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Does the rising trot feel tiring? Do you struggle with being able to use your legs to cue the horse while trotting?

How much effort should it take and what exactly propels the rider upwards – is it using your legs to lift, pushing off your stirrups, or something entirely different?

A common frustration for new riders learning the trot is the “double bounce”, that feeling of the sitting phase being just a little too long so that the posting motion feels labored instead of a smooth movement with the horse’s stride.

The rising trot can be a gait of ease, feeling in sync with the horse and covering ground quickly and efficiently, whether on the trail or in the arena. But it can also feel rough, uncoordinated, and disorganized if the rider is not moving with the horse.

Many riders make the mistake of trying to push themselves upwards, gripping with their thighs, or pressing down against the stirrups in the struggle to find the posting trot motion.

In this week’s video, I will share a few tips on how to ride the posting trot and avoid the dreaded double bounce. Hint, rising the trot, when done well, requires much less effort than you may think!

Want more resources for riding the trot?

Check out these two popular videos:

How to Ride Posting Trot – The Skeletal View

How to Stop Gripping When You Ride


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56 Responses

  1. Thank you so much! That was a n awesome presentation. Even though I do an adequate rising trot it was very interesting to watch how you took apart the pieces of the rising trot to present today.

  2. Decades ago, I had a trainer who was always telling me to stop gripping with my legs. I didn’t understand how that could be happening until I had a massage therapist undo the tight, corded muscles of my inner thighs.
    The next time I rode was the “aha” moment. I knew what relaxed legs felt like. As with our critters, sometimes we need bodywork to overcome poor movement patterns.

  3. This is excellent. I used to have no problem with rising trot until I took lessons. The instructor was so focused on heels down-eyes up that she gave no other instruction. This was amazing to hear the detailed explanation of how to do it properly. I look forward to practicing this later. Thank you so much!

  4. Aha-wow! I needed to hear this! Two instructors and none of my horse riding friends could explain to me what parts of the body are affected with the rising trot! Thank you!

  5. This video is extremely helpful. The way you explained the rising trot in combination with the video really helped me understand.
    My question is how do you find the correct diagonal in the rising trot when the horse is on different lead.

  6. I have gone from a TB to an NHS. His trot is so jarring I find it hard not to bounce. He travels with his head up high, unbalanced and trotting as fast as he can. It’s the most uncomfortable ride ever. Can’t wait to watch this video!!

    1. Hope this video helps make the rising trot more fun for you Billy! It also sounds like maybe he hasn’t learned how to correctly carry himself which is making the rising trot probably more difficult for you as well, I would recommend watching this video on the blog to learn more about how the way the horse moves affects his mental state after you check your saddle fit because horses will often have trouble carrying themselves correctly in an ill-fitting saddle.

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  7. I remember when I first successfully did a rising trot – it was so smooth and flowing, in rhythm with my horse. What did it for me was yours and Wendy Murdoch’s online riding program. Now, when I lose the rhythm, I remember to RELAX and let my knees move forward and down; then I move with my horse again.
    I can both sit the trot and post, but sometimes my horse trots so fast in short, choppy motion that I have to stand in the stirrups, or at least keep weight on my thighs and not rise and sit at all. Without seeing me, do you think this is something I am doing (gripping, tensing) or has my horse just not learned to extend his trot? If so, how do I help him extend?

    1. Patricia, it is really hard to say really what could be happening but it sounds like maybe he hasn’t learned to carry himself correctly in the trot and isn’t able to work through his top-line and push from his hindquarters to extend. Also I would ask for just a few strides of extension and then bring him back to a shorter trot and keep shortening and extending.

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  8. As just getting comfortable with trotting since was immeasurable help Many Thanks for this great instructional video.

  9. A lot of saddles (jumping styles and older all purpose saddles) have a tendency to make you sit in a “chair seat”. When this is the case, that dreaded “double bounce” is sure to happen! Lower legs must be in the proper position!

  10. I was fortunate to learn to ride in a bareback pad without stirrups-which was the only “saddle” I had for years….so I got a good sense of innate rhythm with the horse. When I finally did get into saddles-I am so short legged that I often found myself with my feet out in front of me! (Learning a lot about saddle fit all the way around helped a lot with that…I’m 4’10” with legs shorter than torso…
    But-it is something us shorter people (especially with an old age tummy) deal with. And what do I do? I tend to lean forward then in the torso-in order to balance myself out…Really having as “long a leg” as I can-having a saddle that puts me in the right position without a lot of extra work-and thinking of a draping alligator tail from my head down over the horses butt and slightly dragging…helps me stay more upright in the torso. Putting me in a bareback pad fixes all of it! sigh…I have to admit…now I ride a 1/2 gaited horse….she’s awesome! 🙂

    1. Hi Claire! I would highly recommend watching our free mini-course, Better Riding in 7 Days. In that series Callie will cover a variety of the basics of riding to get your fundamentals down pat!

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  11. Looking at some photos of myself riding, I discovered that my leg was a little more out in front than seemed right. I consciously moved it back a fraction on my next ride, and AHA! Fixed so many things — especially allowing my weight to go to my thigh and making posting easier. Best part is it is easy to feel where the right spot is for my leg now that I understand what I’m trying to achieve.

    1. Lisa, this is why having a friend take pictures or videos of your riding can be so valuable it is great feedback, awesome job!

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

      1. Yes absolutely you can post the same way in a western saddle Lou Ann!

        – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  12. When I’m told to get my heels down it creates tension in my knees and hips and makes my riding stiff and unstable. I’m an adult rider and my ankles are not as flexible as some of the younger riders. Your trot video was extremely helpful! Thank you!

  13. I remember first realizing that you aren’t supposed to rise from the stirrup, my instructors would tell me to “keep the lower leg still” during the rising trot, and I never quite grasped that I was supposed to be rising more from by thighs than the stirrup until I watched endless amounts of videos of people trotting and then it finally clicked in my mind. This helps me realize that my decision was correct and I really appreciate these lessons. Thanks again!

  14. I recently saw a video of myself riding and got so discouraged, my position was aweful….I am so happy to have found this video where you clearly explain all the parts of the position, I at least now have a starting point to try to fix my problems ( I think a big part is that I put too much weight in the stirrups and my lower leg comes forward)

    1. Hi Andy, I have a video from here on the blog I’d really like for you to watch, click here 🙂

      Don’t be so hard on yourself – we are all continuously learning!

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  15. I ride western, so I sit the trot, which is pretty much the same hip movement, except one’s seat is always in contact with the saddle. IMO, anytime a rider is off the seat and leaning forward he/she is in a vulnerable position.

    1. Robert, yes you are absolutely correct that coming forward can leave you in a really vulnerable position – but the post that Callie is demonstrating in this video is actually extremely stable because she has the weight on the thigh and no tension in the leg that could become a pivot point for her to be unbalanced by!

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  16. Excited to try the new advice. I get exhausted in the rising trot, I put so much effort coming up out of my saddle. My horse is a warmblood with a big gait (first hors) so I feel like I get pretty beat up posting 🙂

    1. Laurel, I hope this makes the rising trot more effortless – it sounds like you might be working too hard!

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  17. I’ve been amazed to find how some subtle changes in rider position can have such a profound effect on our horses. Feeling that transfer of weight into the thighs better in all the gaits I have found through spending some time riding without stirrups (though that means that rising trot burns a bit on those inner thigh muscles!) Recently I had a breakthrough with personal position improvement in being told I carry my chin too far forward. While this had not affected my rides on older, more seasoned horses, I have had some rides on younger or less schooled horses where we felt or became out of control at trot or canter. I had not been able to figure out why or what was different, other than that the horse was less experienced. When I found that a small change like carrying my chin a little “in” can make all the difference in staying balanced and feeling controlled, it has made me realize how much we need to keep looking to ourselves to see what needs improving before blaming our horses!

    1. Faith it is usually the smallest shifts that make the biggest impact on the overall picture 🙂

      – Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  18. Great explanations & visual on the “up” phase of the rising trot. But what about the “sit” portion? I’m finding an awkward bounce at that stage as well. I feel I have to grip with thighs to not get that heavy bounce which is opposite of what was demonstrated.

    1. Hi Terry, it is a bit difficult to say exactly what could be happening in your rising trot but it sounds like you are actually having the same pattern that Callie talks about in this video with bracing and blocking the movement of the pelvis!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  19. Great explanation! I am just learning ( 6 lessons) to ride in a saddle after 3 years of bareback…not really liking it, but am getting better.
    Figured out that pushing into stirrup during a rising trot is NOT helpful at all.
    Been reading Sally Swift’s Centered Riding book which helped tremendously.
    Your video helped me a great deal!
    One question: if a horse does not collect how difficult is it for the rider to do a smooth and effortless rising trot?

    1. Hi Bettina! Thanks for your question, the trot is easier for the horse and rider if the horse is carrying her weight more effectively! We have a few videos here on the blog explaining the movement of the horse, plus a course taught by Wendy Murdoch (she was actually Sally’s student) developing an eye for movement you can click here to learn more about that program.

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  20. Helpful information! I recently had an haw moment during a dressage test. With relaxing and letting my horse do the work, not only did it feel effortless, but scored 8’s with trot work-during the dressage test.

    1. That is AWESOME Christa! I’ve loved hearing the progression of your riding and your horses – can’t wait to see what you do in the future 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  21. Hi Callie
    I was just wondering about this topic just last week and I’m so glad you did a video on it and explaining each part of the rising Trot along with what parts of the human body we should be using. Thanks Darryl

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the video Darryl 🙂 Thanks for being part of our community!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  22. Could you do another bareback video? I just recently watched your older ones and am wondering if there are any new techniques or tips on bareback. If there aren’t, that’s fine too. Just curious!

    1. Hi Ava, we don’t have any other bareback videos on the blog besides the older ones – did you have a specific question or challenge you are finding when riding bareback? Could be a great video for us to do in the future! 🙂

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  23. If you are using the horse’s motion to facilitate posting, how do you “slow your posting” to get the horse to slow down if they are trotting too quickly?

    1. Hi Shiloh, the horse will slow the trot with a slower post!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  24. This video is extremely helpful, thank you Callie and thank you Julia for tirelessly addressing all our questions. Here’s mine. I was hoping you could tell us more about the precise timing and mechanics of the lower leg cue during posting. I try giving the cue in the seated phase, but since my ‘cue’ involves lifting my heel a bit up and back to rub/squeeze against the horse’s side (not even sure this is the proper way to cue), this seems to delay my next rising phase, and/or puts me in the ‘lean forward, out-of-balance position’. Any chance of making a video to address specifically the leg cue in posting?

    1. Hi Gabrijela, that would be a great video for the blog thanks for the suggestion! You want to try to avoid sitting and cueing because that can really tense up your leg and make the horse uncomfortable going forward!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  25. I’m an older rider (western) and I learned to post off my stirrups years ago and now I’m having a heck of a time unlearning it :-). Any suggestions?

  26. I have a hard time getting the right post going to the right. Get video. I think my problem is that I am too tense. Thanks for this video.

  27. Hello Callie! I appreciate all your videos but this one happen to be the one I needed the most, and I’ll explain why, I unfortunately developed a generic type of cancer in my digestive system in the middle of training with my Arabian’s to go to the Scottsdale show 10 years ago and for the last 8 years it’s been one surgery after another, on the plus side I no longer have a colon, rectum, anus and 75% of my small intestines has been removed. Lol .. Not all of these surgeries happened overnight of course it was a surgery One year and two the next year etc. and unfortunately every time they cut my abdomen open it was harder for me to regain control of my core muscles . Now that I am finished with most of my surgeries or I should say I’m no longer going to do any more surgeries LOL I am going back on my horses again,,, they’re older they are now pushing 13 And they’re actually very good riding horses because I’ve had friends come by for last several years Riding them and training them for me because of my condition and the funny thing is my horses know I am not good as I was and know I don’t sit right anymore like I used to because of all the surgeries and I have been tending to put all my weight in the stirrups when you know you’re not supposed to but I’ve been so afraid to let my bottom come down on the saddle because of the surgeries removing my anus and I’ve been afraid of falling forwards due to the lack of a core muscles in my abdomen area but now that I’ve been re-training myself thanks to your videos.. From this point on it’s pretty much self taught or self teaching myself I should say because of medical supplies are very expensive and not covered under my insurance usually and it can run in the thousands every month, so a very heartfelt thank you for these wonderful videos you make me feel at ease and calm and my horses feel calm because I’m calm and it’s just a really nice thing to experience and I cannot thank you enough for this, I can just imagine how wonderful you are in person with your clients,,,I hope you have a very blessed week, sincerely Katarina

    1. Hi Katarina, first I’d like to say how much I admire you for staying in the saddle through all the adversities you have had to overcome with your health. I’m glad to hear that our videos have been a resource for you in your journey with your horses!

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

  28. Thanks for this video which was helpful. As you displayed the incorrect way our posture changes when trotting I could so see me in you. I am a very nervous older rider on a big trotting thoroughbred mare and as quiet as she is I still tense up, curl my legs to grip on or push the weight into my stirrups and bounce up. I will continue to watch your videos for further support as well as continue with my rider training weekly but again thank you. Regards Brenda (Australia)

    1. Brenda, there are tons of videos here on our website to help you! I would also love to have you join us in our free mini-series Better Riding in 7 Days, to help you find a more balanced position in the saddle to improve your confidence on your big moving mare 🙂

      -Julia, CRK Training Community Manager

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