I spent many moons on the lunge line with my eyes closed to "feel" my diagonals till I could "feel" the correct one. My instructor would just say "does that feel correct or not?" and I would answer if I was right I would continue if not she would tell me to sit and sometime later she would tell me to rise.
I stayed on the lunge until I got it right all the time. Once I was off if I ever picked up the incorrect one I was back on the lunge. for a month or so... I did not stay with that instructor.. I spent a lot of time on the lunge and I had more than that as my plans had more than hers for my horse and I did not jive at all.
But I learned my diagonals
I was a "look down- up on the outside leg" girl for years (hunt seat as a kid). I then took lessons from a woman who had a wonderful method for feeling the hindquarter movement and getting the correct diagonal that way. I don't see it posted yet, so good to share. She had me put one arm behind my back and sit the trot. Having an arm behind your back causes the spine to rotate and swing more with the trot movement. The exaggerated sway of my spine finally got it through my thick brain to feel that back end. The trainer had a cutting horse background.
In continental Europe, I learned and later taught outside shoulder/leg going forward, because so you were sitting with the inside hind leg and that helped your weight coming down when that inside leg was down, gave it better support, horses could easily then carry your weight forward without twisting.
When in larger areas and not making many turns, like in trail and endurance rides, we would switch which leg to post on regularly, supposedly to not weight too much one side only.
I have heard that there are some northern russian instructors that were teaching the opposite way, with their own reasons, but it was more of an isolated school of thought.
I was blessed with instructors who thought I should be able to feel my diagonal. As a result, I went years constantly being on the wrong one.
Finally I got an instructor who suggested I look (quickly) at the outside leg.
Oddly, it didn't take long after that for me to learn to feel when I was correct and when I wasn't. It's still tougher for me to feel the correct diagonal going clockwise than counterclockwise, though.
All my instructors were h/j.
I never rode a broke horse but then maybe I'm a sorry hand. - Ray Hunt
A friend and I discovered yesterday we learned diagonals the opposite ways. I learned to check the inside leg (when the inside leg is forward, you're sitting down). She was taught to check the outside leg. Of course, now we feel them, but we started wondering- is it a discipline thing? My mom taught hunters, so I learned from her in the 70's. My friend started out eventing (she's about 10 years younger than me).
How and what were you taught?
I began in a hunter barn as well, and was also taught check the inside leg!
Outside. I can feel my diagonals but tend to look out of habit. It's easy to tell on my guy cause he drops his inside shoulder so you get really off balance if you try to post on the inside. I also always check at shows because it would be stupid to lose a class because you think you are on the right diagonal, which I've seen done. I can check my diagonal pretty quick and am good at checking without tilting my whole head down to look.
IMHO the key to feeling the diagonal is riding a horse with a good walk. If you can feel your hips swinging with the horse's walk think "in out in out" Keeping the rhythm ask for the trot and think "In out up down"
FWIW if the rider thinks "up down" even while sitting the trot she will probably sit better than if she thinks OMG I have to SIT. As a bonus if she thinks "Up down" while sitting she can switch to posting on the right diagonal
I wasn't always a Smurf
Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
"I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
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Rise and fall with the leg against the wall! Ha...I've never heard this til now. It will now become my mantra, b/c even after months with my current coach, she still has to tell me to change my diagonal.
I think first barn (all h/j barns), was inside leg....then next barn, outside.
The horse I rode at my previous barn, I could feel when I wasn't on the right one b/c it felt off. My current guy has such a bumpy trot that I can't tell without looking - or being told. Which has got to stop. lol!