Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
At a faster trot, I stand in the stirrups. Not very high above the saddle. Maybe an inch, but that is enough to let my legs absorb some of the up/down motion. I've been riding for 12 years. No trouble sitting a relaxed jog, but when my horse does a fast trot it is choppy and fast and I've never been able to sit it without jarring.
An advantage to standing in the stirrups is that it also reduces peak impact pressures on the horse's back by 20%. Another study concluded it was actually the most stable way to trot as well.
It is normal (and good IMHO) to lean forward as the horse goes faster, but it is easy to lean too much. It has been a fault of mine for a long time.
At a walk or canter, do not sit too erect. I read stuff about how I should feel my shoulders being pulled up into the sky. Nope! That mental image was counter-productive for me. Sit erect but not stretched upward, then slouch slightly. Enough to move your torso about 1/2 an inch to the rear. Or less. I think that is what people mean by riding "on your pockets". I used to interpret that as leaning back, but leaning back would be wrong. It is almost an attitude instead of a position. Just a relaxing of the back that allows your hips to settle. In MY experience, trying to ride tall in the saddle caused me to rotate my pelvis more forward with harmful effect on the family jewels.
But for a fast trot? I get out of the saddle.
BTW - One of my horses is a 13 hand BLM mustang. His trot makes me want to pee blood even when I stand in the stirrups! I've never met anyone who could sit his trot without pain. It is like straddling a jackhammer and letting it rip! Mia, OTOH, had an amazing "Happy Feet" jog that was a pleasure to sit. Bandit is somewhere in between...but closer to the mustang. I've learned to ask him to move to a canter instead. His canter is smooth and rolling and fun to ride. His fast trot is sadistic.
Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"