Applied Posture Riding - how to ride with correct posture

  • How To Ride A Horse. The Sit Trot

    How To Sit The Trot UsingMovement Patterns

    Posterior Neutral AnteriorPelvic tilt websizeThis is a pace that all horse riders have trouble with. Although the trot is a pace we as riders spend a lot 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 rising trot and struggle with the sitting trot. 

    How To Ride a Horse and How To Sit The Trot. Can be learned using Movement Patterns.

    Your core strength, coordination, and synchronization are the key to both. If a horse rider can sit trot well then they can ride just about any horse. Movement patterns to teach horse riders are 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.

    Horse riding requires a strong well-balanced posture. The sitting trot is an upright posture and the rider's seat must stay in the saddle,DSC 0155 unlike the rising trot where the rider moves their weight from their seat to their stirrups and back again, there is no weight transfer with the sitting trot. 

    The sitting 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. 

    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.250px Transversus abdominis 

    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. Training out of the saddle with core exercises will solve many "in the saddle" posture problems. To be able to ride well a rider first needs to learn how to stabilize their lower leg.

    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 upright posture while the core and legs move with the two beat movement of the horse. By understanding the actions required it is easier to work out which muscles and which movement patterns to train in order to achieve the skill of the sitting trot.

    How To Ride A Horse.The Sit Trot

      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.(This is a great technique but only with a skilled handler and teacher). 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.

     Learn to Core crunch. (Not an Ab Crunch). Many think the sitting 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 controls the Core hold bounce as much as the breathing and the seat. All my pupils learn the "Core Crunch" before any other core movement pattern. The next 18 movement patterns are specific to horse riders and horse riding. These patterns are unique to my Applied Posture Riding program and have become one of the most successful training patterns and programs for horse riders to learn how to sit the trot.

    How To Ride a Horse.The Sit Trot

    The benefits of this training are 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 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 they 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.

    LIKE and follow me on the Applied Posture Riding Facebook page for tips and advice and fill in the subscribe form here on the website to stay in touch.

    Enjoy your riding and good luck Annette Willson Author Applied Posture Riding  

  • How To Stretch Your Hamstrings & How Not To As A Horse Rider

    The popular thought in riding is that the core muscle is the key to good riding. This is true and is another topic to discuss.

    DSC 0005websizeWell, this is true but the Hamstrings are the underestimated muscle riders have little knowledge about. If the DSC 0028websizeHamstring muscle is not engaged the leg will hang straight, (photo on the left). The heel will not sit under the hip and often the heels will also be higher than the toes. This is a resting posture for the rider, not self-carriage posture.

    We all know this is not the correct alignment for good riding posture. In the photo on the right, the rider has engaged her Hamstring muscle and also triple flexion of her hips, knee, and ankle. This is one of the 18 movement patterns I teach riders.

    The Hamstrings are one of the most engaged muscles in Dressage Riding, recreational riding, and western riding. The Jump rider also uses their Hamstrings but in a different mechanical way.

    So let's look at the Hamstrings Muscle in more detail.

    The Hamstrings are attached to the Tibia and Fibula behind the knee and to the Ischial Tuberosity (seat bone) in the Buttock. This muscle has three main actions in riding. In running the Hamstrings has different actions.

    1. If the hip is stable (seat of the rider) the Hamstrings will bend the knee, this engages the lower leg for aids.

    20869805 hamstrings anatomy muscles2. If the knee is stable the Hamstrings will tilt the pelvis or draw it closer to the knee joint. This will allow a rider to engage a deeper seat for aids.

    3. To apply lateral aids the Hamstrings will assist in stabilizing the pelvis as the lower leg applies an aid on one side and on the opposite side the Hamstrings will stabilize the pelvis in conjunction with the core muscle.

    So it is clear the lower leg is moved by the Hamstrings and the seat is stabilized by the Hamstrings.

    • When a  rider kicks, they use their Hamstrings.
    • When a rider needs to apply more pressure when applying an aid they use their Hamstrings.
    • When a rider needs to engage more pressure (deeper seat) through their pelvis they use their Hamstrings.
    • Of course, all of these movements incorporate many other muscles that are synchronized to obtain the correct action.
    • The ability to independently isolate each muscle will give the rider more control of their body in the saddle.

    DSC 0092

    Learning How To Use The Hamstrings through Rider Specific Movement Patterns will give a rider exceptional skills in the saddle. I teach this in my Applied Posture Riding Membership Program.

    Poor balance when riding is a major cause for horses to miss behave and or become sore through their back and mouth. A stable rider with a good strong core and lower leg strength and length will ride with better balance and skill. The Hamstrings are an important muscle to achieve this.

    The Hamstrings are constantly shortened because as riders we use the muscle in the saddle.

    It is imperative to stretch the Hamstrings correctly to: 

    •  maintain flexibility through the lower back
    •  maintain good muscle health. 
    • to relieve the pressure through the disc in the lower back
    • to allow the rider to use the muscle correctly.

    It is important to stretch the Hamstring not only correctly but also safely. Many riders have back pain and stretching the Hamstrings in certain positions will stress the lower back and add to your pain.


    1. Stretch with a straight back.

    2. Stretch with a safe point to hold onto.

    3. Stretch for up to three minutes at a time. (daily at first and reduce to 2-3 times a week).

    4. Stretch to mild pain or discomfort.

    5. No pain no gain only applies if you know what the pain means!



  • Physiotherapy Rider Clinic

    250px Transversus abdominisThis clinic is a One Day Unmounted Rider Biomechanics and Physiotherapy Clinic. 

    All riders attend an unmounted training education day. (no horses).

    The whole group stays for the whole day. 

    I recommend following up with a mounted clinic at a future date to apply and progress the training and techniques.

    The whole day is about Rider Biomechanics and Physiotherapy advice and what is involved in training the posture for riding.


    • You will learn about the Anatomy Of The Riding Posture.
    • You will learn about The Riding Muscles and Their Function in Riding.
    • I will discuss The Transverse Abdominal (TVA) muscle in detail and its relevance to riding.
    • I will teach you "The Core Crunch". This is the starting point for all of your training.

    Movement pattern 1 compressed

    This is the starting point for all of your training.

    The Core Crunch is the first Movement Pattern you will learn, there are 18 more specific to riding.

    Muscle Testing is important and once you have the Core Crunch you will then test all of the major riding muscles.

    • You will also perform a simple test for your balance.
    • You will learn the difference between an exercise and a Movement Pattern and how to apply them to your riding.
    • I will talk about injury, work, habits, and resting postures and riding.
    • I include a session on the injury, age-related changes, pain management, and the use of braces.
    • I will talk about My Jargon. My program has been designed by me, therefore learning my language is relevant.
    • What is a Core Crunch and Coordinated Breathing?
    • What is a Movement Pattern?
    • What Is Independent Isolation?
    • What is a Resting Posture and What Does Self Carriage Mean?

    My Unique Jargon When Teaching Riders will be addressed.

    • What is the difference between a Training Aid and an Invisible Aid and the Sloth Aid?

    Once you have the above information we can move onto learning the Specific Movement Patterns I have designed for the horse rider.

    APR movement patterns

    The Movement Patterns will teach you how to apply Rider Biomechanics to your riding.

    • I will demonstrate exercises for different body parts to train strength.
    • I will also give Advanced Strengthening Exercises for the future.
    • We can explore the OOV and The Body Blade for daily routines.
    • Managing injury and individual problems will be included during the session.
    • At the end of the day, you will have a completely new and specific way of training yourself for riding.

    I absolutely guarantee this is a clinic like no other you have attended or looked at.

    Included in the cost of the clinic is the "Applied Posture Riding The Fundamentals of Riding" manual.(value $100)

    This workshop is about finding out about your problems and you as the rider, not your horse.

    At the end of this clinic, you will know everything about you and what you need to do to ride with skill and fun.

    Ongoing support via email or by phone is also offered.

    As a Physiotherapist, I am qualified in all Rider Biomechanics, Injury, and Rehab.

    • I am able to offer riders professional information and detailed individual assessments not offered by a riding instructor or personal trainer.
    • I am able to give medical advice where needed and offer ongoing support.
    • I am able to prescribe, fit, and supply the correct horse rider brace and exercises where needed.
    • I am able to assess what you think of your riding, what your instructor says, and what I find and fix it.
    • I am able to prescribe specific horse rider exercises for you.
    • What Is Required?

    For this clinic, the following is required

    • Your own physio gym ball, the correct size is mid-thigh height.
    • A length of theraband,
    • Wear sports clothes, not skirts or jeans.
    • Sandshoes or bare feet will be fine.

    The One day workshop is $250 per rider

    Maximum of 15 unmounted riders

    The One Day Mounted Clinic can be arranged at a date in the future. This format gives you the best assessment, training, and education package  I offer. If you try and pack too much into your training without the basics then you will not get the ultimate results. This is the ideal clinic for a club to offer its members. It is suitable for all riders from beginners to elite. We all use the same muscles and we all have similar problems unrelated to your riding but directly affects you riding,

    If you want to host a  Clinic contact me directly to arrange dates,

  • The Horse Riding Posture Trained

    First, we will look at the ideal posture we all should aim for and then look at what poor posture looks like, then I am going to talk about how your posture impacts your riding and how you can fix you for riding. To understand what the ideal horse riding posture is, we need to look at the standing posture, the sitting posture, and the working posture.

    As humans, we spend many hours in different, but ultimately the same postures. The way we work rest and play do have an impact on our posture in general but also our horse riding posture. Age, injury, and what we do repetitively impact our riding posture. The horse riding posture requires symmetry, flexibility, endurance, and strength in all parts of the body. It is essential to train the body for horse riding and learn what is required for the horse riding posture.

    But first, I think it is important to look at what is good posture and also what your posture is. The outcome is the same for all of us as riders, but we are all different to start with. Gender, size, weight, flexibility, tone, injury, age, and passion all influence our best horse riding posture. What we do for a living impacts us most of all, though.

     So what is the Ideal Posture?

    Slumped and Upright Standing Posture    With ideal posture, your head sits on top of your neck and shoulders. It is balanced with minimal demand on your neck muscles and joints for support. It should sit centrally so the muscles in the front and sides and back of the head are all working equally. The curve of your neck is concave forward as in the photo on the right here.

    Your chin should be down and not poking forward. The line of your shoulders, ears, and hips must be in the same vertical plumb line. This line follows down through the knees and ankles. This is the ideal posture in standing.

    This alignment allows the muscles and joints to work in the best mechanical way. It is important to remember though we rarely just stand around in this great looking posture, as humans, we are mostly moving when we are upright. The posture of the upper body in standing is the same ideal posture we want when sitting in the saddle.

    We want our body upright and straight, but we also need it to be strong and stable enough to move with the horse and have the stability to allow the arms and legs to move independently. So before we look at the horse riding posture lets look at poor postures and how this affects us in our daily lives and especially our riding posture.

    The Ideal Horse-Riding Posture Can Be Trained In Every Horse Rider!

    So What Is A Poor Posture?

    There are many examples of poor posture, sway back, bow legs, flat back, pigeon toes, chicken neck, and much more we have all seen in each other. Typically though the slumped posture is the most common. This is the most common because people tend to be lazy and don't stand up straight as often as we should. The longer we slump in the stand and in sitting the weaker our support muscles become and the posture becomes the norm.

    This posture will cause pain in every person at some point in their lives. If we spend time working in these postures then repetitive injuries tend to creep in earlier. Back pain is the most common. Pain inhibits the postural muscles and the problem self-feeds and becomes worse. As a Physiotherapist, I see this pattern often. As a horse rider, the only way to fix the horse riding posture is to fix your standing posture.

    Using the plumb line we can examine how deviations from the ideal line can result in poor posture, pain, stiffness, and injury from repetitive movements in poor alignment.  The aim of all of this though is to identify what your posture is and then train you how to fix it, so the final outcome for you is to have good posture out of the saddle and in the saddle. Applied Posture Ridingis a great program to teach you this.

    The Horse-Riding Posture Needs To be Trained To be the best it can Be

    Your job has a big impact on your posture. Manual workers spend hours bent over or lifting repetitively. If you are a desk worker or spend many hours driving then you will most likely have a forward head posture with tight shoulders and a poking neck, you may suffer headaches or shoulder pain or back pain. This all affects your daily life and especially affects your horse riding posture.

    Unless you learn how to correct this daily working position then you will ride in the same position. Your instructor will spend hours telling you to "sit up". As mentioned above if our starting point is poor then we need to assess and identify the individual problems you have in order to fix them. A riding instructor does not have the knowledge to do this. Riders who have a weakness will have a tightness somewhere else.

    Apr 3The forward head posture and round shoulders are the most common posture when riding. These riders will need to stretch the muscles that are tight and strengthen the weak muscles. There are detailed self-tests for horse riders in the Applied Posture Riding Membership Program.

    ALL riders need to strengthen their core muscles and learn how to use their core in the saddle. The core muscle is the single most important muscle for posture control. The tests for theses muscles are easy and can be done by you. Applied Posture Riding program has a file on how to test the Horse Riding Muscles.

    Every horse rider needs to be able to use their arms and legs independently of their trunk. This is actually what is meant by the term independent seat. Riders who are tight and stiff back will have problems with moving with their horse and tend to jar up. Their instructors often tell them to "soften through the back". This is a very common problem that cannot be fixed in the saddle.

    As humans, we are not ambidextrous, but as horse riders, we are expected to be. The over-use of our dominant side will be evident in the saddle and also reflect on how our horse goes to both reins. Horse riders need to train both sides to be equal in the saddle. This is a very easy training program and can be done simply every day while doing other stuff.

    The Horse-Riding Posture And Older Riders.

    Older riders with arthritic joints or past injuries need to protect themselves from further pain and damage but at the same time keep movement and strength for riding. Riders returning from injury especially a back injury need to perform specific exercises to regain strength and confidence before they get in the saddle.

    Pain is an inhibitor for the core. The core will switch off to work if a person is suffering back pain and the core is a must for riding. Many riders return to riding and realize they are not as safe and confident as they used to be. Horse riders must train the horse riding posture to be the best rider they can be.

     Some people hold the reins between the baby and ring fingers—either way, is okay. Sit tall and relaxed, again many riders need to be taught how to do this. Don’t stiffen your back, there is a difference between erect and upright. If you learn how to achieve this, then all you have to do is breathe and be patient as your body uses new muscles and develops awareness.

    The brain also needs to practice this posture so the movement pattern becomes natural, not new. Practice does make perfect, so expect to correct yourself frequently as you ride until your 'perfect seat' becomes perfectly natural.

    This posture and the movement patterns use for riding can and need to be trained specifically for horse riding. To sum it all up, if we train our posture out of the saddle and aim for a very strong functional core as well as a strong natural upright posture then our riding posture will be better. But, to be a great rider with confidence, skill stability and talent horse riders need to train the movement patterns for riding to train the brain to be able to do these movements, naturally. The independent deep seat and the ability to apply independent leg, seat, and rein aids is a learned skill.

    Pain, injury, and age and habit all affect the skills of the rider. Test yourself and fix yourself. Aim to be great and be great and have that great horse riding posture you want.

    Have a look at my Applied Posture Riding Membership Programas well as follow me on Facebook,.

    Good luck and enjoy you riding Annette Willson    

  • Training The Horse Rider To Ride, Train and Compete

    Rider Biomechanics is a growing industry.

    There is new research out all the time to prove that training your core and your riding muscles has a significant effect on your riding and on your horse.  It has been proven that unmounted, correct rider specific Movement Patterns will train you to be a better rider than any Pilates class or repetitive exercises you have been given by a personal trainer. You will have changes immediately and then build your skills. Once your posture has been reset you can apply this in the saddle.

    When you have established your new posture with symmetry, core strength, and function your horse will also become balanced and can enjoy being ridden. The fighting will stop and the fun will begin.

    You cannot fix your posture in the saddle, it has to be trained out of the saddle. By training your core and fixing your muscle imbalances out of the saddle you will correct your own little habitual muscle problems.

    • you will stop confusing your horse and blocking him with your asymmetry's
    • you will be able to sit upright and engage your seat effectively
    • you will be able to apply your lower leg with consistent correct aids
    • you will stop using the reins for balance and allow your horse to move forward
    • jumping will become fun and safe as you stay with your horse over fences 

    None of this will happen unless you identify your own muscle imbalances, your own weak areas, your own areas of stiffness, and your own habits. Yes, we all have habits to be reset. Injury has a huge effect on your riding as does having a baby or just having a break from riding to live your life.

    Riders need a new way of training, but it needs to be correct training. Elite riders already do this, naturally.

    Unmounted correct rider specific Movement Patterns will train you to use the riding muscles as an elite rider does. By training using Movement Patterns rather than exercises, you will have more efficient use of your time to gain success.   You will have changes immediately and then build your skills.

    The Core is the Basic Training For All Riders.  Dressage is the Basic Training For All Horses.

    • Do you know if you have a weak core?  Yes! Do you know how to test it? No!
    • Do you suffer from lower back pain and been told to quit riding? Yes!
    • Do you know how to train yourself for riding? No!

    Correct Testing of all your muscles and then applying the correct movement patterns is what you need. Many riders are doing floor exercises and attending classes and still not changing their riding! Why? 

    • Exercises are not enough!
    • You need to have a starting point
    • You need to know your own  muscle imbalances
    • You need to know your own areas of weakness and stiffness
    • You need to know just how dominant or one-sided you are with your posture

    You will have habits and resting posture that affects your riding.

    Do you know what they are?

    You will have micro muscle injuries due to working with horses and from your daily living activities, do you know your shoulder will be developing an inflammatory condition as you use it in a repetitive way.

    All of these problems need to be identified, self-tested, and then fixed.

    My name is Annette Wilson I am a Physiotherapist, I am a retired elite rider and Rider Biomechanics and Posture Training is my specialty. My program Applied Posture Riding Membership Program is a complete program to train the rider for riding and for a better way of living. Applied Posture Riding is all about YOU the rider. This is not a program for your horse it is all about the rider.

     Applied Posture Riding is a complete program to self-test and self-fix your riding posture.  

       Apr photo AMWThis Unique program will teach you the fundamentals of the riding posture. Most importantly how to test your muscles prior to starting, how to strengthen, train, and use your core in daily life and in the saddle. This program will teach you how to train balance and coordination. This program will teach you how to stretch and have symmetry and independent isolation of all your riding muscles and aids. The movement patterns are the secret to this program. Designed by an elite rider with musculoskeletal education.

    The rider here (left) has lost her lower leg balance. This has caused her toes to push down, her foot to slide deeper into the stirrup and her body to tilt forward. In this case, we are using a neck strap to stop the horse from being gobbed and started balance exercises out of the saddle as well as in the saddle. A gym program or a Pilates workout will get you fit, but what about riding skills and riding principles?

    Balance is an assumed skill. Do you know your balance is good?

    Balance is lost due to injury, age, stress, loss of power, reflexes, and many other physiological reasons. Many riders do not even know their balance is poor until their horse starts to react to their riding. Balance for riding is a  learned skill, it is tested with a very simple test and then trained to apply various exercises.

    Balance requires strength and synchronization of all your postural muscles. Being able to ride the canter and the sitting trot requires a good balance.

    A strong functional core, as well as a supple, flexible, pelvis, and lower back, are key skills for good balance. Riding with an independent seat is only achieved once a rider has stability through the lower leg and core and then training for good balance. Riding with an independent seat is only achieved once a rider has achieved skills in balance,  suppleness, and stability through the core and the lower leg.

    Training balance, your core, and become supple and flexible are just three of the many objectives you will achieve following my Applied Posture Riding Membership Program.

    These are essential for the injured rider as well as the weak rider.   Your posture and riding skills all start out of the saddle. Every rider has their own issues...even elite riders.  Stiffness, weakness lack of stability, injury, pain, and age-related changes all affect how we ride and all can be fixed. Your horse has to work through the same problems, so why not you.

    Now more questions. 

    1. Does your lower leg swing out when you rise trot?  This is easily fixed with a simple movement pattern.

    2. Do you drop one shoulder when you apply a canter aid? You won't once you know how to apply your core and lower leg in sync with each other.

    3. Have you been injured? The Injured rider has many more problems to address. Returning to riding after injury requires professional advice and a specific training program. You can ride again if you follow sensible advice and exercises.

    4. Have you ever suffered from a back injury or had a baby or had your shoulder ripped apart from a fall or a horse trauma? As a Physiotherapist and Horse Rider consultant, I treat and prescribe rehab exercises and support riders through their return to riding.

    Isn't It Time To Focus On You.....The Rider??

     You can train yourself to be a better rider if you know HOW.  I suggest you spend a small amount of time learning about the horse riding posture, the skills required, and then learn about you and your body. Learn how to test yourself for stiffness, weakness, balance, and independent movement patterns (in your own home) and then learn how to fix your problems...It is really quite easy!

     Progress in learning specific strength training exercises for your core, your back, and your lower leg, and your riding will improve even further. Move onto the advanced training exercises and learn how to apply your training in the saddle...The strength, balance, and symmetry you achieve will be evident in your riding skills. The outcome is your horse will break his habits of stiffness, weakness, and be able to move with suppleness and rhythm. If you are a good rider can ride any horse if you are a poor rider you will ruin every horse!.

    It is all about the riders' skills and ability to apply independently balanced limb and seat aids.

    If you have any questions contact Annette Willson. We all have the same passion. Applied Posture Riding Membership Program is unique and every rider following it has been successful.