Question: Help with rough trot!
I know there are probably other posts about helping a young horse smooth out his trot (I looked but couldn't find any). Hank was at a trainer for 60 days, but IMO, isn't where he should be. He is not consistent with his gaits, and his trot is really rough. His head set is good, he flexes nicely at the poll and carries his head at a decent western level.
What can I try to smooth out his trot? I get bits and pieces of it, but cannot get him to be consistent with it. I know he has the ability, because I have felt brief moments of a slow, smooth gait. I am considering trying another trainer to work on transitions and consistent gaits, but I am a good rider and have had a lot of riding experience, but nothing like this before.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. He is a wonderful, quiet 3 year old that will eventually be trained for Cowboy Mounted Shooting.
Trot more I'm thinking it is lack of muscle that is why he can only briefly hold it. Another thing would be is he properly collected or not which if he doesn't have proper muscle could also be why he isnt holding the comfy trot. Also it could just be his confo that keeps him from it.
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I would agree, more trotting. It's possible that at only 3 he is not ready for a lot of headsetting. If the rider pulls the head back into the neck, it can stifle the forward push of the horse form behind. Is he rough at trot if you do nothing to set his head?
Can you work with himn for a bit at a posting trot until he is stronger and more pushing from behind.? Is a smooth trot important for Cowboy mounted shooting? Sorry if that is a dumb question. I know nothing about this sport.
Thanks for the responses! His conformation is good- I don't think that is the problem because he doesn't trot easy- rather he doesn't know how. I think this because when I trot him on the rail, he is fast and rough, but if I circle him in, using small circles, then back on the rail, for about 5 steps, he is much better. I was just curious if anyone had any techniques I could try to help him understand what I want from him.
I do use the posting trot, but didn't know if that would help. I know the trainer didn't trot him much (he hated his trot so he just didn't trot him I found out after 60 days). So this is what I have been focusing on since I have brought him home.
The trot is not necessary for the Cowboy Mounted Shooting, but it is important for me because he will be used for other aspects too!
I would recommend lots of trot to walk, walk to trot transitions. Part of his problems is lack of the correct muscles to maintain the trot that you are looking for. Always try to transition down before he gets to the choppy trot again. He will eventually build the muscle to maintain the trot, and figure out that it's less work to do so as well.
If I were you, I would be very mad at the trainer as well. Regardless of whether he/she liked riding this horses trot, it is part of training a horse properly. As a trainer, you progress through each gate making sure that the horse responds correctly and lightly to the cues that you have taught. If someone is paying you to train a horse, you pull up your big boy/girl draws and do what has to be done. Because not doing so means that you are skipping out on the horse's proper training.
Ok, I'll get off my soap box now.
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You mentioned the circles. That was they key to my success. Rode a mare that was very fast and bracing when asked for the trot. The first step she put out like this, I circled her off the rail, severity of turn in sync with severity of her charge. Back out on the rail until the next rushed step. In the beginning we circled that entire arena but she did get the point. Floated up into a gorgeous gait once she learned I wasn't going to deal with the nonsense. I never worried about head set until I had that nice trot established, tho. One demon at a time for me. Oh, and our circle form was spectacular from all that practice, lol!
I was/am furious! To beat all, this is a close family friend who has trained horses for decades and KNOWS what needs to be done. The only thing I can figure is the young boy who was riding for him fell in love with this horse and tried for 60 days to buy/trade him. He would always tell me all the bad things he did that week, but when my husband would come up he would change his mind and say how good he is! It is my fault for sticking it out for 2 months- I should have brought him home after 30 days...anyhoo....I still have to try to correct the errors or put another 30 days on him!
60 days is not a lot of time for training...by any means. If you are expecting a 60 day wonder, and a totally broke horse...you will be disappointed, as you are. If the trot is rough....your horse is not using it's body and it's back correctly. THAT comes from training for more than 60 days...sorry to say. So your horse is hollow in the back and not working correctly from back to front; which makes for a rough trot. At the trot, if your horse is lifting it's back to meet your seat....it will not be as rough.
Sorry, but this is probably what you don't want to hear, but people who send a horse to a trainer for 60 days expect miracles. It simply doesn't happen. Training a horse to be finished takes a year or more....for real.
^^ I was not expecting miracles at all- I have owned horses for years- I know what it takes to get them where they need to be. My statement was the trainer said he didn't work on the trot because he hated it...ok I get that...but when he asked what I wanted him to work on the second month, I said- work on his trot...he did not do that, in fact, he just rode him out to check his cows, so I have a right to be upset- I am his customer and he did not follow through with the agreement- I did my part, I paid him.
This is why so many people shy away from posting because posts like this^^ make them not want to ask for help. I didn't ask you to grump at me, just for some suggestions for me to try.
Thanks to all who have given ideas- I really appreciate it.
I'd try trotting in two-point to allow the saddle the maximum freedom to move with his back.
When he gets too forward, use a lagging rein. Don't know what its real name is. But take light contact with the bit, and as each shoulder goes forward, lag with the rein. Don't pull back, just don't let that side flow as well forward. I was taught to do that at a walk first, then trot, then canter. With practice, it will tell the horse not to step out so far with his front leg, but not to slow down. Combined with shifting your balance some to the rear, it seems to help them take smaller steps with the front while still moving with the rear. I find it very useful at both the trot and canter with my mare...
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