A lot of times higher level riders post to get off the horse's back. A lot of them do to get bigger extensions on high level horses as well.
But it also depend on who you train with and the system of training you're with. Posting can help a lot if a horse has issues keeping regularity at the trot. I think at the lower level people think regularity is so basic, it's really not. It's really tricky when you have multiple "trots" and need to make transitions between them effortless and flawless. Takes a lot of time. I dont think there is a lot of appreciation for the details and what goes into producing a horse. People just see the "finished product" and think that's how it is every step along the way. People also tend to ride differently at home vs in the show arena.
With a sitting trot you can create more expression with your seat and core, there is a mastery in how to sit as lightly as possible as well as sit as deeply as possible. Sitting heavy does not mean sitting deep. Sitting heavy tends to hollow the back out, vs dressage riders often use their core to lift the horse's back up into their pelvis. Im going to try not to get too convoluted, lots of details there.
Also with the post height and control of the post determines the trot. Bigger trot post high but controlled, land softly on the back. For less trot post with less height and increased control, more core. As a basic concept of how to use a post and what you can do with it. There is a lot to it. It takes a lot of control of the body, position, leg and timing. Or a horse that needs more help in regularity increased control of post, sitting against the horse's rhythm and asking them to stay with your seat and not going beyond.
I think I am able to get more expression and better collection sitting trot but I also feel it is good to get off their back and create some freedom and lightness. High level riders do not sit all the time and they do not ride in maximum collection all the time or every ride. Quite a few days are stretching with some collected work. Like might throw in piaffe/passage steps or half pass and working canter pirouettes (not a pirouette like in the ring which should be 4 beat, not 3) but it's like riding a pirouette on a wider parameter then back to stretching. High level work is very hard on a horse's body. There needs to be a balance between collected and stretching. Collection should be forward thinking.
As for the double bridle, it really depends on the horse which is better, I tend to roll my eyes hard when people say oh a person is riding a high level horse in a snaffle, so the horse must be better trained. And I say no. It depends on what works best for the horse. Some go better in a plain snaffle, some better in the double. For me I find it amusing when people dis others for using a double because they're usually comments from people who dont even really know how to use a double bridle and have never schooled upper level.
Double is for refinement and some horses prefer it to the snaffle. I think it takes a great deal more finesse and skill to ride in a double effectively than a snaffle. I love the double on my personal horse but not on every horse. I also think a lot of people alternate between the snaffle and the double. A lot of high level riders dont ride in a double every ride. But it depends on the horse. My old trainer has a GP horse she rides almost exclusively in the double because he is a different horse in it vs she used to show the GP in the US in a snaffle on her stallion. It is all about the horse and what they prefer. Some horses like poll pressure better and some hate it.
You also have to understand the training videos posted online arent the real story of training horses, they show what is an ideal example of how training SHOULD go in an ideal world. They do not show a lot of the behind the scenes footage of what it is really like. Laura Tomlinson used to have a web channel showing real footage and how it was in reality but I dont think that exists anymore and on youtube top riders cant post real training footage because the "chair masters" sit behind a desk with hardly any experience and book knowledge and think they can do a better job than real riders out there training and riding horses the chair masters would have to go to the hospital if they sat on. Most people dont really have an eye and dont have a clue, nor do their trainers a lot of time of what it's like to work with a difficult, professional only type of horse. Training/developing horses isnt a straight or easy road.
Last edited by DanteDressageNerd; 08-20-2019 at 06:41 AM.