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View Full Version : A hop step upwards into trot on a young horse - test scoring question, too



Fantastic
Jan. 17, 2011, 11:06 AM
There is a young horse here who is overly eager to please and enthusiastically in all of his training, and throws in a single hop step upwards into trot on occassion.

He started this on the lunge line prior to going under saddle. He is sound, and the hop is just one single step, never more. I have seen it in the long lines. I feel it under saddle. It can happen either direction.

I am trying to "melt" into the upwards transition, just as we melt into the downwards. The downwards are really nice, melty, and through - canter to trot, and trot to walk. He stays nicely on the aids when we start to do forwards and back excercises - walk trot, trot walk, walk trot, trot walk. He tends to leave the hop step out in this excercise.

I have also tried a little shoulder fore into trot. Sometimes this helps.

How would a horse be scored in a test if it threw in a little hop step into trot?

Anyway, I am just looking for other ideas.

Thanks!

Valentina_32926
Jan. 17, 2011, 11:15 AM
No idea about the scoring but to prevent it try asking for trot from shoulder fore in walk.

SisterToSoreFoot
Jan. 17, 2011, 11:19 AM
How young?

My young horse (3.5) would do a version of a hop step early on. Watching him closely, I could see that he was choosing which hind leg to push off of, and sometimes he was doing it out of rhythm (hence the hop). As he has gotten stronger and less one sided, his push-offs are smooth. I've also see horses hop up when they are not using their hind ends period--they raise their heads and hop off the front end to get going. All a sign of back/hind leg weakness.

Transitions, like you're doing, should help. Also, cavaletti will help the horse simply get stronger in general. Asking the horse to trot right before the cavaletti can help him focus on his feet/using his back. I'd try W T Cavaletti W T W Cavaletti in that pattern. Try to begin the trot only a stride or two before your cavaletti.

I'm guessing a hop would affect your score, but there's no reason you need to accept it in the long term, since you should be able to condition it away.

MysticOakRanch
Jan. 17, 2011, 11:58 AM
A hop usually indicates a tightness in the back and a weakness in the hindquarters - so instead of stepping into the upward transition, they are hopping into it. My guess is, the horse also braces against the contact in the transition - even if he subsequently goes nicely to the contact? Hard to tell you what your score would be without seeing the transition and without knowing what level you are showing (Intro or Training). But in general, yes, you would be marked down for that kind of transition. How much? Depends on everything else going on.

Velvet
Jan. 17, 2011, 12:39 PM
No idea about the scoring but to prevent it try asking for trot from shoulder fore in walk.

This. :yes:

dwblover
Jan. 18, 2011, 10:07 AM
I think this occurs when the horse attempts to pull themselves up into trot with their front legs rather than push themselves into trot from the hind legs. Very, very common with youngsters as they are not that strong behind yet. The suggestion to ask from shoulder fore is super, as this will automatically place a bit more weight on the inside hind leg to help the horse get the idea of rear wheel drive. Just be certain to get the slight bend and then really soften the inside rein before you ask so you don't end up blocking that inside leg as it tries to step through.

awolffphotog
Jan. 18, 2011, 07:49 PM
I think this occurs when the horse attempts to pull themselves up into trot with their front legs rather than push themselves into trot from the hind legs. Very, very common with youngsters as they are not that strong behind yet. The suggestion to ask from shoulder fore is super, as this will automatically place a bit more weight on the inside hind leg to help the horse get the idea of rear wheel drive. Just be certain to get the slight bend and then really soften the inside rein before you ask so you don't end up blocking that inside leg as it tries to step through.

Ditto. That's what I've always found to have been the case, even if the horse is soft in front and not bracing in my hands. Ponies are great at this.

jcotton
Jan. 19, 2011, 10:56 AM
Forewarning that you might this with canter transitions too.
Use lateral work to strengthen the hindend. To push up rather than jump/pull up into the next gait.

Fantastic
Jan. 19, 2011, 11:16 AM
Thanks for all of your suggestions. I guess I've been doing pretty much the right thing. I meant to type SF, not leg yeild into the trot trans (but that could possibly be beneficial, too). By moving the shoulders over, getting him straight - inside leg to outside rein, and engaging the inside hind - it certainly helps.

The horse is 4 and is quite large (feet are size 4, I'd guess he stands around 16.3, and weighs over 1,450), and is the biggest sweet heart ever! He is a joy to work with, is an over achiever, and is one of my favorites. In fact, I can't wait to work with him today!

Thanks again, everyone!

jcotton
Jan. 19, 2011, 02:28 PM
but you can leg yield into your upward transitions, especially the canter.