My Horse doesn't know how to trot!! Help!

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My Horse doesn't know how to trot!! Help!

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    12-03-2013, 09:28 PM
Question My Horse doesn't know how to trot!! Help!

Hey guys,

A few weeks ago I got a new mare. She is a complete sweetheart and is really getting a long with me. But we have kind of a big problem. I have just started riding her in a bit less bridle as her teeth are some. Dentist is coming soon :) (she is only 5) but the worst thing is, I don't think she was correctly trained. She's really good in a walk and a canter, she can even jump nicely, but its like she never has trotted under saddle before.

On the lunge she trots perfectly, if a little fast but I assume that's because of her breeding, standard bred cross quarter horse, but you can tell that the standard bred is dominant.

Under the saddle though, when trying to trot she tries to slow down to a walk or get right into a canter, which I don't let happen, so she begins to prance.

I have recently tried cantering her and bringing her back down to the trot as its working better than the walk to trot ever did.

Any ideas? Thanks guys
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    12-03-2013, 09:52 PM
Is she trotting or pacing when turned out? She may be hardwired to pace and you are trying to force her into the trot.
    12-03-2013, 09:57 PM
No she doesn't trot or pace in the paddock. I mean occasionally she goes for a decent run but then stops and begins eating :)
    12-03-2013, 10:03 PM
If she is trotting perfectly on the lunge, I would guess that the missing link is in the rider. How are you cueing her? What are you doing when you ask for the trot? You may be making giving her a signal to canter or slow down. Have you tried slow posting? This can really help because it makes the horse want to match your momentum.
    12-03-2013, 10:08 PM
Yeah I have thought that it was me as well, but my instructor rode Lilly too and she couldn't get my mare to trot correctly either. She can trot I guess, but she is really unbalanced and she can't seem to stay in rythem. She just finds it hard to keep going at the pace. Its funny, she has the most comfortable canter, like a rocking chair, but her trot is so bad you have to stay two point in the saddle or she keeps knocking you off :(
    12-03-2013, 10:32 PM
Sounds like it might be good to start her over with respect to the trot. Get her balanced and soft. A horse should have three trots. A slow trot, a working trot and an extended trot. Get her back to basics, it sounds like someone rushed her.
    12-03-2013, 11:23 PM
Could it be a poorly fitting saddle? Maybe making it painful to bring her shoulders forwards and back when she trots?
    12-03-2013, 11:50 PM
On the ground does she have a set vocal cue to trot vs canter? Do you use it under saddle?

How do you ask for the trot from the walk? If she's a sensitive horse you could just need to tone down your cue a bit.

You could also ask on a circle vs a straight line. For example when I am starting a horse under saddle and I am moving towards forward steps first I get control of the horses hindquarters, having my horse disengage both directions. When the horse understands that I ask for more until the horse feels the need to free up his or her front feet to comply with my new level of pressure to move.

You could also apply this from a walk. Get on a smaller circle and walk around then just ask for a tiny bit more. A teeny quiet cluck for example or just a tiny brush of your calves on her sides. As soon as you get a faster walking stride quit. After a few strides ask for a little more of a walk and again quit as soon as she speeds it up. You want to just kind of flow into a jog here and the circle will help you from building too much momentum.

Or you could approach it from the other end. As you're walking around use your trot cue. When she picks up a canter just spiral her down in a circle getting smaller until she hits a trot, there's only so small of a circle she can stay balanced enough on to canter instead of having to break gait to a trot. As soon as she hits the trot leave her alone and let her back on a straight line. Then let her speed back up, when she hits the canter, spiral her down again. Since that's where you leave her alone she'll start to look for the trot instead. You don't want to trot around a lot though as you need to get her to understand that cue, just trot long enough that she gets that is where she is left alone. Then slow to a walk and use your trot cue and repeat.

Another culprit that she doesn't like to trot could be rider error, if you bounce around then of course she'll be reluctant to trot.

When I'm getting a horse balanced I do a ton of trotting on a loose rein.

I ask for the trot and cruise around, making things very easy by only focusing on one thing at a time. If my horse speeds up I bend down to the speed I was at then let them out again. I do this on a loose rein with no steering. I am ONLY worried about my horses pace right now. I do this until my horse is responsible for their own feet and can maintain the speed I ask. A horse isn't going to trot such a tiny circle that they can't balance themselves and they'll start to pack you easier and easier. The horse will figure out how to pack a rider through turns and going straight and it's great for a rider too. You'll need to be balanced to stay with your horse.
    12-04-2013, 12:46 AM
Originally Posted by elliejade    
Yeah I have thought that it was me as well, but my instructor rode Lilly too and she couldn't get my mare to trot correctly either. She can trot I guess, but she is really unbalanced and she can't seem to stay in rythem. She just finds it hard to keep going at the pace. Its funny, she has the most comfortable canter, like a rocking chair, but her trot is so bad you have to stay two point in the saddle or she keeps knocking you off :(

Well, a person can improve a horse's trot easier than his canter.
EvilHorseOfDoom and elliejade like this.
    12-04-2013, 06:00 AM
Thanks guys.
My saddle was fit to lilly so I don't think its a tack thing. I agree with Rookie. Definatley someone rushed her. She's slowly getting better but like I said its easier to go down from canter to trot than walk to trot. I like the spiralling idea. She is sensitive to my body, I can turn her just with my seat which is awesome, but she is pretty bad with hand signals. I've been working on a really loose rein. I will try all of your ideas. Thanks, I really appreciate this.

Ps- her trot may be better after the chiropractor. I have realised she has a few really tense muscles mainly near her wither and rump, so once they get better, I'm going to come back and keep trying :) I think she is sore from the work, she was in a paddock and is now put into light work but everyday. Decided to have three days off a week :)
Boo Walker likes this.

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