One of the things that a lot of Daily Strides listeners have in common is the fact that the time they have to devote to riding and improving their riding skills, is generally in short supply… And rides can become something that are squeezed in between the million other things we have going on in our lives.
In times like this, when we are riding, we are set out looking to achieve an active, working trot… But due to lots of different factors, this can end up just ‘running’ around the arena, your horse resembling an arrow of sorts; the the front end is getting lower and lower with each passing stride, while the back end is getting completely left behind!
Unfortunately, what usually happens next is the one thing which exasperates this ‘effect’ even further and that is hauling on the reins; dropping an anchor if you will. The reason this just makes the whole situation worse is by doing this, you and your horse begin to engage in a ‘tug of war’ of sorts and, quite frankly, being involved in such a game with a 600 kg animal is an exhausting endeavor!
Often, as riders, we can confuse speed with impulsion… We think that by asking for the trot to go 100 mph around the arena, we are really working our horses… Pushing forward with each passing stride. The truth however is that while we may be creating energy, we are letting it all ‘fall’ out the front end of our horse, never contained and put to use in any form conductive ‘good’ work.
The first part of mastering trotting without running is imagining in your mind that your horse’s back end is coming more and more underneath him… While his front end is becoming slightly higher and more elevated, as well as light in your hand.
This is the picture you should work towards continually as you ride. What is important to remember with this picture, is the ‘lightness in the hand’ part. This cannot be achieved by hauling on the reins in the eternal tug of war.
I challenge you to not only change how you think of working trot, but also what you are physically doing with your body to ask your horse to begin using himself more.
I have written more detailed blog posts on this topic that will help you to truly ride a good quality trot that you may be interested in reading:-
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