Being able to sit the trot is one of the fundamentals of being a dressage rider. If only it were as easy as figuring out your posting diagonals, though. When we’re first told to sit the trot, it’s hard not to just keep bouncing against our saddle and go right back into a posting trot. It’s almost as if our body instinctively wants to just keep posting. The next thing that happens is that we brace EVERYTHING and try to be completely still, which only turns us into a sack of potatoes bouncing around.
So how do we fix this? First, learn to relax. Next, we learn how to properly use our bodies. USDF trainer and gold medalist Karen McGoldrick explains that riders “impede their ability to sit the trot by gripping with their adductors (inner thighs) or knees.” It might be instinct to grip because we want to stabilize ourselves, but when we grip the saddle we actually push ourselves out of the saddle — the exact opposite of what we’re trying to do.
Grand Prix Dressage Rider Natasha Althoff put together a video explaining the correct muscles to use and leg position to have in order to master the sitting trot. Like with everything else in riding, sitting the trot takes a stable core and good balance. Above all, it takes practice.