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Stop Your Hands From “Posting The Trot”

Featured Image Credit: Savannah Brentnall

Submitted by member: Krista

I can’t keep my hands still when riding dressage. I have tried to fix this, but they move up and down when I post.

Answer by Verena

I have a couple tools and exercises to help you keep your hands quiet. First of all, the stronger your core and seat are, the easier it will be to stabilize your hands. It’s truly an art to keep a good supportive contact—to go with the horse but not balance on the reins.

reins through safety strap on saddle

Start by placing a bucking strap on the front of your saddle, then pull the reins through and hold the reins normally. This not only helps you keep your hands low, but it also teaches you to keep a steadier rein, thus creating better and quieter hands.

Another is taking a strap and looping it around your wrists once the hands are in the desired position. This allows the hands to stay together and straight.

rider holding whip to correct hand position on horse

Finally, try placing a whip sideways across the top of your hands once in the riding position and then hold the whip down with your thumbs. This will teach you in a hurry how to hold your hands quiet as neither the horse or rider appreciate a whip flopping all over the place 🙂

Riding is all about body control and self carriage for both the rider and the horse. The more you can control each other’s bodies in the correct way, the faster you can achieve supportive, quiet, and steady hands. It takes lots of practice and awareness. Hope these tips help.

Video Recommendations:

how to keep your hands still when riding a horse

An Exercise to Keep the Rider’s Hands Still
Susan Deal
Before quiet hands are developed in a rider, it is very common to see beginners at the trot “posting with their hands.” In this free video tidbit from from ANRC Level 5 Rider, National Judge, and Steward, Susan Deal, we are introduced to an exercise that corrects this position mistake before it becomes a bad habit.
Running Time:  1 minutes and 17 seconds

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Developing Good Hands
Bernie Traurig
In this topic Bernie discusses the vital role good hands play in the communication between rider and horse. Tactful, sensitive hands that are used with feeling can be developed using the exercises Bernie presents here.
Running Time:  11 minutes and 10 seconds

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riders position on the flat

Form Follows Function
Cynthia Hankins
Top trainer, rider, judge and clinician, Cynthia Hankins, shares with us her insight into some of the common bad habits riders inadvertently acquire. In addition to pointing out these habitual position flaws, Cynthia demonstrates the correct, classical form stamped by the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System.
Running Time:  26 minutes and 18 seconds

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improving a riders arm and hand position on their horse.

Developing Feeling In Your Arms And Hands
Val Renihan
In this topic Val Renihan shows us the exercises she uses with her students to encourage arms & hands that are flexible, shock-absorbers that follow the horse’s mouth during connection, maintain proper position and are sensitive – in a word, “Feeling.”
Running Time:  9 minutes and 26 seconds

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Verena Mahin

Verena is the owner and trainer at the California based VS Dressage Inc. She has had many successes at FEI level, competing and coaching through Grand Prix. In 2011 she coached two riders representing Puerto Rico at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Verena clinics all over the country. Learn more about her and how to book a clinic at:

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