Horsemanship How-to: Post the Trot

Hunt seat rider trotting
The first step in learning how to post is to develop a strong lower leg which can support your upper body as you post. Photo: Leslie Potter

Regardless of your riding discipline, the ability to post
the trot is an important horsemanship skill. Though posting is primarily
associated with English riders, western riders—including cowboys—also post to
the long trot. To be certain, covering long distances at the trot is much more
pleasant when you post rather than trying to sit comfortably.

The first step in learning how to post is to develop a
strong lower leg which can support your upper body as you post. Then you have
to be able to sit the trot, which may seem a little contradictory. But by
sitting the trot in a relaxed manner you’re able to feel the natural rhythm of
the horse’s movement.

Once you’re secure in your basic position, and in sync with
your horse’s trotting rhythm, you can try posting. Make sure your horse is
trotting along, not merely jogging, so you can feel a little “bump” with each
stride as you try to sit quietly. Tune in to that thrust from each stride, and
then begin to count aloud, “One, two; one, two,” repeatedly in time with the hoof
beats.Now, exaggerate that little bump
upward by allowing your hips and seat to rise upward with each of those bumps.
It will also help to begin saying, “Up, down. Up, down,” instead of counting. To
help push your seat up, tighten your entire leg, and roll slightly forward on
the inside of your thigh. Don’t grip with your heels, however, or you may
inadvertently send your horse into the canter.

At first you may feel awkward and bobble off the rhythm. If
necessary, rest your hands on your horse’s neck for support while you’re learning
to post. That way you won’t accidentally grab the reins to steady yourself and
catch your horse in the mouth. Just remember that posting is not popping up and
down in your stirrups like you’re on a pogo stick. In fact, ideally you should
be able to post without your stirrups. As your leg gets stronger and your
position in the saddle becomes even more solid, posting will become automatic.

Further Reading
Sitting Trot in Style
Perfect the Posting Trot

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