Help Improving Horses' Trot!
I am looking to improve some of the horses' trot I am training. What is one of the best ways to do this? Trotting poles? Hiles? What length should the poles be and how often should I do them? I also need tips for a pony. :D (He's a medium). Thank you! I am also open to tips for creating a more balanced canter.
I am a hunter/jumper rider.
What about the trot are you hoping to improve?
Trotting poles are a good one, also cavelletti. Improving the trot is a slow process, achieved by improving the allround fitness and suppleness of the horse. Lunging will help, about three times a week, 7 minutes on each rein with a pessoa/bungie/elasticated side reins (make sure these are not too tight, you want to ask the horse to come round, not tell him!) and a roller. Keep him going forwards, make sure he steps under. Work in walk, trot and canter. I prefer not to lunge in a saddle, and use a roller instead, as this way you can see if they are lifting through the shoulders, and also it means that if the saddle's not a proper fit it doesn't hinder their muscle development. Another thing you should really do is hillwork, walking downhill and doing a nice, controlled trot uphill. I do 20 mins roadwork and hill work every morning with mine, and his trot has come on a lot!
Sorry to ask, but... What do you mean by "improving"? Like going more round? Stop dragging feet?
I second Levade's advice, particularly the hills. Even if all you have are gentle rolling slopes, trotting around on terrain like that will quickly build up necessary butt and back muscles needed for your horse to carry himself correctly.
As for canter, you improve the canter through the trot. Once the trot's better, the canter will follow. Lots of transitions between the two gaits will help both.
Oh yeah, normal trot pole spacing is 4'6" for an average horse. You might have to keep them a little shorter until he can properly balance himself over them.
I meant creating a more hunter hack winning trot. A trot that is stretching and round and one where the horse balances himself and it just all around looks better! Thank you so much for the help! I'll be sure to use these!
Good news is there is lots of room for improvement in the trot. Trot can be improved up to 80% according to most experts. It's all about muscle and balance.
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