Beginner’s Guide: How to Master the Posting Trot

                Learning how to establish a good posting trot is essential for every English rider. Whether you are just starting out or at an advanced level, the posting trot is a key basis for riding. A posting trot helps the rider to be able to follow the horse’s movement and also learn how to flow together in the same rhythm. Doing a posting trot also helps with keeping both horse and rider more comfortable while riding. With beginner riders, the posting trot can be a hard motion to achieve. Learning how to post up and down while the horse is trotting can take a lot of balance and leg strength. For advanced riders, the posting trot can still develop some issues/bad habits that need to be addressed in order to master the posting trot.

Posting:

                When a rider is posting, they are rising out of there seat and then coming back down in the saddle. This is done to the pace of the horse’s trot. For the beginning rider, follow these easy learning steps on how to establish a posting trot.

Step 1 – While your horse is at a walking pace, practice rising your body out of the saddle and then back down again. This may feel a little awkward at first and will require leg strength.

Step 2 – When you rise your body out of the saddle, make sure that your back and your shoulders are straight and level with each other. When you post, you keep your core muscles tight and move with your hips.

Step 3 – Make sure that your hips are doing a front and back motion while posting. When you rise out of the saddle, the hips and pelvis should be pushed forward. When you come back into your seat, your hips and pelvis should pushed backwards.

Step 4: Once you start to feel comfortable with this posting motion, ask your horse to trot and practicing posting at the trot.

                Posting straight up and down is not going to achieve the right motion and will cause you to come down hard in your seat. Having a heavy seat will cause your horse to not be able to extend his gait and can also throw him off balance. Posting is a forward and back motion that is established with flexible hip motions. When you go up the hip muscles flex forward and when you come down the hip muscles flex backwards. Once you have achieved a steady posting frame and rhythm, you can continue on and learn your correct diagonal.

Diagonal:

                For the posting trot, the rider establishes an up and down motion that goes in line with the horse’s outside shoulder (the shoulder that is facing the fence). When the rider is posting up and down with the horse’s outside shoulder, this is referred to as being on the right diagonal. Once his front outside leg goes forward, that is when you rise out of the seat. When his front outside leg comes back, that is when you sit back in the seat. You always follow the rhythm of the front outside leg/shoulder. If you find yourself posting to the inside leg, causing the wrong diagonal, simple stay seated in the saddle for two rhythm bumps and then proceed to post with the correct diagonal (the outside leg). For example, instead of going up-sit-up- sit when posting, for changing your diagonal you would go up-sit-sit- up. This can be a little tricky at first. But with practice, you will have this down in no time!

Proper Leg Position:

                The proper leg position is also important when posting. If your legs are positioned too far forward, your body position will be set too far back in the saddle. If your legs are positioned too far back, your body position will be set too far forward in the saddle and will cause you to be off balance.  If your legs are not positioned correctly, you can also send the wrong signals to your horse and make him confused. Having your legs positioned near the girth is the correct spot. This will keep your legs centered at the middle of the horse’s body and help keep your back straight. You also want to make sure that you keep an even tension from your hips to your legs. If your knees and thighs are tight but your legs are lose, this can result in a kicking motion that will give your horse false signals. Make sure that your legs are secured and pressed up against your horse at an even tension to avoid your legs knocking into your horse while you are posting.

Eye position:

                Your eye position is also very important when riding. Most riders have their eyes down and watching their horse’s shoulders when riding. This can cause the rider to have a slouched posture and can affect your posting. Having bad posture can also make you become off balance in your saddle and can throw off your horse’s rhythm. When riding, you always want to be looking in the direction that you are going and to not let your eyes wander. If it helps you, pick a fixed spot in the arena and keep your eyes on that focal point while you are riding. This will help train you to keep your head and eyes up and aware of what is going on around you.

Hand Position:

                A steady hand is also important when posting. You want to make sure that your hands are staying in the same position while you are posting. If your hands and arms are going up and down with your posting motion, your body will be off balanced and you will confuse your horse. You want to keep your hands relaxed and just in front of your saddle. Keeping your hands steady will help teach you to not rely on your hands for balance and will help you keep a secured seat.

                So whether you are just learning the posting trot or at an advanced level, making sure that you master the posting trot is an essential key to English riding. It not only makes riding more comfortable and less bouncy for the riding, it also helps the horse to stay balanced. These simple steps will help beginner riders to develop a secured seat for the posting trot and they are also a good review/reminder for advanced riders. Remember, there is always room for improvement! Check out our English Saddles today at SaddleOnline!