I'm having trouble posting on the correct diagnol?
   

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I'm having trouble posting on the correct diagnol?

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  • Posting incorrect diagonal feel like
  • English riding and posting trot diagonal

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    01-11-2012, 12:26 AM
  #1
Foal
Unhappy I'm having trouble posting on the correct diagnol?

Hello, I've been riding English for about a year now and everything was fine until about a month ago when I realized I post on the wrong diagonal about 50% of the time. I always notice it after one stride and switch it, but the fact that I can't feel the horses impulsion is annoying. My trainer has worked with me on it, but I'm still having trouble! To me it feels correct to post on the inside leg..which is SO wrong I know. I don't know why I can't pick it up naturally! Does anyone else have this problem? Any tips on how to fix it? I tend to look at the outside leg and rise with the forward motion, but somehow I always end up on the incorrect diagonal. So annoying!
     
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    01-11-2012, 01:22 AM
  #2
Trained
Oh honey I feel your pain. O.e

To me it just takes a lot of feel....And I'm still no good at it. Kinda interested to see if anyone has any tips and tricks besides "practice".
     
    01-11-2012, 01:41 AM
  #3
Showing
When I'm not on the correct diagonal, I feel like I'm forcing myself up so I know to switch but I still peek from time to time haha
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    01-11-2012, 07:53 AM
  #4
Trained
Some of it depends on the horse. And at the risk of heresy, some of it isn't all that important anyways.

I've ridden some horses where it is obvious. With my own horses, I usually need to look. At a guess, I'd say it would be more obvious as the horse is more collected, but that is a guess.

Diagonals are also important if you are constantly turning in one direction. If the horse is going straight, diagonals don't matter. If you are turning frequently, the inside/outside changes all the time.

I have a triangle of cones set up. As we enter the center of the triangle, I decide which cone we are about to go around and in what direction. In a western saddle, I usually sit the trot. In an English, it is about 50:50. But since my focus is on the horse's flexibility & him turning from the rear, I don't pay attention to which diagonal I'm on. However, if diagonals ARE important to your riding, then something like that might be a good training tool.

Enter the triangle and decide which cone you are going to circle. For the exercise, it should be OK to look & check your diagonal. Looking down is a bad habit long term, but can be required when learning your horse's movement. Make your turn on the correct diagonal, then pick out the next cone and direction. Look as needed to make certain you are again on the correct diagonal. Every stride you go on the wrong diagonal is negative training. Look, get it right, complete the turn on the correct diagonal, and pick out your next cone/turn. After a minute or two, exit the cones and let you & your horse relax for a minute.

That is a suggestion, but I don't know if it would work. Trotting in constantly changes directions and needing to wait for me to decide where we're going is good for my horse, but my goals for riding don't include worrying about diagonals trotting. I took western lessons last summer, and the instructor was big on knowing which leg your horse was moving. That was the only time we could look down, and we then had to call out (without looking if possible) which front leg was about to leave the ground. Something she emphasized was that it was better to look and get it right than to go 2-3 strides with it wrong, because every wrong stride would take a bunch of good ones to erase the bad muscle memory.

Good luck!
     
    01-11-2012, 10:35 AM
  #5
Weanling
Maybe when you ask for trot stay in sitting trot for a few strides until the outside leg comes forward, and rise with it. Sit as the outside leg comes back and underneath the horse.
     
    01-11-2012, 10:50 AM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
When I'm not on the correct diagonal, I feel like I'm forcing myself up so I know to switch but I still peek from time to time haha
Yes, it can feel wrong, but only if you know exactly what "wrong" feels like. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes to get it right other than practice. While checking to ensure you are on the correct diagonal is fine, don't get in the habit of looking before you start posting, since that will just lead to dependence on watching the shoulder to get it right.

If your horse doesn't tolerate bouncing (my TB sure doesn't) or has a choppy trot, I would suggest you see if you could find a horse that is smooth and is patient enought to allow you to practice without having to worry about what the horse is doing.

When you ask for the trot, keep your eyes forward and sit tall. If you're slumped, you won't be able to feel your hips swing. Pay attention to how your hips are moving- when you feel your outside hip go forward, rise.

It takes practice but it's not hard to master.
     
    01-11-2012, 11:28 AM
  #7
Green Broke
"rise and fall with the leg on the wall." I believe MH taught me that!:)
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    01-11-2012, 12:11 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
When I'm not on the correct diagonal, I feel like I'm forcing myself up so I know to switch but I still peek from time to time haha
There's a good reason you feel this way. It is an indication that your horse is not bending properly. I would guess that he is actually counterbent with his head towards the outside of the circle. Yes?

You see, the posting diagonal is a bending tool. When you are on a straight line, your horse is straight and it doesn't matter what diagonal you are on. When you go in a circle/corner, the horse bends to "flow" around the turn. This means the horse now has one side where the muscles are either stretching or compressing (creating the bend).



When a rider posts, the act of rising tends to encourage the muscles on the side of the horse that you are rising with to lengthen. So, the rising trot actually helps to make the bending even easier for the horse. THAT is why riders always want to rise when the outside leg is going forward while riding a circle or corner.

Now, in your case, your feeling like you are having to force yourself up at the end of your rise, or feeling like you are hitting a wall when you rise. This is probably indicating that you are rising on the "shortened" side of the horse, or an improperly bent horse. It will be MUCH more comfortable on the "wrong" diagonal, because that is the longer side of the horse.

Is this making any sense?

To fix your problem, you need to teach your horse to bend properly.

All horses, like humans, are either "right handed" or "left handed". Most, like humans are stronger on their right sides. This is often seen when they bend better one way then the other. I bet you find yourself on the incorrect diagonal mostly when your horse is going one direction. I find it most common when horses are on a clockwise circle.

On their strong side, they tend to collapse onto their inside shoulder, making that shoulder very heavy. When this happens, they cannot bend. You need to use your inside leg, along with your seat/weight/hands to encourage (push) your horse off that inside shoulder into the outside shoulder (rein). Only then will they be able to bend properly.

Look at your horse's head while on the circle. Can you see the inside eye or eyelashes? You need to be able to.



I tell people a stiff horse is like riding a bicycle. When you ride a bike in a circle, the bike frame cannot bend. To go around the circle, the rider/bike must lean in to make the turn. Same with an improperly bent horse. If not bent properly, the horse must lean in on that inside shoulder to make the turn. This will really encourage the horse to bend to the outside, making the problem even worse.

Keep working on bending properly and your diagonal problem will, likely, disappear!! Good luck!


BTW, all the text here is mine. The diagrams I got off the web and have unknown artists.
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    01-11-2012, 01:21 PM
  #9
Trained
^^ Bookmarking for future reference!
     
    01-11-2012, 02:35 PM
  #10
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allison Finch    

On their strong side, they tend to collapse onto their inside shoulder, making that shoulder very heavy. When this happens, they cannot bend. You need to use your inside leg, along with your seat/weight/hands to encourage (push) your horse off that inside shoulder into the outside shoulder (rein). Only then will they be able to bend properly.

Keep working on bending properly and your diagonal problem will, likely, disappear!! Good luck!


BTW, all the text here is mine. The diagrams I got off the web and have unknown artists.
Yes Allison! Thank you! :) And yes, I've noticed when we first start up riding.. he leans in on the inside and by the time I've got him all together, he is able to turn those corners with no trouble. But I had no idea he's more prone to doing that on his strong side.. which makes sense now!

We're still working on bending, but it's getting better. Thank you so much for that Allison :)

~~

OP, if you are comfortable being in 2-point, you can feel the rhythm of the up and down. Also.. looking down for a stride and saying "left right left right" (depending on which leg is forward) will help you figure out where the horse's legs are which will help with w/t and even t/c transitions and will help you with your diagonal.
     

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