Something that I have really struggled with in the past is how to ‘sit the trot’. Especially with really bouncy horses, I would often find myself feeling like at any moment I could bounce right out of the saddle. Other times, I would wake up the day after sitting trot a prancing horse and feel like I had bruised every inch of my bum.
The worst was when in the moment I felt like I might snap my lower back if I kept trying to sit the trot.
The Problem: Sitting the Trot
Learning how to sit a sitting trot is hard. I have found that it’s the hardest in a Western saddle, but a little easier in an English saddle. Surprisingly, it’s the easiest to do bareback.
The reason is because in bareback, you either move in sync with the horse or fall off. The Western saddle on the other hand supports your seat on all sides. This allows allows you to sit in a relatively deactivated fashion – bouncing you around, but not making you fall. This is an ideal way to cement bad habits, I think!
How to Actually Sit the Sitting Trot
#1: It’s all about the core.
When you’re sitting the trot, you want to:
- Pull in your belly button and squeeze it towards your spine
- Activate your core
- Perform a slight posterior pelvic tilt
The key is to do all 3 of these actions in time to your horse’s trot so that you move your bum with the horse so it ends up being : “squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze” with your core while your horse goes “trot, trot, trot, trot”.
This is very much a “you have to feel it to get it” type of movement so keep trying and I guarantee once it clicks, you’ll be able to ride any trot no problem. The only exception might be super bouncy horses, and for those I recommend…
#2: (Optional): Trot bareback.
I totally get that this is scary and may or may not be suitable for you depending on your level of riding.
Without a doubt, the fastest way to learn is to force your body to adapt. But that doesn’t mean it’s the safest or the best way for you.
I think of it like learning handstands. You can either just start handstanding and take the falls or you can do a series of controlled progressions. The first is faster and the second is safer. If you want some more help deciding which approach will suit you, try having a look at my goal setting for riders guide.
Let me know if this helps! And if you need more help actually getting to a trot in the first place, have a look at my secret walk to trot riding aid.