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Trot pics: Balanced or incorrect?

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  • Trot pics: Balanced or incorrect?

    First-- Thanks for looking!

    From the following schooling show pics (Training level), I noticed my horse's hind leg hits the ground before his front leg at the trot... what does this mean?

    http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black

    http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black

    http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black

    http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black

    His rhythm feels normal, but I've had him since he came off the track and he's now 15 so its possible I'm just used to it. He's also had arthritis for several years so it could be due to that. I'm mostly happy he still likes to go, and that I can finally afford some of these shows. But, I'm wondering if this movement is correct and what I can do to work on it.
    "Bold Words was classier than all his competition. Straighter knees and a slim, elegant neck." -Nan Mooney My Racing Heart

  • #2
    What you are describing is called positive DAP (which stands for something which I can't remember at the moment) and I believe it is generally considered a good thing.

    All I can say is you and your horse make a lovely picture together.

    And I do have a question...what is the ring around his one hind leg?
    Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

    Comment


    • #3
      Diagnol Advanced Placement
      Kelly
      It is rare to see a rider who is truly passionate about the horse and his training, taking a profound interest in dressage with self-abnegation, and making this extraordinarily subtle work one of the dominant motivations of his life.\"

      Comment


      • #4
        If the horse travels such that both hind legs strike the ground before their diagonal fores, then the horse can be considered to be collected. If the horse does this when moving freely while not under saddle, it is considered DAP, diagonal advance placement.

        But, when you have horse that is not moving straight, then what is happening is that one diagonal is collected and the other diagonal is extended, each to a degree greater than is needed for correct balance.

        Your horse is consistently keeping the diagonal from its left hind to its right fore too collected, resulting in the left hind foot hitting before the diagonal fore. If you look at the other diagonal, you will see that the right hind is too high in the air, and the left fore is going to hit before the left hind. What you cannot also see is that the right hind is stringing out behind. The extra height that the camera catches in this first picture is the results of the right hind just reaching the highest point in the stride after the diagonal fore is on the way back to the ground. In other words, this horse is hollow right and on the forehand.

        Most horses at this stage are doing the same thing. If you look at your picture (1 st pix), you will see that you have hiked your left leg up, which puts too much weight on your right stirrup. In this counterclockwise direction, your weight should be on your left stirrup to a greater degree. Your extra weight going into your right stirrup is contributing to your horse's crookedness. Happens to the best of us!

        Comment


        • #5
          Angel --- Wow!

          Come watch me ride!
          Would be a great learing experience. And humbling I'm sure. . .

          Comment


          • #6
            Lessons are not supposed to be humbling...only the advancing of knowledge. Knowledge makes us all better.

            Comment


            • #7
              Angel - I've seen that in pictures so many times, and wondered myself. Thanks for the technical explanation!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                LOL, I wish we could do like or dislike, thums up or thumbs down, or something like that on posts.

                I think I'd click "like" on a lot of Angel's posts, she always takes the time to fully explain her observations!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ambrey View Post
                  LOL, I wish we could do like or dislike, thums up or thumbs down, or something like that on posts.

                  I think I'd click "like" on a lot of Angel's posts, she always takes the time to fully explain her observations!
                  Ambrey - that's a great idea. Can I pass it on to the mods? (wasn't there a forum suggestions thread a while back?) I suspect this forum software doesn't have that option, but if they ever consider a new system, that would be a great thing to have.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Absolutely. I am betting there's something similar available as an add-on.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by angel View Post
                      Lessons are not supposed to be humbling...only the advancing of knowledge. Knowledge makes us all better.
                      Yep, you must come and be my instructor!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There are several options in the vanilla vBulletin software that allow such things. Reputation Points for posters and thread ratings could be very helpful here. They have the most recent version, so it would just be a matter of figuring out how they want to implement it and turning it on.

                        There are also third party add-ons that will do similar things. Most you have to pay for, though.

                        Eileen
                        Mad Mare™ Studio
                        Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
                        http://MadMare.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's not DAP.

                          The horse is a little stiff behind bringing his hind leg forward by using his hip more than bending his hocks, and not getting much suspension in the trot. It may be an age thing or to do with the arthritis (kind of an adjustment a horse makes to keep comfortable); ask your instructor if getting him a little off the forehand and asking him to bend his hind legs and push more would help; you could work on your position and half halts and getting him more together, but in the pictures, it really looks like a compensation the horse is making.

                          It's a very nice horse(it's a gorgeous elegant beautiful horse, to be completely honest), and at his age and with arthritis, since he is doing such a beautiful job for you in so many other ways (at least that's certainly how it looks, it also looks like someone takes incredibly good care of him), maybe best to just accept how he chooses to go and enjoy him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We could call the horse "hasty behind," since the hind end is taking shorter, quicker steps than the front end, which is dwelling in the air. So, through judicious use of half halts, lateral work, rein back, and well, you know, good old dressage, you could make the diagonal pairs more even and put a step of suspension in that trot (where all four feet are off the ground).

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thanks all for the comments; these are the kind of detailed explanations I was looking for (especially Angels!) I've been reading my dressage books and looking at my show pics from last weekend to find the footfalls... and well these threw me through a loop .

                              I noticed also that he does this more on a circle where his haunches are falling out. But at the canter to the right he carries his haunches to the inside, and we get better scores cantering to the left even though his left hind is more stiff according to vets

                              So we have many issues and I don't like to push him since I'm not sure how much he can handle. Our normal routine is to do a long warm up, then if he feels good work on dressage (circles, transitions, leg yields) in a flat shady spot in the pasture and if not we hack around the pasture and use the hills and tall grass for exercise. I don't jump him anymore, so I'm really excited that we're doing well at training level. I think we can do 1st with some work for both of us, but past that I'm not sure he could do the collection.

                              Anyway you all are very good at critiquing photos as most of the comments reinforce what the judge said... that we need to work on throughness and half-halts, luckily we impressed the judge with our obedience and forward and got a 68.8% at training 4 even with me transitioning at a wrong letter

                              eponacelt: he's wearing a fetlock ring (sausage boot) because he's narrow and was due for shoes last week and I didn't want him opening up a spot where he had interfered... a nice perk with schooling shows, being able to wear boots
                              "Bold Words was classier than all his competition. Straighter knees and a slim, elegant neck." -Nan Mooney My Racing Heart

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                First-- Thanks for looking!

                                From the following schooling show pics (Training level), I noticed my horse's hind leg hits the ground before his front leg at the trot... what does this mean?

                                http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black

                                http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black

                                http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black

                                http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black

                                His rhythm feels normal, but I've had him since he came off the track and he's now 15 so its possible I'm just used to it. He's also had arthritis for several years so it could be due to that. I'm mostly happy he still likes to go, and that I can finally afford some of these shows. But, I'm wondering if this movement is correct and what I can do to work on it.
                                A hind hoof hitting the ground before its fore hoof is usually caused by constraint and imbalance.

                                In this photo, http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black , the backwardness/downwardness of the contact is interfering with the natural posture of the horse’s neck. The restricted freedom of movement causes the front legs to swing fraction of a beat behind the hind legs which disrupts the purity of his gaits. You’re twisting your torso a bit in this photo and collapsing in your right ribcage.

                                A neutral contact and sitting in a more balance position would allow the horse a natural head/neck carriage and help restore his natural freedom of movement.

                                The contact in this photo, http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black , is more neutral but the tempo looks like it might be a little quick and the horse has lost his balance and has fallen onto his forehand. Resting in the saddle, a more relaxed leg, letting the weight sink into the heels, raising the ribcage, broadening the frontline and heavier elbows would enable half halts to be more effective.

                                Again, here, http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black , the horse is constrained by the backwardness/downwardness of the contact which is blocking his freedom of movement and causing the front feet to land a fraction of a second behind the hind feet.

                                This photo, http://gallery.me.com/fjkruger#10037...&bgcolor=black ,shows the best balance of the 4 photos. There is still a hint of downward/backward pressure in the reins but the horse’s neck is in a more natural position and his movement is noticeably freer. Again, resting in the saddle, a more relaxed leg, letting the weight sink into the heels, raising the ribcage, broadening the frontline (long line across the collar bones, short line across the shoulder blades), and heavier elbows (while maintaining a straight line from the elbow to the bit) would make a neutral contact and application of the aids a lot easier.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Several years ago, at a USDF convention, I was asked to provide an illustration for a talk given on positive DAP by Hilda Gurney. It is considered a good thing, over-analysis notwithstanding. Around the same time, I found a very good article online by a Swedish (I think) gent who was heavily involved with Warmbloood breeding and approvals. Can't find that one after a quick Google search, but here's a link to an article by Dr. Hilary Clayton.

                                  Congratulations on your beautiful-moving horse, Granada!

                                  cvm.msu.edu/research/research-centers/.../USDF_July02.pdf

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    DAP can only occur when the hind leg drives more actively through the air (accelerates airborn), largely thru flexion of the joints and strength.

                                    When the hind leg is on the ground sooner, it isn't always because of DAP. It can also land sooner because the hind legs are stiff the hock is not bent more, and NOT driving through the air. When the horse swings the hind leg forward from the hip he can be quick yet stiff and is not driving harder, he is swinging from the hip, not pushing harder against the ground or making more of a 'spring' thru flexing his joints.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Tonja, Thanks for critiquing my photos, however I disagree that he is backward and constrained in those first photos, yes he is a bit behind the vertical and somewhat downhill but he did not feel backward, he felt flow-y and springy and we got a lot of "good energy" comments and he looks to be tracking up. Also, he has a higher neck set, I always warm him up riding him forward into steady and contact and let his head stay up in the air (I feel silly with my hands so high) until he comes onto the bit himself and seeks heavier contact and we stretch at the end of our warmup. If I ask him to stretch at the beginning we wouldn't have the connection, so from this experience I don't think him being "up" with his neck is unnatural for him.

                                      I'm actually thinking the first photo with me crooked is so obvious with the incorrect footfalls because we just onto the short side to pass C, so we are both out of balance.. need to work on half halts, which I think would have helped steady my position and balance him.

                                      We actually did very well at the show, he placed 1st in both T3 and T4, but I know we still have a lot to work on. I was very curious about the footfalls and I knew COTHers would have the answer.

                                      We have a ways to go before we are truly well balanced and through so I don't think his is the case of DAP, I think it is more the bend and "circle straight" issues and his compensating for stiffness that makes it so obvious for him, especially since his opposite hind is so strung out as Angel pointed out.

                                      My other horse also seems to do this, though he is a very different ride than my OTTB, so maybe it's one of those things I've just noticed all of a sudden after having ridden all my life lol.

                                      We are doing T1 and T2:
                                      Trot 1

                                      Trot 2


                                      Trot 3


                                      Trot 4

                                      Trot 5
                                      And this one, his right front is firmly on the ground while the opposite hind is coming up.
                                      "Bold Words was classier than all his competition. Straighter knees and a slim, elegant neck." -Nan Mooney My Racing Heart

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Are you left-handed, Granada?

                                        Comment

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