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Posting or Sitting the Trot at Training Level

Dressage experts weigh in on how you should ride the trot in a training level test.

By Natalie DeFee Mendik | June 23, 2015

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Posting trot

At Training Level, all trot work may be ridden posting or sitting at the rider’s discretion. So which should you choose? "When in doubt, post,” says U.S. Dressage Federation (USDF) gold medalist and leading sport horse breeder Ken Borden. "Generally speaking, people are better off posting, so they don’t hurt their horse’s back. Sit to prepare, but don’t sit too long.”

Borden’s recommendations for sitting at Training Level include going into the halt transition, prior to the canter depart, in the shallow-loop serpentine changes of bend, and in corners prior to the diagonal or circles as needed. His key to sitting is to keep it symmetrical within the test, using it as a moment to rebalance.

"Rarely do I sit the entire test unless the horse goes much better [that way],” continues Borden. "Most judges are going to blame problems on tension created by the rider. Rising is a bonus people don’t take advantage of.”

Your score will be the same whether you post or sit; what’s important is the quality of the gait. "Most horses present better with posting,” says U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) "S” dressage judge Debbie Rodriguez. "The rider’s seat keeps a more active working trot; you want to encourage your horse to be in an athletic trot. Many lower-level riders will slow down the trot to make it easier to sit. If your decision to sit affects the quality of the trot, it will bring down your rider score and your gait score,” she continues. "However, if your horse is more secure in a sitting trot and you can sit it well, go ahead.”


This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!

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