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Allowing posting at med and ext trot through Fourth

Natalie Lamping is proposing that riders have the option to post the medium and extended trots in USDF tests (so through fourth level). She’s tracking interest via this FB post:



I think it’s great, but only if it’s a separate division. Mediums and extendeds are almost always different when the rider posts as opposed to sits. The degree of collection is usually much better when the rider sits. I don’t see where it would be much of an advantage, competition-wise, to post.


I don’t generally think it would be. But it would be helpful to people who have a physical difficulty with sitting that much movement. In my mind, it’s kind of like the rationale for allowing bitless bridles - it doesn’t confer an advantage, so why not allow it for people/horses that need or prefer it.


I’m all for it, but I would want to see it as a separate division so that the playing field is closer to level for both types of riders.

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Why stop at 4th if going to allow posting? The rules were changed to allow posting at first level weren’t they or am I just old with a wonky memory?

You are allowed to post at 1st now

That’s my point. The rules were previously changed, I just don’t remember when exactly.

Sorry, wasn’t trying to argue - just confirming that they were changed to allow posting at 1st.


No harm no foul.

Posting of any or all of trot is allowed at First. It’s not a separate division and IMO it doesn’t need to be.

The new proposal is for only the medium and extended trots to have the option to post in USDF tests through Fourth Level. Judges are focused on the horse’s movement and riders would be given the option to post or to sit depending on whichever produces the best gait quality for their horse. It’s a positive development for the welfare of the horse and allows riders with back pain etc to stay in the game.

Atlatl asked “Why stop at Fourth?” Because USDF tests stop at Fourth. Going above that means getting the FEI requirements changed. And I suspect that’s not going to happen and isn’t as needed.


Because that’s the end of USDF’s remit. Beyond that, the FEI writes the tests and can change the directives (which they won’t).


I am not so sure about that. I have been riding First level off and on since about 1983, AND I am pretty conscientious about tracking rule changes, and I don’t remember any rule change about sitting the trot at First.

I can’t swear the rule never changing, but I am definitely skeptical.

Also, there is a difference between a rules change, which is a big deal, and the specifications on the individual tests, which can change every 4 years without a rule change.

ETA that, in a quick check of the current rules, I find nothing in the current RULES about posting or sitting at First Level.


What does this even mean? Is there a separate division for first and training? Does there need to be?

How does posting or not posting make the playing field unlevel? Who gets the advantage?

Or is this just sour grapes?


@Janet - The 2011 tests changed to allow the option of sitting or posting the trot at 1st level. You’re correct that it’s not a rule change.

Old Dressage Today article explaining the changes - https://dressagetoday.com/instruction/the-new-dressage-tests-12459/


I’m wondering why you would think this is sour grapes. Sour grapes about what?

Do you show? If you do, you must know that there are separate divisions for Jr/YR, AA, and Open. It’s not hard to understand.

To FURTHER clarify, I think that most mediums and extended trots will get marked down when the rider is posting, not because of the posting, but because the quality of the trots can easily decline when the rider is not sitting the trot. You can’t ride from your seat very well when you are posting. I think a separate division would be an advantage to the riders who, for whatever reason, want or need to post the big trots.

By the way, I sit.


AA coming 70, backed off of FEI rides a couple years ago. Bunch of reasons including some lower back/leg issues. In the interim, have 4th level freestyle put together. I struggle to sit the beast’s extended trot and the more I bounce, the heavier he gets on the forehand, thus pulling me out of my seat. That obviously carries into the next movement or two until we get regrouped. A small posting motion does make us both happier and the collection is better too. So I am in the YES category.


For the welfare of the horse and/or the rider’s health, yes to posting the medium and extended trot in all the USEF tests. If you can sit the medium and extended trots well then you(g) don’t have to worry that the person posting has an advantage.


If that was directed at me, you completely misunderstood what I wrote. I don’t think anyone has declared that they think a person posting has an advantage.

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Former professional, so yeah, I know about divisions. Why are there no separate divisions for the levels that sitting is already optional? Because not necessary. There is no real advantage one way or another if the horse is going well, EXCEPT that it can be much kinder to the horse to post depending on horse/rider combo.

And you are mistaken in your statement that the quality of the trot decreases when a rider posts. If that were true, there wouldn’t be silly exercises like posting in passage to IMPROVE the gait, we wouldn’t start a horse in lengthening and mediums and extensions in posting to allow the most freedom and give confidence with an absolutely metronomic rider rhythm. And those are just a couple of examples of how posting is actually an advantage.

But the absolute bottom line is horse welfare. People are going to move up levels regardless of whether they sit perfectly or not. Give the dang horses a break and allow riders to choose (in the moment and not having to declare a whole stupid separate division weeks in advance) if, that day, that test, that medium or extended, should be sat or posted.


If no-one has an advantage except the horse, why on earth would there need to be separate divisions? There would not.