The Rising Trot or How to Post a Trot
By Violante von Oesterreich
Why would you want to post a trot? Thereís a few reasons: For long distances, it preserves both horse and rider as in an endurance ride, it helps establish tempo for both horse and rider, it also can be used as a tool to learn the principal of riding from "inside leg to outside hand". And when it is well done, it is lovely to watch. This one is a challenge for me to put in writing, for me, posting a trot is a *feel*. I hope I can write this so you can feel it!
A few terms to learn:
Diagonal - when a horse trots (non-gaited horse), the opposing pairs move together...right fore/left hind, left fore/right hind..2 beat is what you should hear and feel.
Inside rein - for the purpose of training here and in dressage, it is the rein that is towards the middle of the arena, so, if you are going to the right, your right rein and right leg are your inside aids.
Outside rein- just the opposite of above, so if you are riding to the right, your left rein and leg will be your outside aids.
First, letís take away those stirrups, too many people believe the way to post is to stand in their stirrups, not so! The movement you are going to achieve is a rolling up and off your thighs while keeping your heels down and shoulders/hips/heels in alignment. If you are to take away the horse, you should be standing, whether at a rise or a sit in the posting sequence. I like to call this..."good sex" maneuver (I know, how rude...). Establish a nice rhythmical working walk and then ask for a nice working trot, a nice trot should have your horse placing their hind hoof in the mark left by the front hoof.
Pick a direction in a nice big loop, or around an arena, just something with a good distance for working in....for this , I will pick left (most horseís favorite). As the horse trots, feel the "bounce" that will naturally impel you up and out of the saddle, let this motion do so, controlled, by rolling up and off your thighs so as to feel your belly button pushing upwards toward the horses ears. Make sure your shoulders are still in alignment with hips and heels. If done properly, your horse will not slow down, but as you come up on every other stride, it will establish a rhythm. Think, one, two, one, two....
Now, to check for the "proper diagonal" ..look as you are rising, are you rising with the "outside" leg of the horse. If you are going left, your outside leg will be your horses' right leg, the feeling will be you are riding from your left leg up into your right hand (which is closed). Your inside hand (left) will be soft and flexing if needed; soft as in not death gripping the rein! Outside hand closed means Not death gripping but closed, not releasing, fixed. If you notice by glancing down that you are not on the proper "diagonal", then sit for two strides and rise, you should now be on your proper diagonal.
Once you feel comfortable going one way, make sure to work the horse the same amount of time in the other direction. Then, do figure 8ís, with sitting in the middle to change your diagonal.. Remember to change your rein by making sure your outside hand is fixed (not clenched) and inside hand is either opening and closing softly or just held softly...You should be able to do circles and figure 8ís by looking in the direction and then riding with that "inside leg to outside hand".
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