Trotting is one thing, perfecting and improving your sitting trot is quite another. Your horse’s temperament will play a role in how long it takes, so remember to have patience with him, and yourself! Keep in mind: always put safety first and if possible, have an experienced person with you on the ground while you practice. Then, get in that saddle and have fun!
Practice Without Your Horse First
This might sound counterintuitive, but getting in tune with your own body first will help it become second nature when it comes time to get a feel for your horse. Keeping your back flat against a wall and your feet apart the same distance as if you were riding, bend at the knees to adopt your position. Tighten the stomach muscles and curve your back to keep the whole of it against the wall. Which muscles are you using? Those are the ones you’ll need for the sitting trot.
Easy Does It
Keep your horse’s trot rhythm slow to begin. The less bouncy it is, the more secure you’ll become before asking for bigger strides. In order to keep your balance, practice just a few steps of your sitting trot at a time. By building up the amount you do slowly, you’ll maintain better control and form.
Stand in the Stirrups
In order to develop the strong and secure lower leg you’ll need for a sitting trot, practice raising your body out of the saddle for walking, trotting and cantering. This will prevent your lower leg from tensing up and gripping your horse when you’re in a sitting trot.
Ride Without Stirrups
This is best done only if your horse has a sensible demeanour and you’re in an enclosed area. You will absorb your horse’s movements more easily without stirrups, as it opens your hips. Start with a walk and as you feel more secure, add a few steps of sitting trot.
Practice on an Exercise Ball
Improve your coordination and core strength by regularly practicing on an exercise ball. Start by sitting and drawing your belly button towards your spine. Keep your chest open and your shoulders back. Bounce gently at first, gradually increasing the height and speed at which you do so.
Good luck, and keep improving your sitting trot!