Everyone knows that sitting trot is tough — how on earth are you supposed to look elegant and effortless yet remain a positive influence on your horse? Most importantly, how do you avoid bouncing all over the place? Here’s some helpful advice on how to achieve it from top young dressage rider Joanna Thurman-Baker.

Joanna (pictured), 20, is part of the World Class programme and competes a variety of horses to international level, which includes two rides given to her by Carl Hester, who also helps her train. Last year Joanna was part of the British team at the young rider European championships riding Highcliffe Apollo, with whom she is now competing up to grand prix.

So what’s her advice?

1. Lunge lessons — These are so invaluable. You can learn to have an independent seat and how to sit and flow with the horse’s movement.

2. Pilates — Learning how to engage your core muscles off the horse will help strengthen them and allow you to switch these muscles on when you are in sitting trot.

3. Take away your stirrups — This may seem like torture at the time, but when you have the stirrups back, you will appreciate how easy sitting trot is with them.

4. Most importantly, don’t try sitting trot until your horse is ready. They need to be soft in their back and accepting of the rider’s seat.

Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these dressage competitions available to enter where you can show off what you’ve learnt…

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 25 August
Venue: Speedgate Farm, Longfield
Details: “Our dressage competitions are held on our two recently resurfaced 60×20 fibre mix arenas, with hot and cold refreshments available. This competition has prelim and novice classes.”
Enter now

British Dressage

Date: 26 August
Venue: Bluegate Hall Farm, near Braintree
Details: “This competition has classes from prelim to advanced medium with some sections holding winter qualifiers.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 26 August
Venue: Kings Sedgemoor Equestrian Centre, near Bridgwater
Details: “This unaffiliated competition features classes ranging between into and medium.”
Enter now

Late afternoon/evening dressage

Date: 28 August
Venue: Todburn Equestrian Centre, Morpeth
Details: “This competition has classes from intro to elementary.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 29 August
Venue: Keysoe, Bedfordshire
Details: “Classes from intro to elementary, plus pick your own short and long arena tests.”
Enter now

Unaffiliated dressage

Date: 2 September
Venue: Netherton Equestrian Centre, Perth
Details: “This competition includes classes from intro up to advanced medium plus pick your own long arena dressage to music.”
Enter now

Visit equo.co.uk for full competition and training listings