Have you ever sat down (no pun intended) and thought about how correct your rising or posting in trot actually is?
Rising or posting in trot is one of the first aspects we learn when starting out riding a horse… We happily spend hours trotting around the arena or along trail, up down, up down, up down, without ever stopping to consider if the movement we are performing is helping or hindering our horse, or our own performance as a rider.
Trot is a two time beat, 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2. This 1 2 is caused when the pairs of diagonal legs move together underneath you; off fore with near hind (creating the 1) and then near fore with off hind (creating the 2).
Rising trot is used in many different aspects of riding; warming up, trotting long distances for comfort, schooling in the arena, lower level dressage, influencing your horses tempo in the trot. It really is a versatile and well used skill when riding and of course, when we are rising or posting in trot we are not sitting in the trot, which can become bouncy and often uncomfortable after a while.
When are posting in trot, we will ‘sit’ for the 1 and ‘rise’ for the 2, or vice versa. However, when we are thought rising trot early in our riding education the words down and up are often used instead of rise or sit.
Because the words Up and Down are used… Most people do just that, which is not technically correct.
Next time you are at the barn, watch a few riders trotting… Notice the different styles of posting in trot and also, the differences between these styles.
Those that look stiff, unbalanced, falling back in the saddle are often doing an up and down movement.
Their legs will straighten, they will thrust their whole body ‘up and forward’ often lifting from the shoulders and pulling themselves up, rather that using the horses momentum and their legs to ‘push’ them up.
The usual outcome for this type of a ‘rise’ or post is lack of balance and inability to use your body to affect the ‘down’ or return to the saddle. The rider will get slightly left behind and fall back into the saddle, which is bad enough in itself, but the problem is worsened due to the fact that they fell backwards, much too close to the cantle or back of the saddle, which is uncomfortable for your horse and bad for your saddle.
Another downside of actually standing up and down is the fact that your whole body moves with each rise or post. As we all know, trotting requires you to keep your hands and upper body nice and still while riding…
Standing straight up makes this pretty much impossible, and using your shoulders and upper body to ‘pull’ yourself up, whether with or without the use of your reins, requires quite a bit of movement!
The result is ‘bouncy and jerky hands in the trot, which negatively impact on your horses way of going due to the jarring effect on his mouth and lack of consistent contact through the reins.
Instead of thinking up and down, rather think forward and back…
Imagine moving your pelvis, and only your pelvis, in a forward and diagonally upward direction. This movement will happen in perfect co-ordination with your horse, because you will use the energy of your horse to help lift yourself ‘up and down’, rather than having to pull yourself.
This will allow your lower leg to remain in position, underneath you and supporting you as you ‘rise’ and it also lessens the movement in your upper body. These two factors are huge for not only your ability as a rider to continue providing a consistent ‘conversation’ with your horse, but also your horses comfort levels.
Being secure in your position is essential to being able to ride with independent aids and queues… This softer rise or post to the trot allows you to use your body in other ways to ask different questions of your horse.
Once this ‘rocking’ motion is perfected, you can then begin to use your posting or rising to make changes to your horses tempo in the trot… If he is running on a little, you can re-balance the situation by slowing your rise slightly… Same applies if he is trotting in a less than energetic fashion, however this requires a host of supporting aids as well.
There is a full week of audio horse riding lessons on this topic inside of Daily Strides Premium. They are focused on improving your technique to rising or posting to the trot. We work on the straight, work on circles and also go through exercises for the transitions into and out of the trot. You can find out more about Daily Strides Premium HERE >>
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