AskHQ: The sitting trot

Q: I just can’t sit the sitting trot. How can I improve this?

Answered by Elena Jankowitz

A: The sitting trot is challenging for everyone and there are numerous factors that can make it difficult to sit. The important point to remember is that the trot has a moment of suspension when none of the hooves are on the ground – this is of course a challenge to sit.

The most common problem, however, is that riders are unable to follow the horse’s hips at the trot. This leads them to grip with their thighs and as a consequence start to tip forward. If you suspect this may be the case for you, I would advise going to lunge lessons with a qualified coach who can properly assess the situation and can pinpoint where your problem actually lies. You want to have your lunge lessons on a safe horse so that your stirrups can be taken away and your coach can check your strength and suppleness as a rider.

Pilates and yoga can also be really beneficial, especially once you are aware which areas you need to pay attention to in order to improve your overall strength and suppleness. There are two great exercises that you can do on the ground to help you with the sitting trot:

  • The swing exercise: For this exercise you need to find a proper set of swings. Sit on the swing and lift both of your feet off the ground. Your goal is to try and make the swing move using just your body without pumping your legs. The muscles that you will need to engage to make the swing move forward and back are the same ones you will need to engage in order to sit the trot.
  • The chair exercise: For this exercise you will need to sit on the edge of a four-legged chair with your feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be spread the same width apart as your hips. You then need to push your hips forward to get the chair to tip onto its front legs. To achieve this you will need to engage your sitting trot muscles.