I understand that the trot may be difficult to master at first, but once you get rhythm and balance down it is much easier to ride the trot posting than it is sitting, for both rider and horse. To the experienced rider the posting trot is easy and second nature. With these tips I will cover, you will be well on your way to mastering the posting trot. You may not improve instantly but be happy with each bit of progress you make and eventually you will get there.
TIP 1# KEEP YOUR STIRRUPS BY THE GIRTH
By doing this your feet are under your body, not to far forward or too far back and it will put your upper body in a balanced position. If your feet come in front of the girth, this will cause your upper body to slump back and you will be behind the motion of the trot. If your feet slide behind the girth you will be perched forward on your crotch, leaning too far forward and you will be ahead of the motion. A tip to help your feet stay by the girth is to make sure your toes are under your knees.
TIP 2# DON’T STAND IN THE STIRRUPS TO POST
When you push against the stirrups to post, your legs swing around, you unbalance yourself, you might kick the horse, you may slam back down into the saddle, not to mention it’s tiring. Instead let the horse’s bounce do most of the lifting, with your calves lightly against the horse’s sides, use your thighs to help bring your hips up and forward and then lightly back down into the saddle.
TIP 3# KEEP YOUR HIPS, KNEES AND ANKLES RELAXED AND SPRINGY
These three joints are what absorb the motion in the trot. If you start to tense up in your hips, knees and/or ankles, it is going to make the trot seem bouncier and you may feel less balanced. So imagine these joints as being bendy, relaxed shock absorbers.
TIP 4# STANDING EXERCISE. CONSISTENT CORRECT LOWER LEG POSITION WILL MAKE A WORLD OF A DIFFERENCE
You want to start out doing this exercise at the halt or walk if you feel confident.
- Just gather your reins and grab some mane or breastplate or neck strap and stand up.
- Now move your feet far forward and far back. Make sure you do this slowly. Keep doing this back and forth until you find a leg position in the middle where you feel the most balanced.
- Remember to relax your hips, knees and ankles keeping them springy and relax. Let your heels naturally sink down, not forced down or braced.
- Once you ride around for a bit standing with your legs in this new balanced position, sink back down into the saddle keeping your feet and lower leg in the same position as when you were standing.
- Walk a few steps sitting then rise back up to standing without moving your lower legs out of position. If you happen to lose that balanced leg position, repeat the process to find it again.
- Then practice this a few steps standing and few steps sitting, keeping your lower leg stable in the balanced leg position.
You can especially feel a difference at the trot. The more you do this exercise the more secure and balanced you will start to feel. Once you master this exercise at the walk try it at the trot.
TIP 5# TO HELP YOUR HANDS STAY STEADY KEEP THEM DOWN AS YOU RISE.
Often beginner riders are stiff in their arms, and sometimes their hands out right flail all over the place. To counteract this think of your elbows as a hinge opening and closing as you rise and sink back down. As you rise your hands stay down and your elbows open and as you sink down your elbows close. I know this used to be a problem or me… my elbows would be stiff and my hands would rise and fall with my posting. This image I presented to you really helped me change that.
TIP 6# FOR GETTING THE CORRECT POSTING DIAGONAL
First off do you know what I mean by diagonals? It is a pair of the horses legs diagonal from each other… a front and a back leg. There are 2 diagonal pairs because the horse has four legs. Who would have guessed.
Do you know which diagonal pair you are supposed to rise with as they come forward? It is always the the outside front and inside hind you want to rise with.
What do I mean by inside and outside? Think of a turn, a circle or the riding arena. The inside is closer to the middle of the circle or the area or inside the turn. The outside is closer to the of the outside of the circle, arena, or turn. The side closer to the wall or fence in the arena.
So eventually you can learn to feel if you are on the correct diagonal but that takes much practice. Now you don’t want to stare down at the horses feet because this can put you off balance, instead keeping your head up glance down at the horses outside shoulder and AS THE SHOULDER COMES FORWARD RISE WITH IT. This way you keep your head balanced over your shoulders and make sure you keep paying attention to your surroundings and where you are asking your horse to go.
TIP 7# EXERCISE TO IMPROVE THE RHYTHM IN THE POSTING TROT
The trot is naturally a 2 beat gait and getting in sync with the rhythm will really improve the quality of your posting trot. However the exercise I have here is 3 beats and it is harder than posting 2 beats. So once you get the hang of the exercise and go back to posting in a 2 beat rhythm it will feel that much easier.
I call this exercise Double Down. All you have to do is sit for two beats and rise for one. Count 1-2-3. For 1-2 sit and then 3 rise, then 1-2 sit and 3 rise. Or think sit-sit-rise, sit-sit-rise. Keep it up until you can do this in balance and keep the rhythm steady. Then go back to 1 rise and 2 sit… 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 or rise-sit, rise-sit.
I hope these tips are useful for you.
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW OTHER TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED OR HEARD OF TO HELP OTHER EQUESTRIAN NEWBS WHO WISH TO MASTER THE POSTING TROT.
Cheers and God Bless