Originally Posted by Barry Godden
If the rider can post on an English cut saddle, then he or she can post on a Western saddle. But the rider's brain has to have been taught how to do it. A good rider can post to the trot even without the use of stirrups but it is a knack to be learned.
However why bother to trot in a Western saddle? A western rider can move up from slow walk to active walk, then to slow jog, then to slow canter - paces where the rider would normally sit into.
In English riding jogging - ie slow trot- is frowned upon. The English rider goes from walk to active walk to working trot to canter. But an English rider is always taught from the very begining of learning to ride how to post/rise to the trot.
Rarely does the English rider trot downhill - but one can. If one comes downhill on a hard track - as to be found in the forestry - it is best to stand in the stirrups and let the horse bob up and down between the legs. But trotting down hill is hard on the horse's legs and feet - especially the check ligament.
Steel shod horses might slip on shiny or wet tarmac when trotting downhill.
Likewise trotting uphill it is best for the horse's back to stand in the stirrups, take the weight out of the saddle and lean forwards whilst grabbing some mane as support. The theory being to free the horse's back up for the hard work trotting uphill entails.
Remember trotting under saddle was developed by the cavalry to enable a troop of horses to ride in formation at speed over hard flat surfaces. The horses caught the beat of the hooves hitting the ground.
Over uneven surfaces it is better for troops to canter but maintaining formation is more difficult.
The style which works in the flat sandy dressage arena on a well schooled horse is not necessarily the style appropriate for cross country riding. Away from the arena the rider is not being judged for style - the rider should be adapting his style of riding according to the speed and importantly the terrain.
Actually a man needs to post/rise to the trot in order to protect his genitals especially at working trot and extended trot. Women are structured differently and their seating position adapts accordingly. Next time you are on the beach - look at the shape of a female butt and compare it with that of a male butt. Women know all about pelvic floors whereas men don't believe they have one - certainly not where to find it.
If I lived in the US, I'd ride Western and I'd forget about trottting, except in towns on tarmac surfaces. (But I would ride the horse collected at all times)
Thank you Barry!! Excellent points and it all really makes sense to me. Most of the trail horses I have owned and ridden western have always moved into a nice slow canter. I for one could not post on a trail for very long. But that's just my old body complaining. :)