Highland Pony Enthusiasts Club
Not logged in [Login ]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
Author: Subject: Trot question - any advice most welcome
Midge
Posting Freak
****




Posts: 2066
Registered: 10-2-2016
Location: Dorset
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2016 at 10:09 AM
Trot question - any advice most welcome


I'm musing over Iona's trot work and, following on from the long slow trot post here, wanted to ask for any experiences in establishing a good trot rhythm from the outset.

Iona has a lovely trot when she is going up hill, very engaged and powerful. However, on the flat and when just beginning to trot from walk or canter, I get the equivalent of a pneumatic drill feel. Its short, choppy and goes nowhere. It feels dreadful for us both. I can settle her with seat aids and half halts but it takes 100 yards and, having similar tendency to be a bit like Rabbit, I can end up stressing her out if I'm not super subtle. Once I've got her back, the trot is good but not great and I can lose both the tempo and the rhythm very easily.

I'm trying to establish a free shoulder trot on the buckle of the rein, that is big on power and stride length but low on energy useage and altitude, if that makes sense. Aiming as I am for possible endurance, I'm trying to harness an 'all day' trot pace.

Any advice or thoughts would be marvellous :)
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jeanette
Administrator
********




Posts: 13184
Registered: 9-5-2007
Location: Hampshire
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2016 at 12:05 PM


Iona's uphill trot work sounds lovely. I wonder if that's because you find the balance going uphill easier?

I love the fact that you are trying to establish a nice trot on a free rein. That's exactly what's needed for endurance as you can't hang on to their mouth for hours. It does mean your own balance has to be spot on though!

The best advice I was ever given for trot was to imagine that a had a backward paddling duck (or backward rolling ball) in my pelvis. I kept that image in my head for the entire Golden Horseshoe ride! It helped me correct a forward tilt on my pelvis which in turn helped me slow my rising to a steady rhythm which both Rannoch and I could comfortably sustain. Once I had my pelvis properly tucked underneath me I could concentrate on my core to keep me better balanced (which I find critical for a steady trot) and I could also concentrate on keeping my knees relaxed and not gripping Rannoch's shoulders (which in turn helps lengthen the stride).

Donald Kear has had me do a tonne of sitting trot too. I'm never allowed in lessons to go from walk to rising trot. I always have to stay in sitting trot until the correct rhythm has been set up and the pony is draped and relaxed. He also has me do mostly walk with only a few strides of sitting trot and back to walk again in the early part of EVERY lesson!

The endurance coach I went to had me change diagonal every 5 rises for training and practice changing the diagonal on the rise as well as in the saddle...that really helps on endurance rides. On endurance rides I'm counting the entire way round (yes, for hours at a time!) On rides I change every 8 rises rather than every 5 . Each change in diagonal acts like a mini half halt. I also sing "my little pony goes trot trot trot, trot trot trot, trot, trot trot" etc to help me lengthen the stride because it reminds me to get my hips properly swinging through my elbows.

Finally, since what you are trying to do on endurance is establish a rhythm and then just keep going uphill and downhill I have a balance strap on my saddle which helps me not hang on to Rannoch's mouth if the downhill's are steep...again balance is critical . If I tip forward on the downhills Rannoch hurtles down the hill trying to catch me which I find scary!
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Sally
Member
**




Posts: 331
Registered: 16-4-2015
Location: Dorset
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 10-5-2016 at 04:49 PM


What you are describing is/was Rabbit - although she is improving. Rabbit fights any sort of prolonged contact through the mouth. She hates feeling contained. Using voice commands (groundwork is excellent in helping establish this) and body I can now half halt and therefore slow her into a better rhythm riding on the buckle. It is hard work and you have to really persist though. Her temptation is always to go full pelt. I ride her on a very light contact where I need to (roads/scary stuff etc) and completely loose reined on tracks and paths. As a result she is less giraffe and drops into a very relaxed position - still rarely properly collected but it is coming along. If she wants to stretch right down I let her. The upshot is, she has become a much more chilled ride. Like Jeanette I constantly change diagonals to try and even her out. The endurance training I started out with has made a huge difference - the groundwork being a crucial part in gaining more control in the saddle.
Just keep chipping away Midge. At one point Rabbit would always try and fast trot/jog home. I got so frustrated. I would make her turn and go back but the minute we turned for home she would jog again. I would make her stop and stand, minute I asked her to walk, jogging again. I would spend half an hour trying to get down the last section of lane. The cure for this came from Jan. I just halt her and back up. If I have asked her to stand and she moves, halt and back up. Fast joggy trot, halt and back up. It works an absolute blooming treat. One or two of those and she soon got the message. Job done.


View user's profile View All Posts By User
Midge
Posting Freak
****




Posts: 2066
Registered: 10-2-2016
Location: Dorset
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2016 at 09:11 AM


Thank you both for your replies. What you've both said is really interesting, especially your point Jeanette about the backward paddling duck - cracking visual:D I rode this morning and thought of that and got a much steadier transition. As you both also mentioned, I do change diagonals frequently as Iona is very one sided - stiff as a board to the left - which also affects her trot on that diagonal. I was changing to assist with suppling/balance but maintaining a tempo is such a good idea too. Tucking the pelvis underneath is a great point as Iona can generate more power than I can stay with on occasion and I have to work hard to stay with the movement. I've probably exacerbated this unintentionally by asking for hind end engagement whilst trying to get a light forehand.

Iona did have a tendency to drop onto her forehand and trip a lot when I first started her but the hills round here are terrifying if you have the risk of a collapsable pony when going down hill. To counter that I try to include a steady trot down hill as much as is practical because, whatever I'm doing, Iona has to sit herself back on her quarters a bit to reduce the risk of a face plant (it has happened and thank the gods she found a fifth leg from somewhere after we'd skidded and scrabbled 25 yards and my whole life had flashed before me).

Like you Sally, I'm trying to keep the rein long when out and about so that Iona has to listen to my seat and weight aids. But this seems to be one area where Iona and Rabbit differ as Iona will actively seek a contact when she's getting stressed - almost as if she wants to hold a hand and know that I am there - the best way to calm her is the take up a light, but not restrictive, contact and wrap my legs around her. I'm trying to find the place where I can change pace on a long rein and not have to go through the regulation 25 strides of chaos before we can both breathe again. It works 50% of the time but its just that change from one pace to another where it all gets messy. I so want to have it nailed before we do our first PR as I have a feeling that, with her party hat firmly wedged on, she almost certainly will be a little too 'in the moment' to listen to me. You are totally right Sally, it really is a matter of simply chipping away sometimes - I'm guilty of forgetting that piece of wisdom often :blush:

The point you made Jeanette about keeping your knees relaxed really got me thinking. I have hip issues (too many high speed falls in a mis-spent youth) and my hip flexors are tighter than Tom Daley's speedos. I wonder if I'm actually restricting her stride without realising it - she is a total table top so I'm riding at full stretch in any case. When the trot goes pear shaped I probably tighten and then the whole situation gets worse for a few strides. I'm going to try to consciously release that tension tomorrow and see what difference it makes - I do wonder if you haven't actually given me the key to it with that one sentence :thumbs:

:flowers::cheers::flowers: to you both

[Edited on 11-5-2016 by Midge]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Katherine
Super Freak
*****




Posts: 3018
Registered: 27-9-2011
Location: Lancashire
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2016 at 10:16 AM


Some great advice. Glen's another speed merchant that will happily fall on his forehand and end up on his face if I'm not carful. Glen docent like a contact so I do most of the asking from my seat I too stay in sitting trot till I've established the trot I want then go in to a barley there rise trying to stay as relaxed as possible once that established it almost effortless and would be I'm sure great for endurance. Again I change diagonals regularly.

Good luck with the PR if all else remember to smile there's always wine and cake at home :hug:




View user's profile View All Posts By User
Midge
Posting Freak
****




Posts: 2066
Registered: 10-2-2016
Location: Dorset
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2016 at 01:03 PM


Thanks for your reply too Katherine - am I right in thinking that you ride bitless, and if so, what do you use? As far as sitting or rising, I ride in a Ghost saddle - I find that I just sort of think about rising in trot rather than actually doing it as it rides very deep. Maintaining a deep but light seat through the transition is probably what I should be doing but at the moment am not...

Don't worry on the day, when it comes, I will ensure that I am fortified with a well-filled 'rescue' hipflask and a nominated driver as I will be more than likely a bit:nerves:
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Katherine
Super Freak
*****




Posts: 3018
Registered: 27-9-2011
Location: Lancashire
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2016 at 01:37 PM


Hi yes I ride in an orbitless Glen really happy in it. I now Jeanette tried it and hated it because it twisted on Rannock but as I ride in a western bridle with much heavier construction than English I don't have any problems.

Glad to here you have that hip flask already sorted :heh hee:




View user's profile View All Posts By User
Rebecca
Administrator
********




Posts: 22375
Registered: 17-8-2004
Location: Cleveland, UK
Member Is Offline

Mood: Loving my lovely ponies

[*] posted on 11-5-2016 at 06:12 PM


I am finding this thread fascinating - Maddy has always had a beautiful trot and so I tend not to 'work at' - spend all my time trying to get the canter and the walk ... (least said about those the better). But I can see there is lots to learn here, especially as we start to up the work for endurance rides. Although we do tiny distances we need to do them in the time, and with balance. As our ground conditions have been so rubbish I have been systematically using the school to extend the distance and pace of our trot and that has been really lovely (for me - not so sure Mads appreciates it). There is something very mindful / meditative about getting and keeping a trot rhythm.



View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jeanette
Administrator
********




Posts: 13184
Registered: 9-5-2007
Location: Hampshire
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 11-5-2016 at 08:53 PM


I had another great bit of advice given to me on my lesson today. I was riding Jack, my connie . We were working on one 20 metre circle in the school. The exercise was to ride a complete circle at trot from A nearly back to A , slow the rising to drop back into walk, turn on the forehand into the centre line to the other side of the circle , turn on the forehand back onto the circle the other direction and straight back into trot . I was struggling to keep Jack in a good engaged trot until my instructor told me to push my hips through my outside elbow ( as well as having an elastic contact on the outside rein and plenty of inside leg!). Anyhow the hips through outside elbow idea helped hugely . She said that's because it stops you collapsing to the inside . Jack did some really nice work once I got that idea in my head!

[Edited on 11-5-2016 by Jeanette]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Midge
Posting Freak
****




Posts: 2066
Registered: 10-2-2016
Location: Dorset
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 12-5-2016 at 08:49 AM


That's really interesting too, Jeanette. Gosh, I'm so pleased I can now ask these questions as I have no-one knowledgeable enough nearby who will put up with my musings and this is all helping a great deal. Thank you all so much once again.

I have been trying a trot up the long side, 5m half circle and then diagonally back to the long side on a rein change; shortening the trot but keeping the same tempo and then asking for a slight lengthening when out of the circle. I found that the trot has to be engaged otherwise the 5m half circle falls apart. I have also used a turn on the forehand to achieve the same using a trot to halt and halt to trot transition, so what you've been working on with Jack looks like I might be going the right way. Blinking hard work though for both of us to keep it all together!

I now have to deal with anticipation as once I've done it a couple of times, Iona tries to get ahead of me and then stresses if she thinks its not quite right. Being hyperaware of any tension through my upper thigh as well as backward duck thinking has helped a great deal with the initial pace change though so that's an excellent result :clap::clap:

[Edited on 12-5-2016 by Midge]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jeanette
Administrator
********




Posts: 13184
Registered: 9-5-2007
Location: Hampshire
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 12-5-2016 at 12:46 PM


That sounds a tricky exercise to ride well! Doesn't it have a very posh name, like Demi volte?!! The school I ride in is only 18 metres wide so most of my circles are 9 metres . I find them hard enough ! (When I described the original circle exercise above I said it was 20 metres , that's what it should have been if the school were proper dimensions and my neighbour's husband had got his tape measure out rather than guessing it!!)

I also have a big challenge with tight hip flexors. On the half circle back to the track I have to watch that I don't motorbike the corner and lean in or tilt my head. I'm particularly bad at tilting my head to the left. The hips through outside elbow idea helps a lot but I also have to think of a wall going up the left hand side of my body.

There is a shed load of imagery going on inside my head to achieve all this stuff!!

I think one of the challenges of tight hip flexors is that we over use the core to resist the forward tilt on the pelvis . The backward paddling duck idea seems to help soften the muscles in the lower back (psoas) which is handy because when we then try to lengthen the stride by following our hips through further it can very often feel that there is nothing more to be had!!



[Edited on 12-5-2016 by Jeanette]
View user's profile View All Posts By User
mulletsmum
Super Administrator
*********




Posts: 8712
Registered: 26-6-2005
Location: Perthshire
Member Is Offline

Mood: Carpe diem - I grabbed it!

[*] posted on 12-5-2016 at 08:53 PM


Have you tried spiralling in and then out using your legs to get the circle smaller than larger? It engages the hind legs and helps balance.

I am slightly worried about the idea that an endurance trot is done on the buckle end. And endurance trot has to be balanced and come from behind, or the front legs will be taking too much concussive force. when they are working from behind and in balance you can then relax the contact..... To get them working from behind on a loose rein is incredibly difficult.

And on the day, enjoy the PR. Adrenaline and the other horses will make sure they are on their toes - all 4 toes in many cases !





View user's profile View All Posts By User
Midge
Posting Freak
****




Posts: 2066
Registered: 10-2-2016
Location: Dorset
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 13-5-2016 at 10:05 AM


:banghead: Just wrote an essay in reply and the woffle police deleted it.... Suppose it is Friday 13th....
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jeanette
Administrator
********




Posts: 13184
Registered: 9-5-2007
Location: Hampshire
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 13-5-2016 at 10:09 AM


MM I take your point about having them working from behind on an endurance ride. I havn't actually done any endurance rides yet this year with all the other stuff going on but last year I found that the general excitement at the beginning of the ride was sufficient to get the engine in gear and I definitely had to start most rides with a decent contact and he wore an NS universal on the bottom ring with a leather curb strap just in case! Further in to the ride I could then ride on a relaxed contact though (but be watchful of my own balance). Maggie Pattinson is a big fan of warming up before the rides ...squares etc and leg yielding.

In the school I certainly can't get an engaged trot on the buckle end

I think we are probably both agreed that you don't want to hang on to their mouth for 4 hours though?
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jeanette
Administrator
********




Posts: 13184
Registered: 9-5-2007
Location: Hampshire
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 13-5-2016 at 10:09 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Midge  
:banghead: Just wrote an essay in reply and the woffle police deleted it.... Suppose it is Friday 13th....


so it is:heh hee:
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Midge
Posting Freak
****




Posts: 2066
Registered: 10-2-2016
Location: Dorset
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 13-5-2016 at 10:29 AM


In case I lose this one too, I'll try to be brief.

I don't have access to a 'proper' school, Jeanette, but I am very lucky that one of my flat paddocks is almost exactly 40m wide so I can use that as a summer school when the ground is dry enough. Other than that all of my schooling is done whilst hacking and I make use of anything that we encounter as we trundle about - thankfully the locals are a tolerant bunch:stealth:

I do use the spiralling exercise, Mulletsmum, its a really useful isn't it. I also try including leg yielding across the narrow lanes round here - across to one side and then back again, which I find is also a good one.

If its any reassurance, the on the buckle term is more figurative for me. I am aiming for that level of attention and responsiveness from using just seat, weight and leg in the long term and expect with that a long light rein contact - what I understand from Jeanette's term of 'draping'.

I'm probably over analysing but its constantly fascinating how the very subtlest adjustment can give the most dramatic change - whatever type of horse and whatever style of riding. Its very early days for us, Iona is just 7 and was started late as she refused to stop growing, so still green and immature in many ways. Aside from a single occasion, no one but me has ridden her; she is my horse of a lifetime, a gift horse of the like that I could never have found so I really, really want to get it right for her and give her the level of education that she deserves.

This morning we had a lovely trot, smooth transitions and we both came back :D:D I went for consciously checking for looseness and absolute straightness from myself, the duck was quacking along nicely in reverse :heh hee: and, viola, the shoulders freed up, the back end engaged and this awesome trot emerged. I could burst! I really could!

Thank you all for your excellent advice and comment. I may now need a slice of cake to stop myself from grinning like a mad woman for the rest of the day:cool:
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Jeanette
Administrator
********




Posts: 13184
Registered: 9-5-2007
Location: Hampshire
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 13-5-2016 at 11:48 AM


a nice ride in the morning really sets you up for the day doesn't it!! Well done. Keep quacking!
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Midge
Posting Freak
****




Posts: 2066
Registered: 10-2-2016
Location: Dorset
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 13-5-2016 at 01:31 PM


:heh hee::heh
hee: and :flowers: again
View user's profile View All Posts By User

  Go To Top

Powered by XMB 1.9.11
XMB Forum Software © 2001-2009 The XMB Group
[Queries: 18] [PHP: 74.3% - SQL: 25.7%]