Perfecting sitting trot is easier said than done, especially if you have a horse who tends to be rather bouncy! These tips should help, but remember to stay safe at all times. Only remove your stirrups if you are riding a sensible horse in an enclosed area and if possible, have someone experienced with you on the ground.
1. Do just a few steps of sitting trot at a time. This will avoid you feeling unbalanced and you can build up gradually. A good exercise is to come onto a 20-metre circle and ride a few steps of sitting trot, then go rising again. And repeat...
2. Practise off the horse. Stand with your back flat against a wall, with your feet the same distance apart as they would be if you were riding. Bend your knees slightly to adopt a riding position, then push your stomach back so your whole back touches the wall. Take note of the muscles you use, as they are the same ones that will be used in sitting trot.
3. Stand in the stirrups. Raising your body out of the saddle in walk, trot and canter will help you develop a secure lower leg. This will result in your leg being able to hang loosely at your horse's sides in sitting trot, rather than gripping up.
4. Keep it slow. Keep the horse's trot rhythm slow at first, so the pace is less bouncy. As you become more secure, you can go on to ask for bigger strides.
5. Ride without stirrups. Even going without stirrups in walk will help you to develop a better sitting trot, as it opens the hips and allows you to absorb your horse's movement more easily. Then, if it feels safe to do so, include some short bursts of sitting trot.
6. Work your horse in a soft outline. Trying to sit to the trot on a horse that has a hollow outline would challenge even the best riders, so teach your horse to work more softly. Regular lessons from a good instructor can help you achieve this and when it comes to sitting trot, the process will be easier for both you and your horse.
7. Use an exercise ball. Sit on an exercise ball and draw your belly button back towards your spine, keeping your chest open and your shoulder blades flat on your back. Bounce gently on the ball, gradually increasing height and speed. Done regularly, this will improve your coordination and core strength.
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