Tag Archives: how to ride a horse

How To Ride A Horse. The Sit Trot

How To Ride a Horse..How To Sit Trot.

This is a pace that all horse riders have trouble with. Although the trot is a pace we as riders spend alot of time on. We spend hours at the rise trot and training in circles, fitness work and just for pleasure. We spend hours riding at the rise trot and struggle with the sit trot.

The ideal sit trot

The ideal sit trot

How To Ride a Horse and How To Sit Trot.Can be learned using Movement patterns.The core exercises are the key to both. If a horse rider can sit trot well then they can ride just about thing.

Movement patterns to teach horse riders is my specialty. By understanding the muscles and movements required for horse riding it is easy to learn how to ride a horse, and how to sit the trot by breaking up the movements and practicing each of them individually.

It is easy to be balanced at the halt

It is easy to be balanced at the halt

Horse riding requires a strong well balanced posture. The sit trot is an upright posture and the riders seat must stay in the saddle, unlike the rise trot where the rider moves their weight from their seat to their stirrups and back again, there is no weight transfer with the sit trot. Except made be the rider bounces around too much. This is what riders want to stop and control though. The sit trot is a very bouncy movement so the rider must learn to absorb the two beat footfall through their seat and this is easy if the breathing pattern and core are trained. There is a very simple movement pattern in my Applied Posture Riding program to follow  to train the core.These core exercises are specific to horse riders and in this case specific to learning the sit trot.

Horse riders need to be symmetrical with their power, coordination and skill in both their left and right sides.Many ball sports are one sided and this suits people because we are one sided, and get better at this with age. To be able to ride a horse well horse riders must train both their left and right body parts. I spend time trying to write left handed just to train my brain and left side.

The Horse Riding Muscles from the back

The Horse Riding Muscles from the back

The muscles needed for horse riding are different to many sports. They all need to be trained for riding, not for netball or football. Although horse riding is good for fitness it requires good endurance and strength in all the posture muscles but especially the core. Good horse riders, especially dressage riders have great posture out of the saddle. They may be stiff and sore but they do stand up tall.I have numerous core exercises to solve these problems as well.

To be able to ride well a rider first needs to learn how to stabilize their lower leg. I have discussed this at length in other blogs and in my Applied Posture Riding program.

To be able to sit trot well a rider needs to be able to coordinate their breathing, their core and their lower leg to work as a team, not independently in this case. The rider needs to have a strong lower back that will maintain the up right posture while the core and legs stay with the two beat movement of the horse. By understanding the actions require it is easier to work out which muscles and which movement patterns to train in order to achieve the skill of the sit trot.

How To Ride A Horse ..The Sit Trot

The core muscles

The core muscles

Many horse riders are taught to sit trot on the lunge and spend hours going in circles clinging with their thighs to build core strength. The core will only build strength if it is engaged properly. Unfortunately lungeing and clinging  does not build strength in the right muscles and teaches a rider to cling like a monkey. The time spent doing this exercise often results in a rider giving up, simply because it is too hard and does not work. I will state it does work for some riders, but generally it is a waste of time and effort.

I believe this exercise is wrong. However I do acknowledge it does work well for some learners.

I train my pupils out of the saddle as well as in the saddle.

All my pupils follow my  program so these core exercises are easy for them to understand.

1. Learn to Core crunch.(Not an Ab Crunch) Draw your belly button towards your spine as you gently blow your breath out.

Many think the sit trot is only about the seat. It isn’t the core and lower back need to be engaged and flexible and the lower leg is the body part that control the bounce as much as the breathing and the seat.

I teach core exercise to all my pupils and many more specific to horse riders and horse riding. They have become one of most successful training patterns and program for horse riders to learn how to sit the trot.

How To Ride a Horse ..The Sit Trot

The benefits of this training is not only to train horse riders to ride well but also to manage lower back pain and posture problems. The benefits of core exercises are many. The benefits of training under an expert are even greater. To learn how and why and then what  movement pattern is the difference in having knowledge as a opposed to just exercising.

If you are passionate about your riding and want to learn more about the horse riding posture and how to train it them look at Applied Posture Riding. I am a rider coach I teach riders how to ride a horse. I do train horses as well but my passion is teaching horse riders to be the best they can be by understanding the riding posture.

If you have any comments or questions I am happy to help, use the contact page.How to ride a horse is my specialty.

Follow me on the Applied Posture Riding face book page and fill in the subscribe form to stay in touch.

Enjoy your riding and good luck

Annette Willson Author Applied Posture Riding

Annette Willson author "Applied Posture Riding"

Annette Willson author “Applied Posture Riding”



Lower Back Pains and Horse Riders

Lower Back Pain is Very common In Horse Riders

Are You One Of Them?

When I wrote the Applied Posture Riding program I wrote it with the intention to train any rider to ride better. The core exercises are brilliant for horse riders, but as it has turned out, this program has become the most valuable program for horse riders suffering lower back pains. Many horse riders are seeking a program that incorporates core exercises as well as horse riding knowledge.Basically my program teaches horse riders “How To Ride A Horse”. The exercises are all core based and designed to teach horse riders all about the horse riding posture.

Lower back pain doesn't mean stop horse riding!

Lower back pain doesn’t mean stop horse riding!

Well this has been case but it has become evident that horse riders suffering back pain have been the biggest buyers of my program.I think this is because horse riders with back pain are finding it very difficult to find information and advice that helps them stay riding and doesn’t just tell them to give it away and find something else. Many horse riders consult with an expert who understands lower back pains but not horse riding.

I was told to give it up and I get emails from so many that are told to do the same

“Give Up Riding”

I don’t think so!!!

Lower Back Pain can be Managed

I get many emails from riders all over the world asking for help and advice about their back pain and their muscle and posture pains. Many horse riders can’t get past a block they have with pain or balance problems or confidence due to weakness.

I find riding instructors and  health professional cannot help with these issues. Neither are educated to answer questions or give advice.

A Ruptured Disc is so common in Horse Riders

A Ruptured Disc is so common in Horse Riders

Lower back pain seems to be the biggest bogie for horse riders and it is very sad for a rider to be told to give up their passion.

The disc is the most common structure injured that affects horse riders forever. If you are one of these riders, then have some hope you can get control back over your body, your pain and your dreams.

Of course I can’t blindly tell every rider to ignore medical advice without assessing you one on one but I can recommend certain things as a generic approach and give some advice as I see it from a Physiotherapy knowledge base and a horse riders vision as well.

The first question I ask is “What have you been told?”

Many people get the run around with the question and don’t actually know what is wrong.

I think if you can walk around and go to work and do some exercises then you can train yourself to ride again. Again I do need more information from some and I absolutely suggest seeing a Physiotherapist for further or one on one treatment. I can direct you in asking better questions.

In many riders I deal with it is a simple as prescribing a back brace, correct core exercises and of course proper management around the stables.The riders I deal with are not going to stop what they are already doing.In many cases I am just changing how they do what they do, to be safer and less harmful to their body.

When it comes to getting back in the saddle I do suggest a quiet horse and in many cases save jumping or eventing for the future.

Core exercises for the horse rider needed here!

Core exercises for the horse rider needed here!

But any person can get on and ride and be safe. Riding is actually good for lower back pain, caring for a horse is the harmful part.

So as a generic program for lower back pain management I suggest a back brace immediately. I suggest wearing as you need at first and then slowly reduce it. I totally recommend core exercises. I can’t express enough the importance for correct core exercises.I don’t mean Pilates classes, I suggest you learn from a Physiotherapist or from my Applied Posture Riding program.

I teach the core crunch to be done 100s of times a day. I have designed a complete exercise program to train riders for riding and this consequently strengthens the core and protects the back. Strong core stability is the key to good riding and the key to lower back pain control.

Common sense around the stables with lifting and handling horses is a must. If you have helpers use them, let them do the heavy work until you are better.

Lower Back Pain and Disc Pain

I would like to tell you about a lady I helped  here in SA get back to riding after one of the worst back injuries I have seen.

She had multi level disc protrusions and a slip at one level. She had severe nerve pain and minimal flexibility. Her Dr. told her never to go near a horse let alone ride again. She contacted me in desperation and wanted me to teach her how to ride again.

Well she was going to ride anyway so I said I would help

Back Brace for horse riders

Back Brace for horse riders

First up we designed a simple exercise program for flexibility and fitness and had her walking and moving better.We looked at what she could do and she had to promise to stay away from any lifting, twisting or carrying anything. She was not allowed to feed up, rug up or saddle a horse, she could supervise.I prescribed a back brace which gave her great pain control. While wearing the back brace I taught her core crunches and core exercises.

Slowly pain eased, core function improved and she started riding at the walk only. I suggested she have a helper saddle and bridle her horse and not to have anything to do with the care of the horse, but she could get on and ride,,,,of course slowly and safely.

She followed the program and has had great success. She is back competing at country hack shows on her old faithful and loving it. She is back instructing and enjoying her passion.She is of course still following the rules, her back is still damaged and will still give her pain, but with knowledge and management she is living her passion.

I did hear from her husband she had had a nasty fall and ruptured her cruciate ligament…She fell of the ride on lawn mower!!!!!. The Dr. didn’t warn her of this!

Anyway my point is if you have the passion to ride and you get the right advise you can follow your passion and achieve your dreams. Every sport , every activity has its dangers.

I teach riders to understand their problem and give common sense advise with full knowledge. Every person walking the planet needs to do core exercises. Core exercises specific to horse riders will train every rider about the horse riding posture and skills for riding.

Correct management and lifting techniques are valid. Wearing a back brace and changing the way you do things can make such a difference.

I use a sack trolley to move horse feed. I don’t lift the feed bags anymore. I don’t clean the hooves out, I only use one rug and so on. Some riders might think this is slack…I don’t listen to them I listen to my back.

I recommend strong core exercises every day. I practice what I preach and everyday I come up with more ideas from my own experiences. I stretch everyday and I use pain medication on occasion. I wear my brace and I love what I do.

The next block after all this is the cost. I can guarantee the cost of my program and a back brace will save you 100s of dollars, but Ill leave it up to you now.

I am a rider coach if you have a problem and I can help I will. Just ask! I have suffered lower back pain and I know how to manage it. Fill in the subscribe form and follow me on Applied Posture Riding face book page enjoy and stay in touch.

Good luck and enjoy your riding

Annette Willson

Annette Willson author "Applied Posture Riding"

Annette Willson author “Applied Posture Riding”

Exercises For The Core

Exercises For The Core Must Be Taught By a Physiotherapist

Every person walking the planet needs a strong core, every person who rides a horse needs to do exercises for the core. Not only does a horse rider need to exercise the core they need to know how to use it in the saddle.

How to train a horse is what most horse riders are looking for. How to ride a horse using their core seems to be a low priority. The horse and rider are a team and both need to be trained.

Some people think doing stomach exercises is the same as strengthening the core. Exercises for the the core must Include Training The Core muscle for functional use not just a flat tummy and for fitness. A functional core is the key to all stability for work, rest and play.

Exercises For the Core

Horse riders must exercise the core in order to have the best horse riding posture and skills.
As a Physiotherapist I have designed a simple easy to follow educational DVD training people HOW TO strengthen their core muscles as well as all the stomach muscles.

Stomach exercises will not be effective if they are not performed correctly. In fact the old fashioned well used and repetitive sit up have been proven to be harmful on the lower back and discs. These exercises have been performed for years causing injury, research has now updated all stomach exercise programs and the core training is the absolute key to success.

Exercises For the Core

Unfortunately not all gym instructors and personal trainers are up with the new exercises or they have only had brief training in this area.

Poor Core Hold and Good Core Hold Following Pure Pilates DVD

Poor Core Hold and Good Core Hold Following Pure Pilates DVD

To achieve  great results you must learn about the exercise you are doing. I don’t think it is enough to just follow a leader or an instructor and not understand what you you doing. It is important to know your exercises are being performed in the correct alignment and correct load.

This Pure Pilates DVD will teach you everything you need to know about stomach exercises, an ab workout, ab exercises and the core exercises.
The secret to this program over others it the core crunch. I teach this to all my patients and to all my horse riding pupils. I teach Applied Posture Riding to horse riders.The core crunch will enable you to train your core faster than standard exercises and certainly more effectively.

Core Exercises For Good Posture

Core Exercises For Good Posture

Have a look at these pictures to see the effect of a simple  core crunch. A core crunch can be done in ANY posture…yes any position.

Follow me on Applied Posture Riding face book page and fill in the subscribe form to be informed of new information and clinics.

Good Luck and Enjoy
Annette Willson





How To Ride a Horse. Balance Exercises

How To Ride A Horse ..Balance Exercises

As a rider coach seeing and hearing about poor balance in the saddle is common. So many horse riders have poor balance. This is evident at the trot and especially the canter. The horse and rider seem to to be out of tune with each other. It is not always the horses fault. For a horse and rider to be in tune, first the horse must have even and regular paces. Horse riding is a difficult skill to learn.

The transfer of weight from the seat to the stirrup in the rise trot

The transfer of weight from the seat to the stirrup in the rise trot

Alot of race horses off the track have major problems in this area and need alot of gentle training to stop them leaning on the bit or charging through it all the time. Race horses are taught to balance on the bit so a rider  taking on an ex racer must teach the horse other wise or this rider will learn to balance back on the reins and the cycle is set up.

I teach my ex racers to work with No contact, first, and then go through a whole process of re balancing.My training is slow, repetitive and consistent. The horse has to understand what he has to do before it is successful.

This is only as effective as the rider though. I am a balanced rider and I teach hose riders HOW TO balance with specialized balance exercises. If you want to follow my tips on facebook join my Applied Posture Riding page.

As a Physiotherapist I train many people in my practice about balance and muscle control. These exercises are valid to horse riders. How to ride a horse with balance must be practiced out of the saddle before it can be trained in the saddle.

How To Ride A Horse ..Balance Exercises

Balance exercises on the floor are easy to learn. Balance exercises on a moving horse can only be successful once you have actually established this skill on the floor.

My Applied Posture Riding program will teach you how to ride a horse with  core strength, balance and skill. If horse riding is your passion and learning to be your best then this program is the best to follow.

In the meantime I have listed a very simple out of the saddle balance exercises and some very easy in the saddle balance exercises to get you started.

1.Sit on the edge of a chair with your legs spread wide (BE SAFE) . Focus your eyes onto a target

The Sitting Posture With Good Core Hold

The Sitting Posture With Good Core Hold

in front of you about 2/3 the way up the wall.Keep starring at the target and practice sit to stand and sit again.

Keep doing this until it is easy.


People especially older people lose their balance when they want to transfer their weight from bum to feet or even foot to foot. When we walk we move our weight from left to right and so on.

A Well Balanced Rider Enjoying Her Ride

A Well Balanced Rider Enjoying Her Ride

We take this for granted! Try this exercise. Do it in a hall way or clear area. Stand and focus on a target on the wall, keep this target in your vision and walk backwards away from it.

Same target same area but this time turn side on and walk sideways away from the target. With both these exercises your foot will land toe to heel toe to heel not heel to toe.This is a exercise for balance and coordination with weight transfer and core control.It also helps your brain train the movement pattern to get weight down through your heel.

All these aspects are needed to balance in the saddle. If you feel confident and safe then do it with your eyes closed for short time periods.

How To Ride A Horse ..Balance exercises

I believe and have proved over and over the key to balance in the saddle is establishing the lower leg first. Once a rider has this skill they can move onto training the core and aiming for a deep independent skill full seat. This will only happen by training many composites of the horse riding posture and not the final result.

When we learn a new skill at any sport we do drills to learn the sport, horse riders seem to miss this and try and sit upright and still a straight away. Many fail and look for a new instructor. It is not your instructors knowledge to teach your how to ride a horse, their skill is different but they do recognize that rider are having major problems in this area.
How to ride a horse is a phrase goggled 1000s of times. People and horse riders looking for balance exercises realize how important they are.

I am a rider coach I love teaching horse riders to ride to their best skill. If you have the passion to learn I have the passion to teach you. Start with the Applied Posture Riding program and then think about a work shop in the future. I promise your riding will change once you learn about yourself and about the horse riding posture and movement patterns to train it.

If you have any questions about my program or your riding or the braces I recommend for riders then use the contact page and sent me a note. I am able to respond to most emails quickly. Please be respectful I cannot give medical advise without a full consult.

Enjoy your ding and good luck. Remember to look at yourself before your blame your horse.How to ride a horse is my specialty. Follow me on Applied Posture Riding face book page and fill in the subscribe form as well to stay in touch.

Annette Willson author "Applied Posture Riding"

Annette Willson author “Applied Posture Riding”