Trotting Fences

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Trotting Fences

This is a discussion on Trotting Fences within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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  • 1 Post By LoveTheSaddlebreds

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    07-19-2012, 03:14 AM
Trotting Fences

I am having a heck of a time getting my horse to trot a fence properly.

I have been working at it more and more the last few weeks, in an effort to keep him balanced and his gait nice and even/consistent.

When he canters a fence, I am able to set him up for the distance and he is able to tuck up and jump across the fence. However, when we trot, he tends to simply fling himself over the fence. His front legs flail all over the place, and he collapses all over his forehand into a pile of poop on the other side of the fence.

I come to the fence with a nice amount of impulsion. Nice even pace. At the base of the fence, I sit in half seat and give him a squeeze. But I never get anything better from him. He flops over it and seems just as unbalanced as he is confused about the whole thing. Haha!

So what are some things I could try? What do you folks do to get a nicer/better jump from a trot? Should I try smaller fences and work up, or start with a larger fence so that he has to actually make some sort of an effort?
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    07-19-2012, 03:58 AM
It depends on the horse, but if I know the horse will run THROUGH the fence or just fling over it and not care I will make sure to have the horse going nicely and moving forward when approahing the fence, then keep my lower leg on. You might also want to set up trotting poles in front of or on both sides of the fence so your horse understands that he needs to focus more on the approach and landing because there will be other "obstacles" that need to be taken into consideration. I personally would keep it at a decent size crossrail and not too small. He needs something that will make him think and work, not just step over. Maybe also try raised trotting poles separately from the fence?
    07-19-2012, 01:30 PM
I would try trot poles with X's thrown into the mix. That way he gets the hang of the rhythm and motion, and if he seems to master the X, raise it with the trot poles still in place. You could also set up a gymnastic line set for two trot strides in between, and place trot poles in between each jump.

You can mess around with this, but the idea is still the same. Trot poles REALLY help, and after a while you can take them away and he'll probably still get where to put his feet and how to get over the jump at a trot.

It's so funny, but I'm sure everyone - or most - started trotting jumps before cantering them. Even so, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say now that I'm used to cantering bigger jumps, trotting seems so much more awkward and even difficult at times. I always feel like I look stupid!
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    07-19-2012, 03:10 PM
Are you making sure his trot is balanced before you leg him up to the jump ? A lot of people arent used to trotting jumps, so instead of setting their horse up for it they just go TROT and hope it works out. Come around the corner to the jump, give him a little check and make sure he's on his hind end, then leg up to the jump.

If you are having a lot of trouble you can always add a placement pole or trot poles up to the jump.

Trotting jumps does get easier, it just takes doing it !
    07-19-2012, 10:55 PM
Oh man I feel like I look totally stupid too! It also doesn't help that he flings himself over them, which tends to throw off my balance.
I can't say that's i'm completely positive that his trot is in perfect balance for trotting a fence. I simply try to keep the trot forward moving and at the same tempo. Although, I can say with all honesty that trotting fences isn't something that i've been working on for very long with him. So he's pretty new to it as am I.

I will have to try poles in front of the fence for a little while and see how that feels. I think I might also try making the fence a little bigger. My concern is that he's just not that impressed with a wee little x-rail and isn't making an effort to jump it appropriately.

I have another question though. My trainer has told me this is something she really wants me to work on with my gelding, and to get us both better at it. But what exactly do you accomplish by getting a horse really good at trotting fences?
    07-19-2012, 11:22 PM
They use their hind end 110% better - so says my ex trainer, and I always notice a big improvement in my canter jumping after I work on trotting for a while.
    07-20-2012, 04:05 PM
Instead of doing a half seat into the trot fence, sit the last 2 or 3 steps. Way way way easier to hit the trot fence on the right rhythm when you sit for some reason. I always sit the last 2 or 3 steps for trot fences.
    07-20-2012, 04:27 PM
Originally Posted by LoveTheSaddlebreds    
It's so funny, but I'm sure everyone - or most - started trotting jumps before cantering them. Even so, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say now that I'm used to cantering bigger jumps, trotting seems so much more awkward and even difficult at times. I always feel like I look stupid!

Yup. Not alone. I am much more comfortable cantering to jumps then trotting. And the smaller the jump, the harder it is for me to trot to. I find I can judge distances a lot better at the canter. I feel like I want to ride right into the base and get chippy spots when trotting. Guess I know what I'll be working on over the next few weeks.

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