Teaching diagonals? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-06-2010, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching diagonals?

Alright, so I know what a diagonal is and how to describe what the rider should look for in the horse's shoulder to know if they have the right one or not BUT I've hit a road block.

I was going over the concept with some of my students yesterday (they are in 2nd and 3rd grade, but both great riders) and while they totally grasped it we hit a snag when I asked them to look down and tell me if they were on the correct diagonal or not. They're former trainer (this is my second week with them, former trainer quit) told them to never look down when riding. I totally get this, but what is a good way to explain to these girls that in this instance it's ok to glance down? Is there another way to check for a rider to be sure they're on the correct diagonal without looking down that I never learned about? I was always taught to just glance downward.

They both are great about not staring down while riding and I don't want to ruin this by asking them to check for diagonals if there is another way.
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-06-2010, 03:57 PM
Green Broke
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Just to explain to them that lessons are about learning, so it is fine to look down....IF and only if they arent sure. Since you (the coach) are asking them if they are on the correct diagonal, this is an "IF" time to check. Tell them that because you asked, they should be checking just to make sure.

The only way I know to double check is by feel...but I have no clue how to describe it.

Is there any way to put them on a lunge line and tell them to keep going back and forth between sitting and posting trot? (I think someone else said this was how their coach did it...?)

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

Last edited by VelvetsAB; 12-06-2010 at 04:01 PM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-06-2010, 03:59 PM
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I agree with Velvet. The only other way to learn them is by feel and I doubt at their level that is going to work well.

You might want to change your terminology. Not looking down is important. But you are allowed to glance down quickly. Not look down, glance down.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-06-2010, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, a lunge line is definitely an option so maybe that's what we'll do next week. I told them to just glance (we had a fun little conversation about how sneaky and quickly they could glance haha). Think they'll have to earn a quick eye for the correct diagonal on the lunge. I didnt learn this way, but I wouldn't say I had the best beginning trainer.

I have never been able to "feel" the correct diagonal nor have I heard of that. Maybe it's because I stopped English lessons (with the not so good trainer) when I was 12 and switched to mostly western with a focus on reining?
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-06-2010, 04:41 PM
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From what I understood about what I read (I truely believe it was somewhere on this forum), the rider wasn't supposed to be looking down. They were put on the lunge line and had to go from a sitting to posting trot and back to a sitting trot. The idea behind being on the lunge was for them to just be concentrating on "feeling" the correct diagonal without having to worry about steering. So still ask your students if they think they are on the right diagonal....but don't let them look until after they have answered. Of course, asking them when they are on the right and wrong diagonal is always a good idea as well....otherwise they could start changing when they are asked the question.

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