Help with diagonals - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-25-2011, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Help with diagonals

Okay

I have a question

What is diagonals when trotting??? I know the answers will consist of outside leg but which one is outside leg???

What if im going in a straight line?? Not a circle then which one is the outside leg if im on a straight line???

I don't understand at all :( help
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-25-2011, 04:58 PM
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When you are riding in an arena, the leg closest to the fence or wall is the outside leg. So when the left side of the horse is against the fence/wall, its your left, and when the right side of the horse is against the wall, its your right.


Do you mean you are just riding around the middle of nowhere, and not in a ring at all? Then it doesn't matter what side you make the outside.

But if you are in a ring and riding a straight line, you still have an outside leg.


Diagonals are for the posting trot. You want to rise when your horses outside leg goes forward, and sit down when it comes back.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus

Last edited by VelvetsAB; 06-25-2011 at 05:01 PM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 06-25-2011, 05:46 PM
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Diagonals come into play when doing a rising trot. In short, you should sit in the saddle as the horse's inside leg (the one furthest from the outside of the arena) goes forward and rise when the inside leg comes back.

There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humour and the other is patience.
- John Lyons
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post #4 of 19 Old 06-25-2011, 09:08 PM
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+1 on both of the above, but maybe a little addendum to Velvet. I think the diagonal comes in whenever you're doing rising trot and you turn - so you don't need to be in a ring, as soon as you start making loops, circles, or turns you need to be concerned about your diagonal.

If you are not on the proper diagonal going through a turn at the rising trot, it does something a little funky to your balance and makes it harder for the horse to turn the corner. That is why it is important to be on the "right" one.

I have been learning the rising trot and working a lot with diagonals lately - and I can feel that I'm on the right or wrong one as soon as I go into a turn. At first, it just felt kind of unbalanced. Now I understand it better - with the help of the Happy Horse Forum people and some input from my trainer and a good amount of practice. When you're on the wrong diagonal going through a turn, you'll find yourself bouncing a little to the outside of the turn - if you are on the proper diagonal, you'll bounce a little to the inside of the turn. So if you are making a turn to the left, and you find yourself bobbling a little to the right as you come up into the rising trot, you're on the wrong diagonal.

PS I think it is better to learn to feel them, because as soon as you look down to check whether you're coming up at the same time as the outside leg, you've taken your eyes off what's going on in front of you. It's like needing to look at the steering wheel of the car instead of just feeling it and steering the way you want to go.
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-26-2011, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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oh now I understand :) thanks a lot guys

Yeah serafina you are right :) I do feel when its wrong or right :) if I do a circle im okay with the diagonals :) but when I do serpentine sometime its no good then I feel kind of unbalanced :)

But i'll work on that :)

Thank you :)
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-26-2011, 07:32 AM
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It sounds like I am just one step ahead of you - learning serpentines as well.

The key with the serpentine is to remember to change your diagonals half-way across the ring. So...assuming you pick up the correct diagonal for the first curve, now you're headed back in the same direction you just came for the second curve, right? When you get to the middle of the ring - BEFORE - you look around the curve to start it - you sit for a stride and start posting again so you are now on the proper diagonal for the upcoming curve. I do a serpentine that has 3 curves to it (like an "S" with an extra turn at the bottom) and need to change diagonals 2 times during that process.

I think this is an important reason why we *do* serpentines - it's partly control of the horse at the trot, but it seems to be at least as much about ingraining the need to change diagonals when you change direction.
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-26-2011, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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yeah I think we are doing the same thing :) koz my serpentine I like an 8 with a zero added under it so you get something like a three circles koz I do it both way at the same go :)
But I havent tried what you told me :) i'll sit for a stride and see what it gives :)

I have even started sitting trot without the stirrups :) but it was hard :/
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-26-2011, 12:14 PM
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Yeah - we're definitely at the same place... I sit the trot now for a few paces before asking my horse to down-shift into a walk. And I've sat the trot around the ring, but that was one bumpy ride! I am sure there is a way to do it that is more comfortable, because I think that dressage riders have to sit the trot instead of posting it - and they look GOOD doing it. Much better than I do!

Is your trainer teaching you how to go into half-seat? (Some people call this 2-point)
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-26-2011, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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yeah I can trot pretty well sitting with stirrups :) it depends on the horse also there is one horse I can do it much better :) but the sitting trot without stirrups that's hard I feel like i'll fall

Hmmmm never heard of that :S my teacher does not use the technical words too much with me maybe if you explain me i'll know lol
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post #10 of 19 Old 06-26-2011, 02:35 PM
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On the half-seat, you get your weight out of the saddle - your seat is hovering above the saddle, but not touching it. It really challenges your balance on the horse, because you're having to keep your center of gravity over the horse's center of gravity, but without the assistance of the saddle.

It's the position that you would be in if you wanted to take a jump, but you can do it at any pace - trotting in the half-seat is actually a lot of fun.
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