The western jog was designed to be a slower, more comfortable gait. The horse’s legs perform a two-beat, diagonal movement as he carries himself in a relaxed state. While the gait should be relatively easy to sit, it can be difficult depending on the horse and level of the rider. Follow these tips to master the jog and look like a pro in the show ring.
- Stretch before mounting! Warm up the muscles in your legs by doing lunges. Let your thighs stretch as you bend one knee and keep the other leg straight, then reverse.
- Practice on a horse that has a slow, smooth jog. It will be much easier to learn to sit if the horse is relaxed and doesn’t have a hollow back. A lesson on the lunge line can be helpful, as the rider doesn’t have to focus on too much at once.
- Ditch the stirrups. Allow your legs to stretch far down by lifting them from the saddle and then letting them hang down in a relaxed state. This will also give you a deeper seat.
- When you pick up your stirrups make sure they are not too short. You don’t want to have bent knees that force you above the saddle.
- Relax the muscles in your lower back and don’t grip with your thighs or knees. Try your hardest to follow the movement. Sometimes it helps to hold the horn to successfully sink deep in the saddle.
- Open your chest and sit tall without arching your back.
- Remember to breathe. Getting frustrated or tense will only make you bounce even more. Take a few deep breathes and stay calm no matter how ugly things get.
Practice makes perfect! Keep at it and your jog will be catching the judge’s eye for all the right reasons.
(Originally published in January 2017).