After 20 months of owning Ali and helping her make the transition from an OTTB into a successful show hunter, I had to share a comparison of her trot when I first got her and her trot from this past month. Her trot was naturally her least quality gate (her lovely canter always made up for it!), but we are finally seeing some progress. We still have room to improve, but I couldn’t be more pleased with her effort.
Please offer critique and advice!! I’d love to hear thoughts on her progress and thoughts as to what I could do to continue to help her improve!
P.S. Please forgive her mane in the “after” videos. It was in the process of being trained to lay to the right for braiding this summer and was still in the protesting phase
BIG improvement in her frame, her balance, rhythm. You've done an awesome job. She looks so much happier. She's still a bit of a leg mover. To get her back move involved I'd slow down the tempo and ask for bigger steps. Trot poles can help lots. I'd do tons of transitions between the gaits and within the gaits. Lots is supplying stuff like circles, changes of direction, leg yields. And then more transitions.
Be careful not to push her into a faster, choppier trot. Really think about slowest and longer. Give her time to step up under herself.
Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
Sure the rider got better (ideally we all are improving) but I think the real point of the video is not to look at that OTTB trot when they come off the track and think that is the trot you will have to live with for the rest of the horse's career. There's nothing about a race horse lifestyle that improves the trot (it mostly takes it away) - this is a great example how much a trot can change with proper work and time (and possibly some acupuncture, chiro or joint help, IV, IM or IA).
I definitely know this mare has improved my riding abilities since I've begun working with her--I can be a hand driven rider and that just didn't work with her, so I had to become more quiet and leg oriented.
I agree I'd like her trot to stretch out more and for her to get a bit more "flat kneed" per say---she's still learning to maintain engagement of her hind end.
There was quite a while when I thought I'd be "stuck" with an OTTB trot forever, but it was very encouraging to me when she really started moving out more (and up less)! It is fun to see how much their trot CAN change!