Most of the horses we use at Elk River Guest Ranch are quarter horses and therefore don't have the smooth, Cadillac-style trot like gaited horses. So, we ride and teach our guests to ride in a way that provides comfort to both the horse and rider while the horse goes into the "jogging" gait. Though, "posting" hasn't always been around. In fact, in trying to find the history behind the technique, I stumbled across three different stories.
While each of the stories may have an element of truth (not quite "myths" as the title of the blog suggests), one story appears to hold more weight than the others. Thus, in an effort to give you the back-story to posting, I'll give you each of the three, and then you can decide for yourself. Feel free to post your opinions about which holds the most validity in the comment box below. We'd love to hear from you!
1) The Postman-This story suggests that postmen carrying mail throughout different parts of the world would prefer using big, long-strided horses for speed. Unfortunately, these fast horses were also bouncy forcing the men to learn how to ride the trot by bouncing up with every other stride as opposed to bouncing with every bounce of the horse.
2) The Cavalry Man-The second theory implies that posting was invented when the cavalry men posted the trot for endurance's sake. Posting up as the horse's right leg was stretched out front would work one side of the horse's hind legs more than the other. So, the rider would ride on the right diagonal (up as the horse's right front leg was forward) for a while and then switch to the left diagonal in order to optimize the amount of work each leg was expending.
3) The Postilion-The last story says that the fanciest of European royalty and aristocracy would opt to have a horseback rider driving the carriage/coach's team while mounted on one of the pulling horses as opposed to a low-life coachmen riding up top with the rich folks. Eventually, these "post boys" discovered it was much easier to stand up in their stirrups with every other bounce of the horse as opposed to getting jostled around. "As time went by, 'posting' became the accepted way for aristocrats to ride their fancy horses up and down the urban bridle paths like Rotten Row in London or Central Park in New York City during the Victorian era."