• Theo

Trot Training

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

Something I didn't put too much thought into with starting Carrie back under the saddle was starting to trot. It's something I don't think twice about when riding other horses, but suddenly, I found myself hesitant to move up from a walk...

For a while, my main goal with Carrie's training was to build up her muscle so that she would be able to carry the weight of a rider with confidence. We got there quicker than I thought but with riding, I wanted to take it slowly so that it didn't become a negative experience for Carrie. Mostly we'd walk and then included some poles.

It occurred to me one day though, that she was totally disinterested and almost dead to the leg. To be clear, we didn't have weeks and weeks of riding just in walk. Nevertheless, she was bored.

From that point on, I was determined to start trotting with her. The biggest concern flooding my brain was her potential reaction to rising trot. We don't have an arena so she could easily bolt if she got upset. Equally, if I was tense in anticipation, she would be nervous about trotting and then something would be more likely to go wrong. So, I had to come up with a plan that would work for the both of us.

Carrie is pretty responsive on the lunge and great with voice commands. She's also quite predictable on the lunge (at least in walk and trot). With the help of my boyfriend, we decided to try trotting on the lunge. I took her to a different spot so that she would wake up a bit (which worked). Then we spent a few moments just adjusting to riding on the lunge.

Next, came the trot. I decided to use only my vocal commands to start with so that she wouldn't have any other potential distractions. I used the command: "get ready, 3, 2, 1, trot on'. Unfortunately, she didn't go the first time but that's because she seemed more shocked than anything that I asked for something other than walk. On the second attempt, we managed some kind of clumsy trot! It felt horrible and my position was terrible, but we managed it. From that moment, we did three more short trotting sessions on the lunge. They were only a couple of strides each time but that's all we needed. I opted for sitting trot to give Carrie the chance to find her own rhythm.

Once I was confident that she understood trotting with a rider, we moved off on our own and then I asked for a longer trot so that she would get used to rising trot, which she took some time getting comfortable with.

That's where our journey is at for now. Hopefully, soon we can include some polework to encourage a more active trot, but it's nice to see her confidence growing.

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