:oops: OK, I need serious help, I am so terrible at my diagonals when I'm trotting.
I just have trouble recognizing when I'm on the right one. I know you "rise and fall with the leg on the wall" but when I look down I think I'm on the correct one, but, I'm not. I need all the help I can get, so any help will be appreciated.
You should be rising as the outside shoulder comes forward.
When you go into rising trot go ahead and glance down to check that you're rising properly. With time you'll be able to feel it but don't feel bad if you can't, yet! Just check when you start and remember to sit two beats when you change diagonal.
The way I taught my kids was I put them on a lunge line with hands on their hips, chin up, eyes forward at a walk. Then I would tell them which leg was forward so could feel it, then I had them say left, right, left, right etc. I would stop have a little conversation then start back walking and have them feel for left, right etc. When they could feel the walk I started them trotting on the line and did the same thing, but said up, down, up, down and had them feel for the up and down. Then we did it with 1,2, rise, fall, I used different words just for variety. After a couple times on the line they could feel their horse and pick up the correct diagonal. I like having them on the line so they are not worried about steering their horse or keeping it moving all they have to do is feel and worry about what they are doing. So maybe someone can lunge the horse for you and so you can focus on the feel, without having to worry about the rest of the horse.
What is actually happening is the rider is sitting on the down beat of the incorrect diagonal (this counts as the first "beat" of sitting twice) and then sits the trot one beat before rising again.
I learned the "one beat" method..never heard it as two beats until the last few years and then had to ask an instructor (just out of curiosity) why they were saying sit for two beats.
I only sit for one beat to change diagonals, exactly for the reason stated above. One beat corrects it, 2 beats is like nothing has changed lol.. you're still on the same diagonal as before.
You'll get it, it just takes some practice.
Sometimes approaching things backwards works as well - look for the shoulder that is very clearly BACK as opposed to forward, and line up your diagonals accordingly. Sometimes it's easier to detect the back shoulder as opposed to the forward one.
While riding the Clyde in my avatar photo his mane is so unbelievably long that it literally covers his right shoulder most of the time, so trying to see the diagonal when on left reign was tough. I got into the habit of just looking at his left shoulder instead and getting my diagonals that way.
It all comes with time.
Try a sitting trot with your eyes closed & let the horses movement tell you when to rise.
I have to say up, down, up down in my head. It's easier for me to figure out if I can match the movements with my words.
When you're trotting, ask your trainer or someone around you if you're on the right diagonal. If you are, say "up, down, up, down" etc. until you get the right motion. Switch to the wrong diagonal, then try to switch back to the right one. That's how I practiced :)
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