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Catching the Correct Diagonal

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    Catching the Correct Diagonal

    Tracking to the left, I always naturally pick up the correct diagonal. Tracking right, I’m nearly always on the incorrect lead. Why is that? Does it mean my horse is unbalanced? I use Equilab to track my riding, so I know that I’m spending - roughly - an equal amount of time going in each direction. I would add that he’s slightly less comfortable to trot to the right.

    #2
    When you track right, sit an extra step until it feels normal.
    It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

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      #3
      I do the same thing! I assume it is because I am right handed and stronger on my right side. I’ve made a conscious effort to pick up the left diagonal first (sitting that extra step before rising), particularly when I’m hacking, and there is no rail, so diagonal doesn’t particularly matter. I think of it as a strengthening exercise for me.
      Chronicles of the $700 Pony
      The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
      www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog

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        #4
        it may, indeed have to do with balance of core strength or lack of balanced sensory reception and reaction. I can remember riding the trot with eyes closed and picking up the post, learning to feel first. This was 50 years ago so how to go about it depends on your self.

        Try the eyes closed exercise indoors. Try not to actively "think" about what you are feeling, simply feel , react, look and try again if wrong.

        Do it over if right.

        Remove your eyes from the learning process, dont look down for the diagonal then post, learn from the feel , look and validate
        _\\]
        -- * > hoopoe
        Procrastinate NOW
        Introverted Since 1957

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          Original Poster

          #5
          I'm glad to hear it's probably me and not my horse!

          Comment


            #6
            Is your horse hollow left, stiff right? If so, he could be throwing you slightly over to the right on left rein, making it easier for you to pick up the outside diagonal. It's often more difficult to "feel" the diagonal on the horse's stiff side and rise to that outside shoulder - especially if they lean on the inside shoulder. Work on suppling and straightening the horse (and yourself!) will help with this.

            (And yes, try to focus on "feeling" the diagonal by closing your eyes when you first pick up the trot and start posting, I've used this trick with my students to good effect )
            "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

            "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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              Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post
              Is your horse hollow left, stiff right? If so, he could be throwing you slightly over to the right on left rein, making it easier for you to pick up the outside diagonal. It's often more difficult to "feel" the diagonal on the horse's stiff side and rise to that outside shoulder - especially if they lean on the inside shoulder. Work on suppling and straightening the horse (and yourself!) will help with this.

              (And yes, try to focus on "feeling" the diagonal by closing your eyes when you first pick up the trot and start posting, I've used this trick with my students to good effect )
              This is making me rethink my note about him being less comfortable, or smooth, moving to the right. Perhaps what I'm feeling is stiffness. I'm not someone who spends time lungeing, but it might be time to dust off the cavesson so I can see from the ground what's going on.

              Thanks!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by SuzieQNutter View Post
                When you track right, sit an extra step until it feels normal.
                This is what we are all taught, however there is a better way. Bonus, it gives you insight into how the horse is moving in regards to how your aids/body are moving.

                So, while at walk on the easy way, watch the outside shoulder of the horse as you ask for trot. Do it a couple of times until you go, "Um, d'oh, the shoulder keeps doing the same thing, I just start rising with it moving forward as I ask for trot."

                Then, go the other direction and watch the outside shoulder in walk. I GUARANTEE it will do the same thing in trot, BUT, your body will tell you I am a lying liar and the shoulder turns inside out and crosses Greenwich Mean Time and orbits the earth half a dozen times before settling into trot. Don't listen to it. Your body is telling tall tales to get out of learning to do something new. Keep watching that outside shoulder and asking your body to rise with the forward motion of that outside shoulder as soon as you ask for trot. Keep trying until your body gets that you are more stubborn.

                This will be hard for quite some time unless you are naturally ambidextrous. However, once you have it, you'll be amazed you could ever not do it.
                Ahhhh, spring is here. The birds are singing, the trees are budding and the paddocks are making their annual transformation from cake mix to cookie dough.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Adding a caveat - after reading along a bit more. If your horse is actually uncomfortable somewhere, fix that first. Horses can manage to convince you that they have only one diagonal worthy of posting when they are lame somewhere. If that is the case, fix it before you fix your little fine tuning thing.
                  Ahhhh, spring is here. The birds are singing, the trees are budding and the paddocks are making their annual transformation from cake mix to cookie dough.

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #10
                    I don't think it's a lameness issue, as I just had his saddle fit checked, and he was recently vet checked to transition over to endurance. My guess would be that he's naturally happier moving in one direction over the other (left-handed) and I reinforce that. He's also extremely lazy and doesn't enjoy the arena (much like his owner!).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I think it's often that horses, like people, have a foot they prefer to strike off with in the first step of the trot. So they may always start the trot with the RH/LF diagonal, no matter which direction they are going.

                      I think there's a way to affect the diagonal they strike off with, possibly with a counted walk and asking at exactly the right moment when the correct hind foot is grounded. But that's always been too much of a mental challenge for me.

                      I pick up the trot and start posting and check my diagonal quick or sit 2 steps until I see the correct diagonal.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If you are sitting a little to the outside instead of balanced or even a little extra weight to the inside, you will tend to pick up the wrong diagonal. The inside hind will toss you forward if you are sitting over it correctly.
                        Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                        you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

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                          Original Poster

                          #13
                          Now I’m glad I ordered the Pivo.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            See if you can feel the belly swing. As a hind leg is brought forward the horses belly swings out on the opposite side to allow it to come through. So for the trot you should be sitting as your inside leg is pushed out by the swing, the rise starts as your inside leg falls in.
                            If you are sitting crookedly you will find you cannot feel the swing on one side as much as the other.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              As mentioned above, be sure you are aiding at the correct time for your horse to strike off on the correct leg. Then you will naturally get the correct diagonal. Apply the aid when the inside leg is coming back. Try it and see if it works.

                              Comment

                                Original Poster

                                #16
                                I have newish stirrup leathers, and when I went to switch them to opposite sides yesterday, I noticed that one seemed to have stretched about an inch longer than the other. Perhaps this is a clue...

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Ceffyl_Dwr View Post
                                  I have newish stirrup leathers, and when I went to switch them to opposite sides yesterday, I noticed that one seemed to have stretched about an inch longer than the other. Perhaps this is a clue...
                                  Aha! Yes, I bet that's part of the problem. Invest in some no-stretch leathers. It won't 100% solve the problem but it will help <your body to find new and creative ways to embrace its lack of perfect symmetry>
                                  Ahhhh, spring is here. The birds are singing, the trees are budding and the paddocks are making their annual transformation from cake mix to cookie dough.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    If you teach yourself to feel each of the the hind legs going forward then you'll know each and every time when to rise. You MUST feel when each hind leg is going forward in all gaits so you know when to give an aid.

                                    No looking down! That's cheating!

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Can you feel the hind legs at the walk? If you let your hips swing with the belly of the horse this feel comes automatically and if you need to use a singular leg for lateral work at walk, the leg you need is already swinging correctly. But if you take the movement at the walk by pumping back and forth at the waist, you can't feel the swing best so well. If you can feel the swing at the walk it's easier to feel the beats at the trot too.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Knights Mom View Post
                                        If you teach yourself to feel each of the the hind legs going forward then you'll know each and every time when to rise. You MUST feel when each hind leg is going forward in all gaits so you know when to give an aid.

                                        No looking down! That's cheating!
                                        So, no training wheels on bikes? For visual learners, looking down to SEE what is going on with the legs is paramount to learning how to feel it. It provides a temporary bridge between eyes and body while the body learns what the hell is actually going on down there under the saddle
                                        Ahhhh, spring is here. The birds are singing, the trees are budding and the paddocks are making their annual transformation from cake mix to cookie dough.

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