View Full Version : How to slow down after medium trot.

Jan. 10, 2008, 05:57 PM
What are your favorite exercises for a horse that is hard to slow down after medium trot?

Jan. 10, 2008, 06:04 PM
Medium trot to a couple of steps of working trot to walk or halt transitions. Esp. across diagonal. In the beginning, think more of medium trot to walk, medium trot to halt. Then, you can do medium trot to x, then working trot into 10 m circle. If he learns that there's the possibility that something requiring balance might be coming up, he'll be less apt to run.


Trixie's mom
Jan. 10, 2008, 07:41 PM
practice your mediums on a large circle instead of across the diagonal until they are more balanced. then make a oblong figure eight with mediums on the top and bottom of the figure with collection across the middle. when your horse is more ready switch the mediums on the diagonals of the figure eight.

good luck!

Whitfield Farm Hanoverians
Jan. 10, 2008, 09:24 PM
I always used the wall of the indoor if you have one. Just ride the medium on the quarter line & if he doesn't come back keep going directly into the wall. I promise he won't run into it. He'll just use his own brakes for a change. When he "helps" with the 1/2 halt praise him like crazy, then he should start listening to you. It's the same as using the quarter line turning into the wall for working pirouettes, etc. Works well for most horses. Makes the horse listen to your body instead of the pulling war that happens when they don't respond. Have fun!

Jan. 10, 2008, 09:34 PM
There should be no need to "slow down"...medium trot is not about speed, but rather a change in tempo...that is to say that the horse maintains the same rhythm as collected or working trot....and lenghens his stride to achieve medium tempo. If your horse is speeding up, then chances are you have not achieved a medium trot but rather a change in rhythm.

Jan. 10, 2008, 10:05 PM
I think what the previous poster meant to say was that the medium trot is not about speed/tempo, but about changing the length of the stride. To change the length of the stride, you need to be able to change the length of the horse's frame. This entails both a slight change in your pelvic angle as well as a change in the degree your elbow is bent. The medium requires that the elbow angle be opened a little, while the change back to collected means that your elbow angle must close again as the pelvis returns to a bit more upright position. Remember that you cannot change both diagonals at the same moment. You need to shorten one diagonal first, and the second diagonal a nanosecond later. Use your corners to make these transitions in and out of the longer, or shorter stride. The circle, or circle segment naturally shortens the outside diagonal, while straightening the horse's body as you come out of the circle naturally lengthens it. Your elbow angle will be your most important key, and as you change those angles do not allow one of the reins to get away from you. The two reins must stay balanced with each other for the transitions.

Jan. 10, 2008, 10:08 PM
IF the horse's tempo is quicker, rather than longer (strides), then it is not a medium. If the tempo is increasing, then the horse is moving onto the forehand. Start with slightly more collection (ie shoulder fore), and then energize (more thrust) and allow the horse to lengthen the frame and the stride for a few strides on the (half) diagonal or part of a (large) circle.. IF the horse is not taking the half halts, then do transitions (ie to halt/walk/trot), make sure the horse sits down/lifts and arcs.

Remember the tempo should be the (relatively) the same in all the trots. And although you might go through space quicker in med/extensions because the stride is longer, the tempo might be actually a smidge slower (in med/ext). The rhythm (two beat) of the trot is the same...pure. If the horse becomes impure it is a change in rhythm, if the horse speeds up its a change in tempo....which tells you that the horse is running onto the forehand (to some degree).

Jan. 10, 2008, 10:08 PM
I think you need to re-visit what tempo means....to class it with speed is very flawed thinking.
Rhythm...when it is pure is when activity equals elevation. The Rhythm should not change but the tempo should to distinguish between collected, working, medium, and extended.

Jan. 10, 2008, 10:25 PM
From the USDF glossery of terms:

The characteristic sequence of footfalls and phases of a given gait. For purposes of dressage, the only correct rhythms are those of the pure walk, pure trot, and pure canter (not those of amble, pace, rack, etc.). [NOTE: Rhythm is sometimes used mistakenly to mean tempo; this usage is not consistent with the correct English definition of "rhythm" (per Webster), nor with its normal usage in the music world.]

Beats per minute, as would be determined by a metronome (rate of repetitions of the rhythm....ie a waltz can be played in a minute..quick tempo, or in a longer period of time...slower tempo. The actual waltz= the rhythm

IF the tempo is too fast/repeated then the speed increases, but not necessarily the length. You are right, the rhythm should NOT change, but neither shoulder the tempo (in an ideal world). Collection is amplitude of stride (height from impulsion (elastic thrust upward) and extension is length of stride (thrust flatter, increasing stride length)....Nigglis book is good at showing shorter/higher sine waves (collection) or longer/flatter sine waves (extension). Impulsion (active lifting and placing of the hindlegs with all the joints of the hindlegs active) allows for elevation/thrust (either upward for collection or forward for extension).

Jan. 10, 2008, 10:32 PM
There seems to be some confusion about definitions. Rhythm is the pattern of footfalls. Good rhythm = a regular (steady) pattern of footfalls. Tempo is the speed of the rhythm. So the tempo ideally does not change from medium to working or collected. Only the length of the stride does.

Jan. 11, 2008, 12:16 AM
Now that we know that medium trot is really what comes after the lengthening of the trot stride- I would suggest that you go back to riding your horse on the aids, and practice variations of stride-length in the trot, start with small 2-3 step sequences and use your seat to halfhalt- i,e, talk to the horse with your seat and small leg cues, avoid at all cost to pull on the reins...

As you tune your horse to your seat- a forward cue should become VERY forward, and a slow-down cue should be instantly understood- you are basically teaching your horse obedience in this process. None of this is valid if the horse is not in front of the leg- which it can be easily tested on by giving a small cue and seeing if an instant reaction is following- if this is not the case- you need to start a new thread about how to get the horse in front of the leg...because all of this is a giant pyramid- and if some basic foundation as far as behavior and understanding between rider and horse are not in place- nothing that comes after that is really valid or will function well regularly.

Good Luck!

Jan. 11, 2008, 04:00 PM
Thanks for all your advice, the excercizes with the quarter line, circle and figure 8 will all go into my routine. As will the exercise that Sabine described, I remember seeing that in the German National Federation's Advanced Techniques of Dressage book as the "see-saw" exercise. I think they should call it something else though, "see-saw" seems like a dirty word for dressage.

As to the points about rhythm and tempo, I can assure you that I know the difference and we are executing a pure medium trot that doesn't change tempo from our collected trot. I certainly don't have a change in rhythm because then we wouldn't be trotting anymore! ;) Since speed is the rate at which one covers ground, I do want to slow down. I don't want to slow the tempo down, I just want to stop covering so much distance in such a short period of time!

Jan. 11, 2008, 07:34 PM
What are your favorite exercises for a horse that is hard to slow down after medium trot?

Good answers all. As a last resort and if the horse simply runs through your aids a sharp turn usually brings them back to the request at hand.

Jan. 11, 2008, 07:47 PM
personally i would first check myself to make sure i wasnt contributing to the issue (with leaning forward, gripping, etc) , then i would work on halting. and i would want to be able to halt in any gait at any time, at any place - easily.

if the issue was going across the diagonal - i would work on having the ability to halt anywhere on the diagonal easily and when i wanted. to facilitate this i would do some small circles on the diagonal to get the horse thinking that it wasnt going to be charing off all the way across.

once i had the horse really listening and halting easily - it will be very easy to control any gait ant any time.

good luck!

ps - in my experience a good medium is easy to control - so by definition a medium that feels lite the horse is running away is incorrect - i would go back and review and see where the issue comes up. :)

Jan. 12, 2008, 12:00 AM
Then the OP is asking for greater collection/amplitude in a transition from medium to collection.

Speed is two things: it is created by rate of repetion, and one can go through space quicker when the stride are flatter and longer. If you want shorter/more amplitude strides, then ride more halt halts. Also, taking mediums to shoulder-fore or s.i. can increase the ability to take clearer hh and articulate the stride into more amplitude.

Jan. 12, 2008, 01:19 AM
. As will the exercise that Sabine described, I remember seeing that in the German National Federation's Advanced Techniques of Dressage book as the "see-saw" exercise. I think they should call it something else though, "see-saw" seems like a dirty word for dressage.

Funny you mention that..I actually learned this exercise first from a Swiss trainer that worked for many years for Ulla S. and I rode with her in Germany. 'See Saw' in German is more comparable to the word 'Swing' (referring to a stationary swing- like a kid's swing) than what we would interpret as See/Saw (somehow I have that picture of jumper riders riding rollkur swinging the horses heads left to right in my head...??)

Nonetheless- it is one of the most helpfull exercises to tune the horse to your seat. If you don't have a 'working relationship' with your horse thru your seat- you'll have nothing to move onwards with....;)!

Jan. 12, 2008, 05:38 AM
I like ending my line of bigger trot (lengthen, medium, ext, whatever) with a few steps of leg yield.

Jan. 12, 2008, 06:54 AM
You need to slow down your hips. For the medium you need to sit deeper and send long and slow. To come back you need to sir lighter, and slower. If your horse doesn't answer you need to work on your trot -walk transitions. Then when those are pushbutton, go back and try again. Any lack of response demands an immediate halt.

Don't forget that your legs are part of the equation. :yes:

Jan. 12, 2008, 07:01 AM
One of the things that helped me (as well as all the exercises) was being made to focus on the horse's balance. In the transition up to medium is the horse uphill? During the medium steps is the horse uphill? During the preparation for the transition back to collection where is the balance? Get that horse uphill! And finally don't attempt the downwards transition to collection unless the horse's balance is perfect in the medium steps otherwise you are setting your horse up to fail. Don't be afraid to start asking for the downwards transition, feel the balance go forwards and abandon the transition, kick on again back into medium. I think this teaches the horse what you actually want more than anything else. They don't get to stop the hard work (medium steps) unless their balance is right. You may have to set up 3-4 times before you get a good transition but when you do make sure your horse is in no doubt that they are wonderful. :)

When you are working on this going in a circle is a huge help as you don't run out of room as you would if you were working on a straight line. Also working on a circle makes the horse really engage the inside hind so obviously you need to work equally on both reins.

When you work on straight lines try asking for medium from the corner of the school to just before E or B, come back to collected then back up into medium and down to collection before the corner. It is the downwards transitions where the horse really has to work so make sure these are good and if they are not then either keep going and set up again, doing medium round the corner if needed or transition to halt in the corner, repeat 2-3 times then when your horse is anticipating the halt use their own setting up and stepping under to get a tidy transition to collection.

Final thought is if you have a very forward horse you may need to ride this differently. Many warmbloods are pretty lazy and you have to ask for the medium and stop riding to get collection. Hotter horses need you to "let the brakes off" (with your seat) to get the medium. If you are doing a long diagonal you may need to ride the few steps over X to keep the quality as the energy can sometimes decrease slightly by that stage. Then start preparing for the transition just after X by thinking about keeping your seat completely still and your legs off the horse. As the energy in the medium decreases by about the 3/4 line you can then add in a couple of half halts before making your transition. And think "ears up" at all times.

Downwards transitions are much easier on lazy horses. :lol:

Kathy Johnson
Jan. 13, 2008, 09:53 AM
I like ending my line of bigger trot (lengthen, medium, ext, whatever) with a few steps of leg yield.

And for a more advanced horse, shoulder in. Also, before the horse starts to anticipate and run on his forehand, come back sooner. A lot of forward and back in the mediums, and stay off of the long diagonal lines. Do mediums on short diagonals, circles, quarterlines, centerline. Do fewer, better steps.

Jan. 13, 2008, 11:09 AM
Thanks for all the great ideas! I had an awesome ride yesterday. We did a lot of Sabine's forward and back exercise in our warm up, then we moved on to the figure 8 exercise, which went well, then we tried going across a long diagonal and my horse came back beautifully at the end! Thanks to all :D