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Perfecting your sitting trot

A sitting trot is probably one of the things a lot of riders dread the most. From my experience sitting trot is not always taught very well and hence many riders struggle with it. Here is how to finally feel comfortable in a sitting trot.

Start at walk

‘What? I thought we were going to work on a sitting trot!’ Bear with me 🙂 Firstly you need to check that you can feel your seat bones moving independently in the saddle. Try feeling how your horse moves your left and right seat bone one at the time in walk. Allow your hips to follow that movement – it should feel like your hips are walking with your horse. You should feel as one hip rises and the other one dips down. The key is that you allow your hips to ‘dance’ while your upper body is pretty still. For many riders it helps to take away their stirrups as they can feel the movement better that way – experiment to see what works best for you.

Start with small amounts of sitting trot

Now you know how your hips need to move with the horse’s back in walk, you can move on to trot. Try to keep that same feeling of your hips ‘dancing’ (one up, one down and little sideways movement) – it will just be much quicker than walk and with more bounce. The key is to do small amounts of sitting trot to start with so that you do not get tense and start gripping with your legs. Try not to tuck your pelvis underneath you as it will only block your hips and you will not be able to follow the movement of the horse’s back.

Breathe and relax

If you cannot breathe, you are definitely holding too much tension in your body and with increased tension you will bounce in the saddle more which will result in you gripping with your legs and bouncing ever more. Talking or signing helps as it is impossible to do either without breathing 😉

Make sitting trot part of each riding session

Riders often consciously or unconsciously avoid sitting trot but without practising, you will never get better at it. I encourage my riding to sit for a few strides before they pick up a rising trot or to change from rising to sitting trot for short periods of time. This way your body will gradually get used to the movement and sitting trot will become much easier.

Extra tips:

  • Make sure your horse is sufficiently warmed up so that their trot is nice and soft – that way you will have a better chance of being able to sit to it.
  • If your horse is good with lunging, get someone to lunge you so that you can focus on your position without having to worry about controlling your horse. You can also try closing your eyes while on the lunge – it does wonders to your body awareness!
  • Riding without stirrups is also a great way to develop your seat (if your horse is safe and you have mastered the basics of sitting trot).

Give it a go and let me know how you got on 🙂 Remember, good practice makes perfect – practising bad habits will not produce good results. If you are struggling with rising trot or anything else, get in touch and book a lesson with an experienced BHSAI riding instructor. I cover Hertfordshire and North London area and enjoy helping riders of all abilities achieve their riding goals with their horses.

For horse training, rider coaching &  equestrian career tips, visit my blog or follow my page on social media.  

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