Horses can be ridden at various gaits, with each gait having a different beat or rhythm. The trot is a two-beat gait in which the horse's diagonal pairs of legs move in unison with each other. In other words, the right front and left hind legs move together and the left front and right hind legs move together. The trot is faster than a walk but slower than a canter.
In order to trot on a horse for the first time, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. First, make sure you are riding in a safe area where both you and the horse feel comfortable. Hold the reins firmly, but make sure that there is some slack in them. You should be able to see a slight loop in the reins on each side of the horse's neck. Your horse should be walking calmly forward.
When you are ready to trot, make sure that you are giving your horse a loose rein, and then gently squeeze the horse's sides with your lower legs. Be sure to use equal amounts of pressure with both legs; using more pressure on either side would cause the horse to move sideways instead of forward. As soon as your horse speeds up, even a small amount, release the leg pressure. If after 2-3 seconds, he does not respond but keeps walking or stops, increase your leg pressure. Wait 2-3 seconds again. If he still does not respond by speeding up and beginning to trot, nudge him gently with your heels. Don't kick - just wiggle your heels against his side until he begins to trot. Be patient and remember that your horse may be learning this along with you!
Once the horse is trotting calmly and consistently, reward him by releasing the leg pressure, sitting deeply in the saddle, and continuing to give him a loose rein.
The trot can be ridden in one of two ways. Sitting the trot means just what it says: You are sitting deep in the saddle, allowing the bounce of the trot to be absorbed by your stomach and back muscles. The second way to ride the trot is by posting, or rising slightly out of the saddle with every other beat of the trot. When the outside shoulder moves forward, allow the horse's movement to lift you out of the saddle, and when the shoulder moves back, sit down again.
By practicing the trot cue several times with consistency and rewarding your horse each time he responds correctly, you will be trotting like a pro in no time.