This is one of the best explanation of a classical seat I’ve ever read. A couple of my students told me about it and thought it sounded exactly what they had been hearing during their lessons. It took the words right out of my mouth, except that I start students out with sitting trot and no stirrups on a lunge line. The article did mention that this doesn’t work. It works very well if the instructor is committed to patiently lunging the student and repeating the same thing over and over until the student is able to open the thighs and knees off of the horse. This openness allows the seat to drop down deep on the horse, keeping the legs straight down from the hip so as not to block the seat from staying in front or leading. It is necessary to hold on to the pommel to avoid holding on with the legs or knees. When your hold steadies you, you can let go but keep your hand resting on the pommel in case you need to hang on again after a few strides. Keep doing this until you can let go without holding on with the legs, thighs or knees. If you feel yourself start to pinch, grab hold of the pummel, allowing you to let go with the legs and begin the process again. This is a quick way to successful riding and learning the sitting trot right away. Be patient and just keep working on it until it is part of your muscle memory. It will be well worth your time and it will quicken your progress.

This is the best explanation of the seat I have ever read. It quotes my words when teaching. Thanks you Robin for pointing this out to me.

Thoughts on Dressage

Executing an effective and comfortable sitting trot is probably the most difficult challenge faced by amateur dressage riders. For most, it is hard to get your body in sync with the horse while still riding effectively. It is like the old hot and cold taps, where you can only have one or the other on at one time : )

The biggest mistake made by most amateurs is that they try to learn the sitting trot in one step. In other words, they try to go from not even being able to get in the rhythm  – all the way to being in perfect sync with the horse. Many riders try methods such as riding half a circle sitting and then back to rising, or another favourite, being lunged with no stirrups. Unfortunately, a lot of these traditional methods cause the rider to clamp up even more and give the…

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It is very important to let the legs and thigh drape over the horse like a willow tree. Open the thighs from the crotch creating a big upside down U. If you create the slightest A with your legs, which would mean that you would be closing the thighs, even ever so slightly, you will begin to bounce on the horse. He then bounces you instead of you bouncing him. That is when things fall apart.

Relax the body and allow the hips to lead the shoulders and the knees. Leading with the hips balances the rider and allows the rider to mark the tempo of the stride.

The back must be strong and tall, the head must be in erect alignment over the spine so the rider can feel the weight of the head in the butt bones.

There must be no hinges in the back when you ride. The butt and legs must both be soft.

The rider needs a slight bend in the knee to soften the lower leg. Softening the lower leg also makes a way for the motion of the horse to escape through the knee. The rider must feel the motion of the trot, an up-down, up-down beat. As you feel the down beat of the trot, relax down with it allowing the motion of the horse to drop down, allowing it to drop past your seat and out the knee. If you don’t allow the motion to drop past your seat it will bounce back up through the body. So allow it to drop past your seat and shed from your body out the knee.

Books One, Three, and Four can be purchased through paypal or by sending a check to

Carolyn Rose

849 Range Rd

Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426

For more information call 207-717-7701

Cost List

Book One                14.95    Balancing the Rider for Classical Dressage

Book Three            19.95    Backing the Young Horse for Classical Dressage

Book Four              29.95   A Book of Classical Dressage Training Through First Level


Total                    $64.85



Kaylee Clark here:
Indie did wonderful today, her canter has improved so much since my last post. No more scrambling, more balance in her canter. She is beginning to learn engagement. The statement I would like to make today is ” I am learning to be softer and softer on my reins. There is no end to the challenge of riding as if you have a silk thread!” I will post more of her so you can watch the transformation.
Leo also made more progress today with my softer hands.
Taking this to all my horses!!!

Follow Lydia Rose’s Training of Indie                                           Post # Two

Indie’s owner came to visit her to see how the training was going.  Lydia free lunged her, then lunged her with tack and side reins, then worked  her doing Piaffe.  Then Lydia brought her at the bleachers and had Kaylee sit on her and pat her rump and move all over with her legs and then  Lydia repeated the Piaffe work with Kaylee on Indie’s back.  Lydia and Kaylee had already spent time gradually getting her used to a rider just sitting on her.  Then I put Indie on a lunge line with Kaylee on her back at the walk.  Indie has become attached to Lydia, so she walked ahead of Indie so she  would feel secure.  We only did a very little so she wouldn’t get too nervous.  She was soooo good.
Her owner was pleased and proud of her horse. In the short time that she has been in for training (a little over a month), Indie has gone from a horse with no knowledge of what was expected of her, wild eyed and high strung, to a horse with calm attention and pride in herself and her work. We were so proud of Indie as well.
Indies training is following Book Three, “Backing the Young Horse”.
Follow Lydia Rose’s Training of Indie                                 Post # one

Indie, a Clydesdale cross with Dutch Harness, came in for training on Nov. 29th 2012, as a three year old that hadn’t had much handling.  That was a little tricky in the beginning, with her 16’2 hh stature with larger than usual bone structure.  Her nerves were on high alert, which resulted in passage, three feet into the air as her natural way of going.  It took a couple of hours loading her onto a trailer, and once arriving at Isaac Royal Farm, she decided that the cement floor in the isle was alive and the stalls just didn’t look like home, so we let her spend the night in the indoor arena, since the events of the day seemed to have been a little traumatizing.

Training began with teaching her to lead and respect Lydia’s space without stepping all over her feet, that needed patience and a time frame, along with lessons in free lungeing at walk, trot, and canter upon command.  Later Lydia introduced the saddle during her training sessions.  Once that was working well she added the bridle.  Once she was accustomed to the bit and allowing the bridle to be put on without resistance we added long, side reins during the free lungeing phase.  Lydia took each step slowly, giving Indie time to think about what was being asked of her and time to make decisions. When training horses, slow and patient is the only way to progress quickly.   That brings us up to Dec.22, 2012.

Saturday Dec. 22, 2012:

Lydia just finished working Indie, and her amazing touch with a young horse worked its magic as usual.  Today she put Indie on the lunge line for the first time.  She kept the long, side reins attached and it worked without incident.  Lydia only asked for walk and trot as this was a new introduction.  She quietly worked on the line responding to each command with ease and grace.   Indie’s high-spirited nervousness has settled down to quiet concentration, led by Lydia’s calm spirit in her classical approach to training.  We will keep you updated each week with Indie’s progress.

Students Make Progress

Saturday morning was so successful.
Robin was able to take her trot work to another level, she was able to lift and lead her horse to lightness, and suspension in her extended trot. (Rather than driving).  We were both high as kites.  So spectacular!
Caitlin was able to yield her young horse on a circle and yield him down the long side off the inside shoulder for the first time and ended her lesson by taking off her saddle and bridle and rode him free without his tack. They are wonderful together.
Kaylee did perfect one tempi changes on Victress.  First time she asked was a couple of weeks ago and they were perfect and I let her try them again and once again they were perfect.   Pretty good since neither horse or rider had ever done them before.  Kaylee listens carefully and works to get it right.  Such a good student.
Angela and Tonka have a wonderful Piaffe, they are really dancing together these days.
Chelsa rode Tonka and did an amazing job bringing him through the back. She sits perfect in her own balance making it easy for a horse to understand her.  Great Day!!

True balance is necessary for clear communication between you and your horse.  When communication is not clear it is always the fault of the rider.  When there is confusion, the rider must go back to the basics and analyze her balance to sort out the problems.  Riding can be a paradox of contradictions and without an unbounded consciousness of your body movements on top of a bouncing moving horse it isn’t possible to communicate clearly.  A good trainer will learn to go with the flow of her horse,  feeling his signals.  Usually letting go will create a quiet space for both of you to reconnect and begin again.  Doing less usually gives you more.  It is necessary to maintain a self critical attitude all the way to Grand Prix.

 What is Classical Dressage  Series # One

Classical Dressage presents a horse and rider in perfect harmony with ease and grace.  The question is how is this accomplished?  In order to have a quiet graceful connection with your horse you must first figure out how to handle the motion of the horse.  Riders will handle the motion in many different ways. You will see riders sending it up through the body to a bobbing head, others will send it wiggling through the spine, others will take it into the hip and flip the hip.  All of these methods of dealing with the motion of the horse will shed it at the end of its rippling journey through the body, but it doesn’t present a Classical picture of graceful balance.  In order to present a classical picture you need to shed the motion down the thigh and out the knee, or allow the motion of the horse to fall your thigh and drop out your knee.  Also your connection with your horses mouth must be soft, yet asking and giving.  Whatever aids you choose to use must be invisible.  Thus a horse and rider with a Classical Dressage appearance.

All horses are trained in Classical Dressage the Aspirant Way at Isaac Royal Farm.   Each rider, rides her horse with a classical seat of elegant balance.  This technique allows you to become one with your horse and ride through the levels of dressage with ease and grace.  It creates a talented rider that can feel what her horse needs.   Carolyn Rose has written a series of books that explain this Classical Training technique in detail.