Posting diagonals - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-10-2014, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question Posting diagonals

Hi, I'm starting lessons and right now I'm learning my diagonals with trotting and I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations or tips. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-10-2014, 08:01 PM
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When a horse is trotting he moves the left front and right hind ahead at the same time and the right front and left hind ahead at the same time, the reason they are called diagonals because diagonal legs move forward together.
When trotting in a circle you want to be rising and falling in time with the inside hind leg. What I did when learning my diagonals (instead of hanging over the side to see when the inside hind leg is moving forward) I check to see that I am rising as the outside shoulder is moving forward. I would ask for the trot and maybe sit a stride or two until I could see the outside shoulder move forward, then rise in the trot. After practice it will come naturally to you. If you find yourself on the wrong diagonal, just sit a step then rise to correct it.
The way it was explained to me (over a half a century ago) is that the hind end is providing the energy and since the inside hind leg is travelling in a slightly smaller circle you want that leg to do the work of lifting the rider in the post. I'm sure there is a more correct way to explain this but it made sense to me at the time and cleared up a lot of confusion about diagonals for me.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-10-2014, 08:47 PM
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I am currently teaching my student how to post, so I am going to tell you what I told her. 'Rise and fall with the leg on the wall', so you rise when the leg closest to the wall is forward and fall (sit back) when it is behind. When crossing the diagonal just sit 2 beats and then rise.

I don't know if you have trouble or not with keeping your balance with posting but I have an easy tip to help just in case. I tell all my lesson kids to practice on a staircase in a squat position. Have your feet over the step enough that you can keep your heels down. From there you will use either hand (be mindful to switch them) and move it forward and back. Squatting when it is back and rising when it is forward. Just like you are on a horse. This will help your muscle memory and hopefully help your balance!
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-11-2014, 11:35 AM
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What I do to check if I'm on my correct diagonal, instead of keeping looking at the horse's shoulder, I just start posting, then I check to see if I'm right, then if I'm wrong I change it. I started out staring at the horse's shoulder, but that makes it harder, IMO.

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post #5 of 19 Old 09-11-2014, 04:37 PM
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Once you are on the correct diagonal, memorize the motion of the outside shoulder so that you know what it looks like when it's correct. Remember that the shoulder pulls the leg up and there is a fraction of a second between the lift of the shoulder and the lift of the leg.

With time and practice you can start to go straight up into the correct diagonal from a walk just based on which leg is going to come up next. Check the shoulder at the walk, imagine the movement of the legs and you will start to figure out which leg will be your outside as you begin the trot. Don't get too discouraged. This all takes time and experience-you'll get it!
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-11-2014, 06:14 PM
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I am also learning to post (after a year) and found that I was not able to really stare at the outside shoulder and keep moving. I tended to freeze while I was trying to find the shoulder. Then I would find it and by then I was already off the correct diagonal. I also couldn't keep rhythm with the leg, I was so busy staring at it, it would move twice and I would only move once.

What I found worked for me was to feel what the correct diagonal felt like by recognizing what the wrong diagonal felt like.

My instructor called out to me to change diagonals even when I was correct so I could feel how the wrong diagonal felt. We would go back and forth. When it is wrong, it is much more obvious to me than when it is correct. So I know when I am "bouncing" off the back with a wrong rhythm to sit and correct my diagonal.

Hope this helps. It is not traditional learning, but it helped me.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-11-2014, 07:49 PM
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Insomniac, I would go a step further and say rise and fall with the Front leg on the wall. Also unless I am completely off base when changing diagonals sit one or three beats to change to the other diagonal as sitting 2 beats will put you back on the same one.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-12-2014, 01:13 AM
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actually, when you are learning to post I think you should just disregard diagonals. it only matters on a circle, and then only on a smaller one.
and, learning how to change diagonals effortlessly and frequently is a good thing. So, make a lot of mistakes, correct, recorrect, andrecorrect. be able to be on or off the correct diagonal with ease.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-13-2014, 04:35 AM
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@Woodhaven Nope, sitting two beats is correct. You'll feel them in your bum. Sitting one beat is just a regular post. Sitting two is switching diagonals.
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-13-2014, 09:59 AM
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ecasey the trot is a two beat gait, right diagonal, left diagonal so if I am rising and falling with the right diagonal (left front shoulder) and sit one stride I should then be rising and falling with the left diagonal, (right front shoulder) at least this is the way I was taught.
With a two beat gait, skipping one stride will switch but skipping two strides will have you back on the same diagonal
If I am wrong about this I apologise but perhaps some trainers will comment on it
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