Readers Write: Posting Trot

Riding Questions

?Practical Horseman. All Rights Reserved.

“I recently got myself an english tack set, and when I first sat in it, I felt like there was nothing there. I used to ride dressage, but I switched to western. Now when I try to post it doesnt feel right, like if she steps a certain way I fall over onto her neck. I can ride in the saddle just fine, now, because I got used to the feel again. I can sit her trot pretty good, western riding is big on that. I just don’t feel balanced in my posting. Are there any exercises or something I can do to get better?”– Kitten Jane

“Try posting without stirrups. It’s pretty much a cure-all (and a great workout, too).” — Silver Model

“First of make sure that you have a definate angle in your knee. Some people riding dressage think that their stirrups have to be long and they find it hard to post. Could be the same with western. One good way is to have someone longe you and you count one-two with the rising on two. While you need to, watch the outside leg or have your ground person tell you and have him/her count. That should help you find the 2 beat in the trot. ” — P Fontaine

“In modern riding if you post it means you are pulling yourself up out of the saddle using the horses face to balance yourself and that is very wrong. The term rising trot would be the appropriate term unless you are pulling yourself up and using the reins for balance (for the horses sake I hope that is not the case). If your heels are aligned with your hip and shoulders (plumbline) then your rising should not feel strange at all. As long as your body is in a balance position you should rise and then lower yourself back into the saddle by bending your knee thus stabilizing the lower leg. You may have picked up some bad habits in your western saddle because most western saddles are very ill-built and put the rider in a very bad position to affectively influence a horse. The seat on most western saddles has what is called a dish in the seat that puts the rider behind the motion of the horse and to further make things worse the stirrups are slung way too far forward which puts the rider into an almost reclined position making it impossible to effectivley move with the horse and influence it’s movement. As for your problem with rising trot, make sure your position is correct, your knees are bending and most of all make sure your elbows are opening and closing with your hip. If you elbows are not in the same motion as you hip then you are actually posting and that is reason to feel sorry for your horses face. Also when you rise, you should never flop back into the saddle, your butt should just barely kiss the saddle, if your butt flops or smacks the saddle then you should also feel sorry for your horses back. ” — TB Gifted

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