Do you struggle to sit to the trot?

Learn some exercises to help you improve your sitting trot and create a more balanced seat for dressage

Many riders struggle to sit effortlessly in the gait of the trot, focusing on their “sitting” only to
bounce more rigidly against the horse’s movement.

The key to the dressage seat is that it is actually a half sitting, half standing position. The rider
needs to be able to be strong enough in their middle core/back to hold their posture, while
lightly sitting with the movement of the horses back.

If the rider is able to support their torso well, they are then able to be independent of the rein
aids, which is a necessity for good riding .

The next crucial key point to a good sitting trot is the requirement to be able to have your lower
leg in a slightly bent position, with the leg positioned under your hip to absorb the movement –
like a spring .

Your leg has to be the shock absorber. It helps carry the weight distribution so that you are an
easy load to carry for your horse. Your body must be aligned like building blocks – distributed
correctly. If out of alignment, the blocks will collapse.

Yes, that good old pony club manual rider position – ear, shoulder, hip ,heel – is the ultimate key
to success.

To help my students perfect their ability to sit trot I incorporate the following two exercises.

First, the good old sitting trot without stirrups. However, I always under-power the horse -even
as far back as a jog trot – to make it easy for both parties. If over-powered the rider will struggle,
brace, and tighten which will make it a terrible experience, and also work against the elasticity
we are aiming for.

This exercise addresses the “sitting” phase of the dressage position.

The second exercise is to shorten the stirrups and work on a forward jumping style seat –
learning to use the lower leg as a spring, with the weight down through your heels. Trying to
balance through the trot gait without rising is the ideal, but I like to have a neck strap on the
horses neck so the rider (if they lose balance) has support, without crashing into the horses
back or mouth. This exercise addresses the “standing” phrase of the dressage position.

Of course, I highly recommend that you also build your core strength and suppleness without
your horse. The Dressage rider training program is a fantastic way to enhance your journey and

Now off with the stirrups, up the hills in a jump saddle, and you will reach the top of the sitting
trot hill.


Get access to the full program here  Master your Dressage Movements

Want to learn more? Check out these articles.

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Check out all of Vanessa’s online programs here

Want to improve your dressage riding off your horse?

Check out our sister site

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