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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

a few weeks ago i got a new mare. she is a complete sweetheart and is really getting a long with me. But we have kind of a big problem. I have just started riding her in a bit less bridle as her teeth are some. dentist is coming soon :) (she is only 5) but the worst thing is, i don't think she was correctly trained. she's really good in a walk and a canter, she can even jump nicely, but its like she never has trotted under saddle before.

on the lunge she trots perfectly, if a little fast but i assume thats because of her breeding, standard bred cross quarter horse, but you can tell that the standard bred is dominant.

under the saddle though, when trying to trot she tries to slow down to a walk or get right into a canter, which i don't let happen, so she begins to prance.

i have recently tried cantering her and bringing her back down to the trot as its working better than the walk to trot ever did.

Any ideas? Thanks guys
 

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Is she trotting or pacing when turned out? She may be hardwired to pace and you are trying to force her into the trot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No she doesn't trot or pace in the paddock. i mean occasionally she goes for a decent run but then stops and begins eating :)
 

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If she is trotting perfectly on the lunge, I would guess that the missing link is in the rider. How are you cueing her? What are you doing when you ask for the trot? You may be making giving her a signal to canter or slow down. Have you tried slow posting? This can really help because it makes the horse want to match your momentum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah i have thought that it was me as well, but my instructor rode Lilly too and she couldn't get my mare to trot correctly either. she can trot i guess, but she is really unbalanced and she can't seem to stay in rythem. she just finds it hard to keep going at the pace. its funny, she has the most comfortable canter, like a rocking chair, but her trot is so bad you have to stay two point in the saddle or she keeps knocking you off :(
 

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sounds like it might be good to start her over with respect to the trot. Get her balanced and soft. A horse should have three trots. A slow trot, a working trot and an extended trot. Get her back to basics, it sounds like someone rushed her.
 

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On the ground does she have a set vocal cue to trot vs canter? Do you use it under saddle?

How do you ask for the trot from the walk? If she's a sensitive horse you could just need to tone down your cue a bit.

You could also ask on a circle vs a straight line. For example when I am starting a horse under saddle and I am moving towards forward steps first I get control of the horses hindquarters, having my horse disengage both directions. When the horse understands that I ask for more until the horse feels the need to free up his or her front feet to comply with my new level of pressure to move.

You could also apply this from a walk. Get on a smaller circle and walk around then just ask for a tiny bit more. A teeny quiet cluck for example or just a tiny brush of your calves on her sides. As soon as you get a faster walking stride quit. After a few strides ask for a little more of a walk and again quit as soon as she speeds it up. You want to just kind of flow into a jog here and the circle will help you from building too much momentum.

Or you could approach it from the other end. As you're walking around use your trot cue. When she picks up a canter just spiral her down in a circle getting smaller until she hits a trot, there's only so small of a circle she can stay balanced enough on to canter instead of having to break gait to a trot. As soon as she hits the trot leave her alone and let her back on a straight line. Then let her speed back up, when she hits the canter, spiral her down again. Since that's where you leave her alone she'll start to look for the trot instead. You don't want to trot around a lot though as you need to get her to understand that cue, just trot long enough that she gets that is where she is left alone. Then slow to a walk and use your trot cue and repeat.

Another culprit that she doesn't like to trot could be rider error, if you bounce around then of course she'll be reluctant to trot.

When I'm getting a horse balanced I do a ton of trotting on a loose rein.

I ask for the trot and cruise around, making things very easy by only focusing on one thing at a time. If my horse speeds up I bend down to the speed I was at then let them out again. I do this on a loose rein with no steering. I am ONLY worried about my horses pace right now. I do this until my horse is responsible for their own feet and can maintain the speed I ask. A horse isn't going to trot such a tiny circle that they can't balance themselves and they'll start to pack you easier and easier. The horse will figure out how to pack a rider through turns and going straight and it's great for a rider too. You'll need to be balanced to stay with your horse.
 

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Yeah i have thought that it was me as well, but my instructor rode Lilly too and she couldn't get my mare to trot correctly either. she can trot i guess, but she is really unbalanced and she can't seem to stay in rythem. she just finds it hard to keep going at the pace. its funny, she has the most comfortable canter, like a rocking chair, but her trot is so bad you have to stay two point in the saddle or she keeps knocking you off :(

well, a person can improve a horse's trot easier than his canter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks guys.
my saddle was fit to lilly so i don't think its a tack thing. i agree with Rookie. definatley someone rushed her. she's slowly getting better but like i said its easier to go down from canter to trot than walk to trot. i like the spiralling idea. she is sensitive to my body, i can turn her just with my seat which is awesome, but she is pretty bad with hand signals. I've been working on a really loose rein. i will try all of your ideas. thanks, i really appreciate this.

ps- her trot may be better after the chiropractor. i have realised she has a few really tense muscles mainly near her wither and rump, so once they get better, I'm going to come back and keep trying :) i think she is sore from the work, she was in a paddock and is now put into light work but everyday. decided to have three days off a week :)
 

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I knew a mare that did that and it was a muscle problem. Trotting is a pretty balanced gait, that most horses naturally prefer.
 

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My instructor always says "the canter improves the trot" so we will frequently do very little trotting before moving on to cantering and then we go back to trot work. The horse I'm working with has stiffness and balance issues and it really seems to help him. He does trot without cantering though - it's just not a good quality trot.

Maybe you could go from walk to canter, do a whole bunch of work at the canter and then try to work on the trot?
 

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When you say that her trot nearly shakes you out of the saddle do you mean that you're doing a 'sitting' trot?
Is the English or western trained?
A lot of 'sharp' horses will actually take the cue to canter from the rider just sitting down in the saddle and stopping posting
Riding on too long a rein and too little contact might be opening the door too much for her to resist picking up too much speed
 

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I'd say she is hardwired to pace too, and you may have saddle too far forwards?

Video.
 

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I would not say she is hardwired to pace. Mostly because a number of pacer are only kept at that gate with hobbles. This mare is part standardbred so I would be surprised if she was naturally only a pacing mare. She mare be a mare that paces when nervous. I say this because I know a number of folks who do dressage, barrels, or jumping on their horses who are all pacers but who don't pace unless in hobbles or really nervous. The mare may be pacing but that would not be confused with a trot.

OP when you ride does it feel like both legs on one side are moving at the same time? Riding a pace is almost like sitting in the center of a seesaw. One hip drops while the other rises. Its a really fun gate to ride, I found it pretty smooth once I got into the rhythm of it.
 

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My standardbred paced without hobbles. She didn't trot at all. Not at liberty, not ever. I could force a few trotting steps but she would quickly jiggle into a pace or some variation thereof. She did a running walk and rack.

Could she be cross-firing gaits? Pacing in ther front, trotting in the back or vice versa? Feels like a broken washing machine spinning out. More often than not that's muscle needing to be built up more along with a little coordination.
 

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Thats a really good point Sue! She could be doing the trantor (front half does a canter back half does a trot). Sue did your mare race? A naturally gated solid pacing horse is not as common as it used to be.
 

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She raced but flunked out early on. Too slow I guess. She was an awesome trail horse though. USTA showed she had 3 foals. One exported to Denmark, the other 2 disappear early on.

Miss that horse. I have a TWH now but I started looking with the intention of getting another pacing standardbred.
 

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I have a friend in the UK who had an ex trotting racer/pacer' that would usually trot normally but would begin to pace when he got excited
What I'm not understanding is this bumpy bone shaking trot she talks about
 

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I've seen STBs do a weird combination of the trot and pace and that is bone jarring because there is absolutely no rhythm you can pick up on. I'd be pretty willing to bet this is what is going on.
 
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