Riding on the side of a dirt road. Trot.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, March 29, 2008 09:13 PM
The exercises below do not include the description of actual aids for the movements. Mostly I point out what can be done on the road and what problems can arise. If you haven't read the last blog about walk work on the road I strongly recommend that. It contains descriptions of general behavior problems you may encounter which I will not repeat here. To read the previous blog click here. Evaluation of footing should be done more carefully to avoid unnecessary concussion or lost of balance.
Trot away from home - Horses usually trot some what slow away from home. They are eager to slow down and stop from very light aids. You can use this tendency to practice very subtle communication. On the other hand you need to insist on going forward with impulsion and energy. And that may require stronger aids to convince your horse to move forward. If you are able to create trot with a lot of impulsion and then easily bring your horse back with very light aids you have a way to teach your horse to use his haunches and collect himself. Ask to slow down or walk or halt only when you feel your horse moving forward with energy without you constantly banging his sides.
Trot toward home - Trot toward home can become complicated if your horse gets excited and strong. Be extra careful and make sure you have worked enough on walk-halt transitions toward home before you start trot work. The issues that arise when trotting toward home include speeding, lost of balance, very fast tempo, lost of control to slow down. With a green horse work on lots of transitions to walk and only a few steps of trot. Keep your trot rather small and slow and increase the power gradually. However, make sure you are not holding your horse with tight reins. It is better to trot just a few steps on a soft rein and then ask for walk then hold him trying to keep control over trot. Take your time to train your horse to stay with you mentally. May be you spend this spring doing lots of transitions from slow trot to walk, then next year you will work on trot lengthening and still be able to control the trot. Always listen what your horse is "telling" you and move forward in training according to his progress. Do not try to skip steps it will only slow down the schooling in the long run.
Lateral work - The same principles and varieties of exercises I have described for walk leg-yields can be done in trot. The footing must be soft and not slippery. Working facing away from home is easier then toward home. Do not work on leg-yields toward home until you are able to control the trot. With more advanced horse you can work on shoulder-ins, travers, renvers and half-passes.
Half steps - If your horse is ready for collected trot you can use the horse's willingness to come back when faced away from home to work on half-steps (very collected energetic steps of trot - preparation for piaffe). From collected trot ask for shorter steps without losing impulsion and rhythm of the trot. Ask only for a few steps and then let your horse trot forward. Ask mostly with your thighs, sending energy up. Use light touches with the lower legs if you need to sustain the energy. Close your hand momentarily if you feel your horse is pushing into the hand too hard. Do not hold your horse with traction on the reins no matter how light that traction may be!
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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