Hi all, I was wondering if it would be possible to teach my 20 year old gelding to jog instead of trot? I trail ride in a trail ranger saddle woth long stirrups so rising to the trot is not very practical. I would also like to teach my saddler gelding who will start his training for cow pony soon to jog instead of trot.
I taught Biscuit to jog and it took a few months but he finally could jog softly and keep an even speed for miles.
I would start out at the trot, sit back in the saddle which made him slow down. I pushed him into the bridle somewhat (don't know if I am explaining this right as I am NOT a trainer) to collect him up. I had a hand on each rein and my arms were set with elbow in and firm so he couldn't pull the bit out of my hands which he tried to do constantly.
When he slowed I put leg on and clicked my tongue at him. LOADS of stop and start, lots of slowing him down. Now he will jog nicely but it did take lots of practice!
I read one article on how to slow them down with circles. This is the way I trained my mare. She is not WP bred, she is race bred. I was/am not looking for the WP movements, just a comfortable sitting trot/jog.
I would start her out slow, sitting the trot and sitting deep in my seat. When she started to get too fast, we would start circling and circle smaller and smaller and smaller until she was at the correct pace, then start spiraling back out. As long as she kept that pace, we can go, but get fast and were going to circle. They can't comfortably trot fast at a small circle, and this teaches themselves to slow down. You are not half halting or hanging on the reins, just squeeze with the leg if you feel them try to break to a walk.
Circles, serpentines and lots of leg-yielding exercises, all done with a lot of leg and impulsion will teach a horse to take shorter steps. True collection takes a lot of impulsion because you want a horse to learn to maintain a decent cadence (not too slow) and slow down by shortening its steps and shifting its weight back to its hind end which softens its landing on its front end and makes a horse as 'smooth' as it can possibly be. Even at that, some horses will not ever be real smooth, especially those with a lot of knee action and those that are naturally heavy on their front ends.
A nice slow jog is such a wonderful thing on the trails. Biscuit is traveling at approximately 4 mph but he can also haul hinney at 11 mph in a ground covering trot. I can sit his jog and trots for the most part but it is nice for him to have plenty of speeds to choose from.