I don't get diagonals - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-28-2011, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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I don't get diagonals

my friend is trying to teach me English riding i dont get diagonals!
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-28-2011, 07:41 PM
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Whether you ride English or Western, it's important to understand and work with the horse's natural movement, balance and rhythm. The trot is a 2 beat rhythm where the legs work in diagonal pairs - left hind/right fore and right hind/left fore. So, the first stage of being able to rise to the trot is being aware of (feeling) your horse's rhythm. Having a lesson on the lunge line is a good way to be able to feel the horse's movement. While the instructor moves your horse up to the trot, you can just feel the movement and allow your body to move with it. Let the horse's movement lift you a little bit out of the saddle on one beat and then sit gently on the next beat. On the "up beat", don't try to get way up out of your saddle. Just roll onto you thighs while keeping your lower legs in contact with the horse's barrel. If there is day-light between you and your saddle, you are rising too high and pushing off your stirrups rather than using your legs to support you.

Once you have the rhythm sorted out, then you need to know when the horse's outside shoulder is going forward. When the horse is travelling on his left rein (doing a circle to the left) he should have a slight left bend in his body. His right shoulder is on the outside of the bend and is, therefore, the outside shoulder. To be on the "correct diagonal", you will rise (up beat) when your horse's outside shoulder is coming forward. This way, you do not interfere with your horse's balance.
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-28-2011, 08:04 PM
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Rise and fall with the wall... here's a good YouTube video showing diagonals:

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post #4 of 18 Old 11-28-2011, 08:46 PM
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Great video. Hadn't seen any trot demo videos in slow motion before. As I'm just learning and working on trotting a lot anything like that helps.
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-28-2011, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thank u guys u r helping me sooooooooooooooooo much
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post #6 of 18 Old 11-28-2011, 09:07 PM
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Also remember that diagonals are based on turns. In a straight line, it doesn't matter much. For learning, sometimes it is easiest to ignore diagonals for a while until the basic motion is right, and you are comfortable sitting a beat and switching diagonals. After that, rise and fall with the wall works well until your body feels the motion. Long term, getting the diagonal right will help your horse move better.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-28-2011, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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ok ill keep it in mind thanks
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post #8 of 18 Old 12-02-2011, 05:41 PM
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Rise and fall with the leg on the wall...when the leg closest to the wall, the outside leg, is forward, you go up. It's a nice one-two-one-two-up-down-up-down motion. To switch diagonals (when you switch directions) sit one extra beat so up-down-down-up-down-up-down etc. :)

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. - Confucius
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post #9 of 18 Old 12-02-2011, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cinnamon View Post
my friend is trying to teach me English riding i dont get diagonals!
I have a bunch of spare ones kicking around, you want a few?
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post #10 of 18 Old 12-02-2011, 10:39 PM
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Everyone else has given you good information, I just wanted to throw in there that the reason it is correct to rise with the outside leg is because when the outside front leg moves forward the inside hind will also be moving forward. Riding while the inside hind is coming forward keeps you off the horses back for that stride making it easier for the horse to reach forward with that hind leg. Thus, allowing for better balance and correct bend.

"The art of riding is keeping a *horse* between you and the ground."
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