Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel View Post
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.