How often do you think about your pony’s trot? Probably not that often! But, trot’s the pace you do most of your riding in, especially in dressage tests, so it’s super-important to make sure it’s active, rhythmical and consistent.
All about trot
Trot’s a two-beat pace and your pony uses his legs in diagonal pairs. When he’s trotting he should track up, which is when his hind feet step into the hoofprints left by his front feet. Although there are four different trot types, working trot is the one most often used, and a good working pace is vital to master extended, collected and medium trot.
The first thing to ask yourself is “Am I on the right diagonal?” Making sure you’re rising on the correct diagonal will help your pony to stay balanced and improve his trot. This is because your pony uses his hindlegs to power himself forward, and when he turns a corner he’ll take a lot more weight on his inside hind as it has to stretch further. Rising on the correct diagonal means you take your weight off his hindlegs and his back.
Exercise: Figure of eight
Riding a figure of eight can really help you ace diagonals as you’ll need to change them every time you cross over the centre line.
How to ride it
- Start on the right rein in trot, and ride a half 20m circle from A to X.
- As you ride over X, sit for an extra beat and ask your pony for left bend by changing your leg aids.
- Now ride a 20m circle left.
- When you get back to X change your diagonal and your pony’s bend again, then ride a half circle to A to finish the shape.
For more exercises to help improve your fave pony’s trot pick up a copy of November PONY, on sale 25 September.