Case Study: Re-educating rising trot

By Wiola Grabowska

A solid, correct biomechanics of a rising trot is probably the simplest way of encouraging the horse’s seeking reflexes and as a result, the elusive roudness over the back.

For all grassroots riders I teach, there is no escape from this and although I don’t tend to drill mechanically into a “perfect position”, the goal of a good, horse back friendly rising trot will never disappear from the lesson content until it’s sorted.

If you follow us on Instagram you will have seen the below two photos of Lauren. The third, bottom photo, is from this past weekend, 3rd June.

3 months apart lauren

Maintaining this position is not easy for Lauren and her perception of it is very different to the visual effect! In fact, she feels like she is diving over Gilly’s head with her upper body and that her lower leg is much further back than it really is.

This is normal as the brain gets used to the new movement patterns but over time, she will also be able to relax much more into this new position and it will feel much less alien.

The main reason I believe the correct rising trot to be one of the top basic riding skills is that it gives the novice rider a “seat tool”; it limits the use of reins for control and it allows the rider to build upon a robust, safe and functional foundations. 

Unbalanced rising trot, i.e. one where at various stages of the rise and sit the rider is not in own balance (not in control of lower leg, upper leg, upper body, energy of the rise etc) is incredibly common even in more advanced riders who are otherwise skilful and have a good feel and it’s a shame because it encourages head riding instead of back and hind quarters riding. It creates a hollow horse every stride the rider has to then “repair” somehow.

Lauren’s rising trot re-education happens via: 

  • gym ball exercises to help her with alignment, symmetry and proprioception


  • lunge lessons with intensive corrections
Lauren 3rd June
You can see changes in Gilly’s posture, stride length and self carriage as Lauren makes changes to her seat: balance, alignment and matching Gilly’s stride with the enough energy & positive tone in herself
  • jumping lessons with exercises targeting lower leg stability like gridwork, pole work and light seat training in all paces
  • individual moments with me just observing and filming for Lauren to reflect on later

Super changes already and Gilly is definitely benefiting from them!


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