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A confession

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  • A confession

    I've been riding 6 1/2 years but still can't feel when I've got the wrong lead on rising trot. I haven't really worked on this a lot, because I usually get it right about 9 out of 10 times -- but don't know why. I worked on feeling things today in my lesson, but, pretty much, I can't feel what the horse's legs are doing under me. Any advice or exercises to try?
    Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!


  • #2
    It's a diagonal at the rising trot, not a lead. A lead is at the canter.

    How are you getting it right 9 times out of 10 if you aren't feeling something? Perhaps you ARE feeling it, but you can't put into words what you are feeling? 9 times of 10 is pretty darn good!

    I usually feel that my thigh and hip feel as if they are going down to the out side when I should be sitting at the posting trot.

    Try doing a sitting trot at a very slow pace on a bouncy horse and feel how you almost bounce a little side to side. Then look down at the horse's shoulder to confirm the leg pattern with what you feel. Then you'll learn which side you bounce to when the outside front leg is back.
    ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~


    • #3
      Well for starters horses only have leads at the canter. We post the trot on the diagonal. Stop trying to feel and look to see if you are right or not. Eventually you should be able to tell if you are correct or not because it doesn't feel right.
      Last edited by Laurierace; Sep. 23, 2011, 11:04 PM.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        Sorry, typo. Leads are canter.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • Original Poster

          Yes, I know canter leads and trot diagonals, just a careless error.

          I can't FEEL if I'm on the right diagonal, but from the walk to trot transition, I usually get it right. I don't transition, normally, from sitting trot to rising trot, altho we worked on that in my lesson today. In sitting trot, I can definitely feel my hips going forward alternately, but I can't relate that to what the horse is doing with its shoulders -- I'm very likely to be doing the sitting trot backwards, if you know what I mean.
          Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!



          • #6
            Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
            Sorry, typo. Leads are canter.
            Well, I KNEW you KNEW, but it was still wierd.

            Furthermore, HORSES have leads, but PEOPLE have diagonals.

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


            • #7
              I've been riding for a while and I still have trouble finding the correct diagonal. My problem is rhythm. If I think, I'm going to post (from a sitting trot) once I pass that tree/fence post/etc, i can't start counting the rhythm/thinking of it immediately. I have to consciously stop thinking, take a breath, and FEEL.
              I also have more trouble on this current horse when trotting in one direction over the other.

              Video is always a great idea. Also, years back one of the pony club manuals had good descriptions of the mechanics of the gaits... Maybe search for a good text/article online about the biomechanics/physics of the horse?
              I have more trouble figuring out what in the world footfall I'm feeling at the walk!


              • #8
                i have been riding 16 yrs and very sadly it took me 9 yrs to feel diagonals and leads..then i took 3 yrs off and now i am trying to get it back.it left me at some point in my hiatus.so i feel you on the feeling stuff.

                if you have a ground person do some mounted lunge session and just focus on just that thing..i was even told to close my eyes and say out what lead or diagonal i thought i was on and concentrated on what it felt like when i was right. JAT

                jat = just a thought.

                just keep practicing and you will get it.


                • #9
                  First - this is not a knock at any of you that have issues with diagonals or leads.

                  Who the heck is teaching these people????? I was not allowed to canter until I could get the correct diagonal EVERY TIME with my eyes closed. Then I wasn't allowed to jump until I knew my leads dead on and to this day I can't abide to watch someone let (yes, let) a horse pick up the wrong lead. Drives me NUTS. Where are those teachers? The ones that do it right instead of fast? All anyone seems to care about is getting clients into the show ring - they don't care if they can actually ride and deserve to be there.

                  Rant over - sorry!
                  Not all who wander are lost.


                  • #10
                    Not to worry. I have ridden for over 50 years, shown successfully at the AA level from coast to coast and I can't tell what diagonal I am on unless I look down.

                    If course it is good to know those things and you should know those things. But don't let it make you crazy. As long as you learn to quickly glance down and sit for a step to get on the correct diagonal, it will not hinder your riding career.

                    Now, not being able to tell which lead your horse is about to pick up, so you can stop him before he takes the wrong lead, IS a biggie. Far better to spend your time on that.
                    "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                    Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump


                    • #11
                      I'm with LordHelpUs. 45 years in the saddle and I still have to glance down to check my diagonal. Canter leads, not an issue.


                      • #12
                        I for some reason always pick up posting on the same diagonal. So to the left I'm always correct, to the right I'm always incorrect. I'm going to have to figure out how to surreptitiously look for awhile until I figure out how to feel it again. I KNOW how... I know when I'm wrong... but a year long break from riding and about two years without an instructor or an arena now, I've gotten lazy and sloppy about the little details, so it wasn't a big deal to me if out in the pasture I start on the wrong diagonal and then switch. It drives my IHSA coach NUTS though so I need to fix myself and now.
                        RIP Don - 3/28/2004-8/15/2012


                        • #13
                          Well, count me in! Diagonals I have issues with occasionally, especially if I'm concentrating on another issue.

                          Leads I'm ok with most of the time, but occasionally, especially with my new, super un-balanced horse, I can miss it.

                          I'm not a great rider but I'm pretty capable. And ya know what? I'm an adult now. I don't WANT to spend years upon years learning the feel. I want to have fun. Its not the end of the world if I forget a time or two. Doesn't mean I shouldn't jump my horses!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lord Helpus View Post
                            Not to worry. I have ridden for over 50 years, shown successfully at the AA level from coast to coast and I can't tell what diagonal I am on unless I look down.
                            Oh, thank goodness. I've been riding for 20 years or so and still check my diagonals in my periphereal vision. I don't have to look down, but I do look. I can feel leads..and when my horse is about to strike off on the wrong one...so that's good.

                            I just got caught on a wrong diagonal by Greg Best. How humiliating that was. I had been correct and my horse tripped and tossed my onto the wrong one without me realizing it. Sigh.
                            Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                            Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                            • Original Poster

                              Interesting responses! I guess I won't worry about it.
                              Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!



                              • #16
                                On some horses, it's jarringly obvious to me when I'm on the wrong diagonal. On others, I wouldn't feel it if you paid me a billion dollars. On my horse, who I broke, it's more of an instinctual feel, but every once in a while I start off on the wrong diagonal. Have gotten pretty good about "auto-correcting" myself though!

                                I wouldn't worry too much about it.
                                The Little Red Mare: French Curve

                                and my non-horse blog: oh, rebecca!


                                • #17
                                  Here's an exercise that helped me:

                                  Try sitting trot for 5 steps, then posting for 5, then sitting for 5, posting for 5, etc. What will happen is when you're on the posting part of the exercise you will alternate being on the correct and then being on the incorrect diagonal. When you first start the exercise, look to see if you are correct or incorrect, and then concentrate on the feeling of it being correct, and then on the feeling of it being wrong.

                                  Don't drive yourself nuts, but doing this for 5 minutes or so every time you ride will really help.


                                  • #18
                                    It's actually good to know that there are other experienced adult riders that are diagonally challenged out there. Sometimes I'm embarrassed by it...maybe we should form a support group.

                                    Anyway, there was a time when I really focused and worked on it, trying to get the feel of picking it up correctly. I found it was like I knew better, but my body still just went up on the wrong one, like I couldn't go up when my mind wanted to. I could usuallu tell when it was wrong and just switch after. In any case, I just kind of gave up trying. Focusing on it hard wasn't helping, maybe even was hurting. So now, I trot and I post...usually the right way, but yeah, I still get it wrong more often than your average 8 year old. Oh well. I would recommend that you do some specific exercises to get a feel for what wrong is and when you need to correct it....the above mentioned alternating 5 strides, doing a figure 8 without changing diagonals, etc.

                                    Oddly, there are some horses that I rarely ever catch the wrong diagonal on.....and there are some that I get it wrong the first time without fail, if I have ridden anyone else. If I ride only that one a few days, I'm fine, but switch back to a different horse, wrong first time again. So I guess I feel it differently on different horses.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I don't think learning to go up on the correct diagonal from sitting trot is really what I want to do because every trainer I've ever had has said it's bad for the horses back to do sitting trot before it is thoroughly warmed up. So, I walk first and then rising trot, then canter, and then sitting trot. I'll have to pay attention, I'm not even sure if I am going into rising trot from the walk or from a stand still. But, I guess that's beside the point. What I want to do is be able to tell if I'm off or not.
                                      Yes, I know how to spell. I'm using freespeling!



                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by AnEnglishRider View Post
                                        I for some reason always pick up posting on the same diagonal. So to the left I'm always correct, to the right I'm always incorrect. I'm going to have to figure out how to surreptitiously look for awhile until I figure out how to feel it again. I KNOW how... I know when I'm wrong... but a year long break from riding and about two years without an instructor or an arena now, I've gotten lazy and sloppy about the little details, so it wasn't a big deal to me if out in the pasture I start on the wrong diagonal and then switch. It drives my IHSA coach NUTS though so I need to fix myself and now.
                                        I do the same thing. Now I just stay "up" for two beats when I start out to the right. I've been doing it for years on many different horses and do it discreetly enough that no one notices