share some of those in the next few weeks as they are still fresh in my mind.
How about a different and better way to post? Most of us have learned to rise by rolling our thighs and femur inward and get a rather solid connection knee through upper thigh in that phase. As we come back in the saddle we reverse that rotation. "Piece of cake", you say and "Yes, once I have learned that, I always did it like that." Well guess what, the opposite works better.
So that means you try to rotate your femur and upper thigh outward on the rise, and inward on the sit. Why? With the outward rotation you begin to lift your pelvis - makes a lot of sense since you are trying to rise out of the saddle. But more importantly with the inward rotation in the downward phase you can control your seat as you get back into the saddle. Since the horse has some lift during the trot the saddle moves towards you as you are sitting down but still most people (me included) really cannot control the last 5 to 10% of that phase if the femur rolls out. Now try to opposite - roll out for up and roll in for down - and yes, you can control the very last phase of getting back into the saddle.
Why is that important? If you cannot control it, you literally fall into your horses back every time you sit down - and that is just not comfortable for your horse. Through this lack of control you also rock the saddle forward and backward - even a well fitting saddle.
Another advantage of the new way of posting: You will rise and sit much straighter. Many riders (especially women) tend to stick their behind out in the sit phase. My students know what I call it - the "duck butt". This tends to shift your center of gravity quite a bit forward and backward which makes it difficult for your horse to give you a regular and balanced trot.
So give the new way a try. It will feel awkward at first but once you get used to it, you and your horse will enjoy the posting trot much more.