Diagonals - any tips? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Diagonals - any tips?

I am finally getting a decent rhythm with my posting and not losing balance. But I cannot seem to tell if I am on the correct diagonal. I understand the concept and I can tell if someone is when I am on the ground. However, I seem to have some mental block when it comes to this. I pick up a decent rhythm, glance down, wrong diagonal. Try to correct it, sometimes manage, sometimes don't. I need both me and my horse to move in slow motion to be able to tell! I feel like an idiot. Anybody have any tips? I can do it fine if someone is on the ground telling me I am on the wrong or right one. But I just can't seem to tell!
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 02:49 PM
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When you look at the horse's shouders (I understand riders-beginners sometimes have to look down) they move forward and backwards as the horse move his legs. You rise when the ouside shoulder goes forward and sit when the inside shoulder goes forward. By time you'll feel the horse's movement and you won't need to look down anymore.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 02:52 PM
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 02:54 PM
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It took me SO long to figure out if I was right or wrong. I knew I had to look at the outside shoulder and be up when it was but it just took me so long to be able to tell. Just keep practicing and it will just click one day. Once you see it it's very easy it just takes a while to be able to see it
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 02:56 PM
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Oh gosh don't feel like an idiot! Diagonals are tricky. Some people look to the outside shoulder to see if they are moving up with it as it goes forward. I personally look at the inside soulder to see if it is back when I am out of the saddle. If you need to change it, sit two beats on the horse's back.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 02:56 PM
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Are you sitting a few strides before you begin rising, or are you trying to begin your posting immediately? If you sit for a few strides, it becomes much easier to start to feel the proper diagonal.
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 03:07 PM
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Sit the transition, your body will naturally bounce up when you need to rise. If you just start posting as soon as the horse trots, you'll most likely be wrong.

And to change diagonal, you sit one beat... sitting two just keeps you at the same diagonal :P
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 03:13 PM
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Get a friend--anybody will do---to watch you ride/post the trot to see if you are seeing or feeling the correct diagonal. There is ALWAYS something about riding that will confound ALL of us, so don't feel as if you are lacking. **hugs**
The basis for "posting" was in the 19th century. Driving in carts and carraiges become very popular because of the "ecliptic spring."
(sorry, tried to do an online search for one--you're just need to a read a book on driving a horse.)
This gave them shock absorbers and it become so popular to drive or be driven that some gaited horses in Europe actually died out for lack of use!
The Hackney horse and pony were highly developed then. They had a fancy high-kneed trot, and the trot is the fastest and most economical way to drive. At the canter, the cart lurges forward, but at the trot the movement is steady.
ANYWAY, if you could afford to have people drive YOU, you would have several "postman". Often one would ride the lead horse while he was pulling the carraige or coach to keep you safe. It was very hard to sit the trot mile after mile, so they invented "posting" to be more comfortable.
At that time, in Europe, there was already a reliable mail coach (read "A Tale of Two Cities," sometime for reference,) and "postman", the term, came from delivering the mail, too.
The postman would periodically change diagonals, even when riding many miles in a straight line. If you trail ride, you should consider doing the same.
The only thing that puzzles me is why anybody riding a western saddle should choose to post. An English saddle gives ME plenty of room to do so, but the horn would always get in my way. Gotta think about that one...
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 03:47 PM
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When my instructor taught me to feel out correct diagonals, she put me on the wrong diagonal for a few laps and circles. Then she had me sit the trot down the long wall and close my eyes. Then she said to post when it felt right.

Disclaimer: I was on a steady horse used for therapy in a class by myself and she made sure I opened my eyes before I got to the corner. =]
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-01-2011, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the support! I hate being wrong. I will try checking the inside leg. Maybe my brain will process it better that way. I also tend to post right away so shall see if sitting a few beats at first helps me get started correctly. This is exactly the sort of advice I needed. Thank you again
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