Any tips for perfecting a posting trot? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-08-2015, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Any tips for perfecting a posting trot?

Though I have been riding for over a year now, I still have some areas for improvement-- one being posting trot. I rise and fall perfectly to the horses I ride, and I can get on the right diagonal immediately, but I have a tendency to stand up in the stirrups when I rise. My instructor said that I need to work on closing my lower leg around the horse and just rise with my hips, but for some reason I am having difficulties with this. Are there any tips that might help my lower legs to be sound and for me just to rise with my hips? Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-08-2015, 09:34 PM
Green Broke
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Practice rising trot without stirrups.

The rise doesn't come from bracing against your stirrups. It's hard to stand up without bracing :)
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-08-2015, 11:12 PM
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Think of it as moving your hips forward to barely rise then back down. This also keeps you in the deepest part of the seat. It's miles and miles of practice.

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post #4 of 17 Old 08-09-2015, 01:49 AM
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someone , Jaydee, I think, posted a video of how one man taught little kids how to post, and he would say, "Kneel up," for up. meaning, you think about how it would feel if you were going to kneel. and in that way you lever yourself up from your whole thigh and leg, not just your knee, nor just your foot.

where was that video? . . .
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-09-2015, 07:48 AM
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I second riding stirrupless - this can be a bit of a deep end but it is excellent for teaching people to post correctly, and other things to do with seat and balance... When you're posting, the up movement shouldn't actually be coming from your muscles, but from the movement of the horse - you're just letting it bounce you up slightly, by loosening your hips. What your muscles should be doing is trying to limit the height to which you rise to a barely perceptible minimum, before you return softly to the saddle. When you're sitting a trot, by contrast, you turn your body into the best impersonation of a shock absorber you can give - you think, "I'm rubber and I'm superglued to my horse!" Bareback is a great way to learn to sit a trot harmoniously. Often you have to be really good at the sitting trot before you can be really good at posting.

One small riding school actually had their pupils leaning very slightly forward when initially learning to post and riding with stirrups. Try it and see if it improves anything. The main thing is to be relaxed - tension always works against you when riding. Takes a while to drop the tension sometimes. Best of luck and happy riding!
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-09-2015, 08:26 AM
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Remember to let the horse do the work!! Allow the rising/push motion of the horse to raise your butt up out of the saddle. You only need to come out of the saddle far enough to break the roughness. Too many people I see literally throw themselves out of the saddle 5-6 inches and it simply isn't necessary, not to mention ugly.
Posting was designed so that you could cover a lot of fast, trotting miles with the least amount of discomfort. Let the horse's movement push you out of the saddle and use your muscles to smooth it out and sit back down gracefully and softly.
Also, you can lean slightly forward, from the hips, not the back (the back should remain straight). You don't want to be popping straight up and down.
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-09-2015, 11:23 AM
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Buy "How Your Horse Wants You to Ride: Starting Out, Starting Over". It has at least 3 chapters that apply. Costs under $5 used including shipping from Amazon. Her description of the balance and motion is the best I've seen.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-10-2015, 11:51 PM
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So rather than an up and down motion, you want to come slightly forward over the pommel, and back. You want to stretch down through your leg, and then a forward motion of the hips to bring the pelvis slightly forward above the pommel.
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-11-2015, 12:24 AM
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Something that helped me was to think about rising from the knee, and just keeping everything below that still. I also second the posting without stirrups, as difficult as it is ;)
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-11-2015, 11:29 AM
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Some of it depends on your philosophy of riding. Some people say there should be little or no pressure on the stirrups. To post like that, all the weight needs to be carried in the thigh. I started my riding learning a forward seat, where weight (pressure - you cannot have one without the other) is encouraged. In that case, using the stirrups makes sense - provided your center of gravity is over the stirrups. If your center of gravity is over your stirrups, then your lower leg stays stable and posting is a small up/down motion - because you do not need to come forward in order to be balanced over the stirrups.

From that perspective, as Paul Cronin points out, posting or two point done stirrupless teaches the wrong habits. It requires all the weight to be in the thigh and encourages gripping with the knee, both of which prevent weight flowing into the heels. It may be fun and it may be effective exercise, but I don't want to ride that way as a goal. It is good, it seems to me, for stretching the leg and getting the thigh more vertical.

From a traditional seat perspective, if your heel, hip, shoulder and ear are all in a vertical line, then again - why do you need to come forward to be in balance? You are already in a vertical line balanced above the stirrups. This is Steffen Peters on Legolas in extended trot (“Firsts” at Hagen’s Horses & Dreams in PhotosÂ*|Â* ) If he were to post, why would he need to thrust forward with his hips? He is already balanced...

From a western perspective, my knee when riding is next to the latigo. This is what is between my knee and the horse:

Squeezing with my thighs just raises me in the saddle, leaving me perched on the horse. Pressure with my knees would have nothing to go against. I must let the weight slide down uninterrupted past my knees and into my heels.

I'm a backyard rider. I teach no one and compete in nothing. When the picture below was taken, I was using what I call two-point (which is the same as being at the top of the posting motion) to work with Bandit on his trot. As you can see, I'm still wrapped around my horse. I am NOT coming 6" out of my saddle and thrusting forward - just unfolded a little, bringing my crotch out of the saddle and my rump off the saddle, but very little gap. After all, the horse doesn't know if I'm 1/2" high or 9" high - only weight or no weight. My personal goal is weight off the saddle, but jeans still touching.

In that position, if my horse throws on the brakes without asking me - which Bandit does at times - I stay steady. I keep this position while turning around pylons - just need to shift my weight back a little to match the change in balance of my horse.

If you think of the knees and hips being hinges, then all I need to do is open the hinges a little and I'm at the top of the post. If I stay there, I'm in two point. If I close the hinge slightly, I'm on my horse's back. If I alternate, I'm posting.

Sit on the edge of your chair with just your hips, and bring your heels under your center of gravity. You can now "post" at your computer desk. If you are like me, you'll get tired fast because there is no motion from the horse helping you.

Now, sit back into the chair. Try to post. You cannot. You cannot get out of the chair without first thrusting your weight forward. If you sit back in a chair, the first thing you do to get out of it is move your shoulders forward so your center of gravity gets closer to your heels. You then intercept the forward momentum and rise. We move forward and rise from our knees to get out of a chair. I think the same applies to a saddle...

But I'm a backyard rider. My views on this subject seem to be very eccentric. FWIW, though, here is what Gen Harry Chamberlin wrote about testing your riding position. Notice he considers standing in the stirrups to be the same thing as being at the top of the rise in a post:

BTW - these are screen captures from the video tinyliny mentioned:

His stirrup strap is well forward, his toes are pointing down, and his center of gravity is well behind his base of support. Not to my tastes, but I am eccentric in my views...

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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