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Love Horseback Riding, Issue #014- Posting (Rising) Trot & Diagonals
February 01, 2016
Dear Horsey Friends,


Hi there my loyal readers! Sorry it has been awhile since my last newsletter. With Christmas, a nasty bout of illness after and then a personal injury (severely sprained ankle while feeding horses no less) I have been a bit under the weather. I hope that you are all braving the cold winter months!

What's New

Are you a first time horse owner or still looking into it before you take the leap? Check out this page to get some great tips on the costs of ownership as well as what to look for in your first horse.

Learning- Trotting; The Rising Trot and Diagonals

Trotting. The gait can invoke fear into most beginner riders as it can mean “bounce, bounce, bounce,” especially if you don’t have much experience. The truth is, it can be way easier to walk or canter!

There are two main ways to ride the trot; sitting and posting (also called rising trot). There is no doubt about it that posting the trot can be MUCH easier. The sitting trot can be difficult to master, even for experienced riders.

Do You Know How To Rise the Trot?

If you want to learn to rise or post the trot you’ll need to know how the horse trots. When a horse trots, his legs move in diagonal pairs (left front & right hind, right front & left hind) making it a two-beat gait.

There is a moment of suspension when all 4 feet are off the ground, followed by concussion when a pair of legs lands making it bumpy. For reference, the walk is a 4-beat gait each hoof individually stepping in a specific sequence, and the canter is a 3-beat gait.

So when the legs move in pairs it can be counted 1-2, 1-2, 1-2.

To rise the trot in the most simple terms means that you 1-sit, 2-stand, keeping in rhythm with the horse’s gait.

This is easier said than done if you are just starting out! This is why I recommend you try slightly standing up in your stirrups at the halt first. Can you stand up without holding on? If not, you’ll need to work on your muscles and your basic riding position first.

Your position will have a lot to do with your success posting. If your leg is too far back you will fall forward. If your lower leg is too far forward you’ll keep falling back. You need to find the right alignment and avoid pinching with your knees or bracing your feet in the stirrups. Check out this page for more information.

Once you have done this exercise at the halt, it’s time to move onto the walk by counting 1-2 and standing/sitting in time with it. It’s not as easy at the walk because the horse’s movement in the trot helps to get you up out of the saddle easier. It’s the coming back down in time to get back up that people tend to struggle with when actually trotting.

Once you’ve given this a good try at the walk and can successfully stay in time, it’s time to move onto the trot.

As you signal your horse to the trot, remember the rhythm in your head. 1-2, 1-2, 1-2. Feel for it, stand your body up on 1, down on 2. If you miss a beat or 2 that’s ok, just try again. Repetition will help!

Once you master the rising trot you’ll find it much easier to go longer distances while trotting.


We use diagonals while riding in the arena in order to more evenly distribute the work on the horse’s rear legs. When going in an arena, the inside shoulder (closest to the middle of the arena) is considered the direction of travel. So, if I were going counterclockwise in an arena my horses’s left shoulder would be more to the inside, and I would be considered traveling to the left.

For diagonals while posting, the English saying goes “Rise and fall with the leg on the wall.” This is referring to the fact that if I am going to the left as in my example above, that I would want my posting to be going UP with the RIGHT front leg (and rear left leg).

Most riders in the beginning will look down at the outside shoulder to make sure they are rising when the right shoulder is coming forward and that leg is coming off the ground.

This is considered the “correct” diagonal for travel to the left. It is opposite for going to the right. After you practice some, you will be able to feel what diagonal you are traveling on without having to look down and check.

Well that’s it for this month. Next month we’ll tackle the all elusive sitting trot!

In the meanwhile, visit on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter! Until then,

Happy Trails!


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