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GallantGesture
Aug. 31, 2009, 11:28 AM
I know there was a thread not too long ago asking for stretchy trot pics. I got a good one from my ride on Saturday, and it got me thinking about the stretchy trot. It's something that my 14 yo ottb has been willing to do for a while, but hasn't done *well* until recently. By that I mean, he has been willing to follow the contact down reasonably low, but he had a stopping point around his knees that was a comfort zone he didn't want to stretch past. It was also a challenge stretching him down, but keeping him up off his forehand and maintaining the rhythm in the trot. Often, as we did stretchy trot circle, he would gradually get more and more on the forehand, and the trot would get quicker and flatter as we went, and no amount of half halts could fix it. It was like he was trotting down a hill and couldn't stop.

Now, it seems like all of the sudden it happened without even working on the stretchy trot itself, these problems are fixed. At the same time, I have found some first level work we have been working at getting easier. It's made me reflect on the real strength required to do a good stretchy trot, and maybe especially in the case of a horse that is not an uphill build or mover to begin with. I just thought it was interesting. Anyone else find this?

Here's my pic and reflections: http://tbatx.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/stretchy-trot-makes-me-happy/

quietann
Aug. 31, 2009, 11:45 AM
Nice pic! That's a great stretch.

My mare and I are working on this now, and have also experienced a sudden improvement. Part of what's happened is that she now *offers* stretchy trot, at random moments during our rides, and I am letting her have it, because I think it means she trusts me enough to stretch out her back while I'm on her. (I am not the greatest rider, and was probably bouncing on her, or getting too tense, before.) She's a tight-backed little creature, so anything that helps her relax is good! The other thing that's happened is that she no longer gets rushy/on the forehand when we come away from the wall in stretchy trot.

This (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro2Cj8SsNcE) is where we were on Friday -- she's really trying hard, though those geldings are distracting :lol: and getting a few stretchy steps in. In Sunday's lesson, she went down much more and stayed there and even trotted over a pole without raising her head. I wish I had video! Her conformation does not allow for "nose at the toes" stretchy; she's a Morgan, with a short neck to go along with that short back, and naturally carries herself more "up" and collected.

There's some sort of breakthrough happening; as she's also coming on the bit without a battle... We're going along, and all of a sudden she raises her back and lowers her neck and she's light and soft in my hands. It doesn't last long, but I want more!

Petstorejunkie
Aug. 31, 2009, 11:57 AM
yes, it does take a great amount of athletic ability for a horse to stretch long and low for more than a step or two. i have found that a combination of hills and raised cavalettis helped my ottb to develop the fitness and finesse to have a decent stretchy trot.
i also found that stroking the reins through my fingers helped. it's something my trainer suggested, saying it created a tiny fibration that encourages them to seek more. now i can stroke the reins at the walk anytime i want him to stretch his top line and boing, there we are! it's awesome

Gloria
Aug. 31, 2009, 12:10 PM
Congratulation!!! Isn't the same scenario happens over and over? We work and work and work and work on some movements and thought it's never going to happen it's never gonna happen... And then suddenly one day, it is there, and then we wonder why it was so hard..

I never have probem with stretchy trot (there are problems in other areas) but I use it to be part of my warm up and warm down every single ride (stretch down, go up, stretch down, go up, repeate) so maybe it is just because we have plenty of practices.

Very very cut pony.

Movin Artfully
Aug. 31, 2009, 04:19 PM
Holy cow- GORGEOUS STRETCHY TROT! :D

luv2piaffe
Sep. 1, 2009, 04:18 PM
is that picture from silverwood?

lovely stretch! forward and down!!!!!!!!!!!!

merrygoround
Sep. 1, 2009, 04:41 PM
Great stretch. see p.m.

goeslikestink
Sep. 1, 2009, 05:55 PM
urm your a little to far forwards as the horse looks like its about to roll or nose divewhich is over stretching the horse - the horse when asked to stretch should be relaxed you you should be sitting up and the hands by the buckle -- not as in the photo tilted and half way down his neck

look here at carl hester trianing horses at a demo from novice to grand prix
he also explains how to let the horse stretch
http://horseandcountry.tv/episode/carl-hesters-fantastic-elastic-masterclass-crofton-manor-episode-1

dainty do
Sep. 2, 2009, 12:14 AM
GG,

Thank-you for showing your picture. It was a brave thing to do, and it enables all of us to learn.

It is difficult for the horses to keep their balance while stretching down. This leads to my question. Shouldn't the horse be "tracking up" during the stretchy trot? It looks like the picture could have been taken at an off-moment, but is the horse shortening his stride some and no longer reaching forward with his hind end?

JB
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:15 AM
They gray (http://www.sustainabledressage.com/rollkur/work_stretch/silvestro_fdo2.jpg)on this page
http://www.sustainabledressage.com/rollkur/work_stretch.php

shows, to me, an excellent stretching trot - the horse is pretty balanced, pushing from behind, and doesn't look like he'd stumble over his nose. The rider does need to sit up, like the OP rider - you're still riding, still need to ride back to front, so don't let form suffer :)

IMVHO, the OP horse is too much on his forehand for it to be a really good stretch - a lot of the actual stretch is lost when on the forehand.

From that same page, further down, is a picture of a horse at liberty doing a beautiful stretchy trot
http://www.sustainabledressage.com/rollkur/work_stretch/long_low_free.png

There's a subsequent picture (http://www.sustainabledressage.com/rollkur/work_stretch/stretchh.png)(no idea if it's the same horse) which shows another good stretch - doesn't have to be really low to be of benefit.

quietann
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:17 AM
It is difficult for the horses to keep their balance while stretching down. This leads to my question. Shouldn't the horse be "tracking up" during the stretchy trot? It looks like the picture could have been taken at an off-moment, but is the horse shortening his stride some and no longer reaching forward with his hind end?

I think it's difficult to tell from the photo exactly where that rear hoof is going to land. That's why I like video for stuff like this... I like that in the video I posted, maresy is tracking up pretty well. She does raise her head a little at times, probably in response to me as much as anything else. There was a time when she wouldn't even try to stretch down with me, probably because my hunter-style riding was pushing her onto her forehand too much. We "progressed" from there to a few steps of stretchy trot, followed by a "Mad Morgan trot" where she'd raise her head and speeeeeeeed up because she was losing her balance.

We've done stretchy trot in every lesson since then and she just gets better and better. My husband, who is the cameraman, still isn't getting that I want stretchy trot videos. He doesn't necessarily understand how important it is, or how happy I am with our progress.

meupatdoes
Sep. 2, 2009, 10:27 AM
urm your a little to far forwards as the horse looks like its about to roll or nose divewhich is over stretching the horse - the horse when asked to stretch should be relaxed you you should be sitting up and the hands by the buckle -- not as in the photo tilted and half way down his neck

look here at carl hester trianing horses at a demo from novice to grand prix
he also explains how to let the horse stretch
http://horseandcountry.tv/episode/carl-hesters-fantastic-elastic-masterclass-crofton-manor-episode-1

Never fails...

GallantGesture
Sep. 2, 2009, 12:16 PM
Thanks for the compliments and suggestions guys! I know this pic is not perfect, and I did not mean to imply that I thought there was nothing that could be improved about it. I agree I could be sitting a little straighter, and I would LOVE for my horse to look like the grey that JB posted links to, but alas, he is a middle aged, beat up ottb with flat gaits. He's the kind of "average" horse everyone is talking about when they say "Any horse can do dressage!" so I think his trot (stretchy or not) will NEVER look like that, as much as I'd love for it to!

What did strike me though was how his stretchy trot improved recently. The videos QuietAnn posted show how it starts, then my horse got to where he could stretch comfortably about to his knees and carry that. There is a picture of him on my blog from the last show we went to (and yes, that is Silverwood! Love it there!!) stretching to his knees on the stretchy circle in T4. We got a 68.4% on that test, and a 7 for the movement, so I'm no Carl Hester, but I thought I was doing ok with what I had to work with. For a long time though, that was as low as I could get him to reach and stay consistantly (so QuietAnn, stick with it, your horse may reach lower yet!!).

I wondered if others had the same experience, and I thought maybe the discussion would help everyone who's working on getting a good stretchy trot. Petstorejunkie posted a few suggestions to improve stretchy trot... hills and cavaletti's, anyone else tried these? Or what other exercises helped your horse to look like the grey JB linked to?

ram10
Sep. 2, 2009, 12:41 PM
We were having a discussion the other day about behind the vertical--is it ever ok--and the stretchy circle. Seems like the horse has to be BTV a bit to do it correctly in order to stay round and forward and without opening up the throat latch and falling on the forehand. I found this article http://www.equisearch.com/horses_riding_training/english/dressage/stretchy_circle_050108/ by Courtney King-Dye, which shows much the same silhouette as the horse in the Hester video. Too often riders let the reins go and lose the impulsion as the horse's nose goes to the dirt. I recently scribed for a judge who gave 10's to two riders for the movement -- both were nicely forward, a bit BTV and the rider's hands stayed together. Lots of riders pull the hands out, as if the reins are side reins. Judge hated that. Just my thoughts.

SaddleFitterVA
Sep. 2, 2009, 02:50 PM
Interesting that the judge you scribed for hated the hands coming out a bit. I've been taught that you want to keep the connection to the mouth, and so if the horse starts to fall behind the bit, you can widen your hands for a moment while you ask for more forward, to retain the connection. It is simpler than shortening and then allowing the reins to lengthen again.

Obviously the goal is not to do the stretch with the hands low and wide for the entire movement, but each movement is a bunch of moments put together.

Here is my young horse (5) back in June. This is not as foward, down and out as it could be, but I was pleased with that for her, that day.

http://www.irealm.org/horseplay/getimage.php/med/102/IMG_4608.JPG