Should I Do Sitting Trot In my Dressage Test?

Joanna Fisher
Joanna Fisher

International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares her thoughts on the importance of practising sitting trot for dressage.

I do like a question that covers a few aspects in one go! So thank you.

So to answer the question “Should I Do Sitting Trot in my Dressage Test”  first, competing in a Novice or higher level I would think it would look neater and more professional if the rider is sitting. In Prelim however, it is not necessary to sit in the trot work, and staying in rising can help the rider maintain rhythm.

This is however totally down to the riders preference, there is no written law on the lower level tests.

From a rider training aspect then I would suggest working at home on the sitting trot. For starters, it allows the rider to focus a little more on their hands and rider position if they are not rising, as it’s certainly one less thing to think about! Also when sitting it allows your leg to stay quieter and then your aids will feel clearer to the horse.

A lot of riders find keeping their lower leg totally still in rising trot very difficult and a big moving pony or horse can throw your balance and cause the lower leg to come on every sitting stride.

Think from your horses perspective, they have to concentrate on touch communication!!

So any accidental extra aid could be confused for a command.

The higher up the levels you go, the more necessary it is to sit to the trot, as the riders position and body weight contributes considerably to the training.

So my advice is get the practise in now so you are ready for the big stuff!

Good luck!


Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.

It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website: She also has a dressage website which can be found at

For more advice from Joanna, why not visit her other blog posts here:

Do I need a dressage saddle to do dressage

How Can I make my Pony Stop Leaning on me?

Help My Dressage Circles are oval

What Age should I teach my horse flying changes?

How to turn a leg yield into a half pass

How can I teach my horse shoulder in?

How should I prepare for a dressage test?




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