Tag Archives: Rising trot

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!


#NoStirrupsNovember with a difference!

No stirrups exercise

Just a little video exercise for you today! It helps with mechanics of rising trot, with rider’s balance, stability, core strength, symmetry, independence of stirrups in case of loss of balance/loss of stirrups to name a few benefits.

If done correctly, the rider should not grip with the thighs. Thigh muscles remain snug against the saddle but don’t exert inward pressure. It’s the outer thigh muscles that are the dominant stabilising muscles.

It can be done on a quiet, well balanced horse on the lunge but I really like doing it on a simulator because rider’s struggles have no adverse effect on the horse 🙂

How to do it: 

1. Start in sitting trot without stirrups. Make sure you sit in neutral pelvis position with your spine just naturally elongated and core muscles engaged appropriately to your horse’s trot movement (flat moving, smooth trotting horse doesn’t require much effort from core muscles of the rider but big moving, happily swinging horse will give a rider a run for their core if they are to look as if they are doing nothing)

2. Starting from your knee, move your lower leg too far back from it’s normal position. Feel as if you were kneeling on the imaginary stool, one under each knee (your seat weight should feel nicely distributed into left and right thigh i.e. evenly onto horse’s ribcage)

3. Start rising 🙂 It will feel very alien at first but try to simply use the bounce of the trot, the leverage of your thighs and up-forward movement of your hips to maintain the rise.

Emma rides on Aspire’s Development Programme and makes this exercise look easier than it is for a beginner or novice rider but rest assured, it can be done by all levels of riders with great results 🙂

Happy practice!

What lifts You and Keeps You Balanced in Rising (Posting) Trot? (plus Video Exercise)

Let’s start with an experiment. [if you do it please leave a comment sharing how it felt:) ]

Exercise: It will only take you 2 minutes. You can sit on the floor or on your bed. Sit on your heels, upper body straight. Take your arms to your sides and move up so your are kneeling. Repeat 3-4 times. Do it side by side with a mirror if you can or rest your phone somewhere so you can film yourself doing this. Then, read on and see video at the bottom of this post 🙂 And share your views!

Exercise 1
Exercise: Sit on your heels, upper body straight. Take your arms to your sides and move up so your are kneeling. Do it side by side with a mirror if you can or rest your phone somewhere so you can film yourself doing this. Then, see video at the bottom of this post 🙂 And share your views!

Let’s have a think now…

In basketball, there is a clear difference between bouncing the ball up and down against the floor, and throwing it up and forward on a nice arch so it goes through the net. Different body position and use of limbs, back, shoulders, fingers must be assumed for either.

In equestrian, in rising [or posting] trot, there is a similar difference between an up and down rise when we use the bounce of the horse plus push from the stirrups or forward and up rise & sit when hips of the rider travel on an arch and we lift our body without changing neutral spine posture. Different use of back, abdominal muscles, hips, feet and..thighs.

So, which way is the right way, and why?

You might think, hey I’ve been doing rising trot for so long I don’t even remember when and how I learnt it but if you have issues with your horse’s forwardness, impulsion, straightness, back roundedness, connection back to front, consistency of contact to name just a few, stay for a little longer, it would be great to hear your views!

Over the last 20 years I taught over 14.000 complete beginners or novice riders to ride (I am actually slightly overwhelmed by this number as I decided to under calculate it as not to exaggerate!) and sadly, half of those I would have taught by an up-and-down mantra. In 1997 I came across Centred Riding and changed my ways slowly until I was able to eliminate the need for up-and-down instruction from my teaching vocabulary.


Rising by using your back, upper body motion and/or by pushing up from stirrups (standing up on them) has a huge effect on rider’s ability to stabilise own body, achieve independent hand, encourage free, forward movement in the horse, use their lower legs independently of upper legs, ask for greater collection later in training and the list goes on.

Random freeze frames

I typed in You Tube: ‘my horse riding lessons’ . Below are random freeze frames from some public videos showing what most of us assume is a stage “we all have to go through”. But do we really?


rising trot bad 1
To make things worse these frames are from a video titled: how to ride posting trot. You need to be very selective in what you watch if you are a novice rider seeking to learn on You Tube…

Continue reading What lifts You and Keeps You Balanced in Rising (Posting) Trot? (plus Video Exercise)