Teaching the extended trot?

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Teaching the extended trot?

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  • Teaching the extended trot
  • Teaching my horse to lengthen trot

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    01-06-2014, 10:39 PM
Teaching the extended trot?

Me and my horse have been doing dressage for a while now and I'm trying to master new skills, I have learned half passes, leg yeilds, and shoulder in but the one thing I can't seem to master is the extended trot..Any tips?
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    01-07-2014, 01:00 AM
Extensions come after the development of collection, and collection is developed from effective half halts, lateral flexibility (from circles/lateral work/etc).
    01-07-2014, 01:40 AM
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Without seeing a video of your extension/lengthening attempts, I can't offer much. One of the biggest mistakes I see people do when starting this work is to feel that the horse needs to stretch far forward in their "frame" to lengthen and extend. Often riders will throw their hands way forward to help them "stretch". Unfortunately, when you do that you, effectively, throw the horse onto his forehand making an extension almost impossible for the horse to perform. With the sudden shift onto the forehand, the horse has no option other than to quicken his stride instead of lengthening the stride.

Maybe watching this rider will illustrate what I am talking about. Watch the position of her hands as she prepares for the lengthening and through the lengthening.

this video of Steffan Peters has a nice slow motion that shows rider positioning.

    01-07-2014, 02:19 PM
I have a question I've recently been wondering about: why, in a lengthening, is the neck and body not allowed to lengthen? (According to most of the instruction I come across these days.) It seems it would be a much better exercise, gymnastically-speaking, than just the extending of the shoulder/legs.

In my own schooling, the long-and-low and really helps to develop into working/semi-collected work, and when I start lengthening, it's an exercise for my horse to reach into the bit, thereby getting longer. The stretching, then coming back, then going low all seems to get her more supple and looser.

Of course, she does not have the gorgeous movement of the horses in the video. Do you think that makes a difference in how to go about schooling?
    01-07-2014, 03:28 PM
Super Moderator
Because it is difficult to keep the haunches engaged if the horse lengthens its body too much. It does lengthen, to a point. An unschooled horse will much more likely load the forehand if not supported enough and allowed to shift too much weight forward. The lengthenings MUST be powered from the haunch, not pulled along by the forehand.

As for long and low, that is often poorly done, too. Again, it is so easy to allow the horse to collapse on its forehand.
Foxhunter likes this.
    01-09-2014, 03:24 PM
If we look at the definitions the lengthening is between working and medium, and the poll is still supposed to be the highest point and the horse more ifV. That would mean the horse has to be up and open in order to maintain its posture/balance. Imho the first video shows clear gaining of ground (a lengthening of stride). The second gains very little (about the same as the first, yet it is a much higher level of horse).

In order for the horse to do more than a lengthening (longer with no change of tempo) the horse must be up/open/collected in the first place. If the horse is compressed (esp when it lowers) it will not step through, and if it is not collected (folded hind leg joints producing amplitude) it will end up wider behind and w/o sufficient airtime.
    01-12-2014, 03:22 PM
Thank you!

I rode a little differently yesterday, keeping my horse more "up" before asking for a lengthening, and not giving the reins (okay, just a little) and she certainly flew across the diagonal, but the contact got quite strong. I expect she was falling on her forehand somewhat, though how she did that with her shoulders so high I don't know.

Thanks to the OP too for bringing this topic up.
    01-13-2014, 02:18 PM
So, did you quit half halting DURING the lengthening/extension? The horse cannot become strong unless the rider allows it. The other thing is do only a few steps or a half diagonal. Too sustained a period and the horse loses balance when learning.
existentialpony likes this.
    01-14-2014, 02:57 PM
Half-halt DURING lengthening? No, I don't think I ever do. My horse is an ordinary low-striding TB-Arab type, likes to invert; but also tends to be quite slow (read that "lazy") so when I get a lot of energy I enjoy it. Good point about not pushing it, though.

If she gets heavy, I tend to "lift" with my legs (she follows this by lifting her shoulders somewhat) and then give a little with my hands, to encourage her to stretch (to counteract the camel-position). She actually doesn't pull much.

As for the teaching of lengthening, in the beginning anyway, while bracing the back worked for the rider in the first video, it would be an invitation for my horse to hollow.

It's why I was wondering, in spite of what we are usually taught, whether different types of horses should be ridden differently. (In small, VERY small-d dressage.)
    01-14-2014, 03:34 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by Beling    
Thank you!

I rode a little differently yesterday, keeping my horse more "up" before asking for a lengthening, and not giving the reins (okay, just a little) and she certainly flew across the diagonal, but the contact got quite strong. I expect she was falling on her forehand somewhat, though how she did that with her shoulders so high I don't know.

Thanks to the OP too for bringing this topic up.
She was, probably, leaning on your hands to use that as "balance". She was sure trying to load onto her forehand. Tiny and gentle half halts will help to keep her from leaning on the bit. If the half halts are too strong, you will damage her balance enough to cause her to lose her tempo/rhythm.
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