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Trotting fences - why do I suck so badly at this?

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  • Trotting fences - why do I suck so badly at this?

    I can canter fences all day long, not jump ahead and be fine.

    Trotting fences? Ohhhhh no. I jump ahead, launch myself out of the tack, duck to the side and turn into a general jumping idiot.

    Anyone have any good tips?

  • #2
    Why you ask?? Because it is hard to do In my opinion that is

    How about some cavalettis before the jump? This way you cannot rush the fence. I've used this method and it seems to help out.


    • #3
      Because you are trying to make up for the impulsion NOT provided by the motion of the horse to create a release.

      Just sit there, it's little, it's a trot fence, no dramatic release needed. Fact most will say no release at all, just maintain contact by a SLIGHT closing of the hip angle. Nothing else needs to move much.

      Stop trying to create something that is not there and uneccessary.
      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


      • #4
        Me too!

        Originally posted by GettingBack View Post
        I can canter fences all day long, not jump ahead and be fine.

        Trotting fences? Ohhhhh no. I jump ahead, launch myself out of the tack, duck to the side and turn into a general jumping idiot.

        Anyone have any good tips?

        Oh, how I sympathize. LOL
        Rural Property Specialist
        Keller Williams Realtors

        Email Me for Horse Property!


        • #5
          Personally - I cannot seem to master trotting fences so I have no advice. Many a trainer, clinician and other has given me every pointer in the book. Frankly, I think I'm an idiot when it comes to feeling that particular rhythm. I salute you for your attempt to master. If you find the global solution please forward to me immediately.


          • Original Poster

            Ooh - findeight, that makes sense! I think that helped me figure out at least why I've been doing it. My horse comes to the fence with his head a wee bit on the high side (we're working on relaxation), but even on a trot fence he then puts his head down on the landing side - not to the point where he is ripping the reins out of my hands or being goofy - but he does sort of round around the fence even on little cross rails - I may be compensating for that in an effort not to hit him in the mouth (because he is somewhat green).


            • #7
              Grab the mane to steady yourself slightly out of the tack about 2 strides out and STAY THERE on landing. That way you leave him alone. He needs to figure the stuff out on his own.

              BTW, my trot fences suck like everybody else's do and have found reaching a little up and grabbing that mane 2 strides out helps alot.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


              • #8
                I have the same issues. Two weeks ago, my trainer had me doing lateral work which required me to sit very deep. Later that lesson, we trotted some fences and I was amazed with how much my seat and position over the trot fences improved, because I was sitting balanced and had my shoulders back, not leaning ahead as I often do at trot fences.
                Love my "Slo-TTB"


                • #9
                  I was having a TOUGH time trotting fences last summer, always felt so dramatic, like I was giving a HUGE release and laying on my horse's neck. And I felt so uncoordinated. Then I started jumping this young horse who was very lazy about snapping up his front end, yet jumps so round. I found slow sit-trotting to the fence, while holding my shoulder back to the point I felt like I was behind the motion, taught me to be patient. It also gave my horse time to slow down and think about where his legs go. Practice makes perfect. I'm better at it now!


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks!! I'll give it a shot and see how I make out I really feel like I ought to be able to trot a stupid crossrail if I can jump a 3' fence from a canter

                    That explains potentially why I do just fine through grids as well - seems I don't launch myself at it if it's after a pole or cavaletti.


                    • #11
                      I suck at it too. I've found that sitting the trot forces me to keep my upper boddy tall and not collapse (or fling) my body.

                      It was the kiss of death in Eq tests for me. Hate them!
                      Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


                      • #12
                        One of the things that makes trotting fences DIFFERENT from cantering fences is that there are TWO points in each stride when the horse can jump (canter only has one).

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


                        • #13
                          I'm soooo glad I'm not the only one!
                          I feel like a retard when it comes to trotting small fences Since I ride alot of greenies I trot ALOT of fences...and I feel like I'm either left sitting on their back or eating their ears. Even though my boss says I look fine. erghhh. I can canter a 4' fence and nail a distance 10 times...but ask me to trot a 2'6" vertical. AGH, I lose it! haahaha


                          • #14
                            Because trot fences suck? Nahh, that can't be it! I think that trotting fences is significantly more challenging for many of us because a) we are so used to cantering fences and it is easier to get in sync with a familiar canter stride up to a fence and b) trotting a fence in a way requires LESS work than cantering one...something that is not always intuitive! What I mean by less work is that when you trot a fence, especially a small X, it is often easiest/most beneficial to either sit the trot a few strides out, or even grab some mane. As others have mentioned, the same release as for a big fence is not needed, and you are not going to go as fast before or after the fence. The moral of the story: sometimes easier things are actually harder to do!

                            I have no idea if that makes any sense, especially because I suck A LOT at trotting fences as well!


                            • #15
                              Ugh last week I had to trot a 3'9 fence in an attempt to whip me into shape... I always jump ahead in trot fences-- did it once on this one and my horse let me know in no uncertain terms that was NOT acceptable!!
                              "Disapproval of the way other people run their businesses and treat their horses is the meat and drink of the hunter-jumper industry."
                              Working Student Blog
                              Current Blog


                              • #16
                                ok, so what is the consensus: sit a couple of strides out, get into two point a few strides out, or post to the base? I've had many different trainers and clinicians teach it any one of those ways...

                                ps: I suck at trot fences too. Ugh.


                                • #17
                                  close your eyes. . .count the trot rhythm
                                  then you will feel the rhythm and wait for the jump.

                                  do this with a ground person
                                  A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                                  • #18
                                    Try posting until about 6 strides out then go to a sinking position instead of a two point. Have a placing pole about 7-8 feet in front of the fence, then you know you have about two steps after the pole before you need to release. In addition bridge your reins in one hand and grab mane with the other. Then you won't have to worry about catching your green horse in the mouth. Practice practice practice!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by findeight View Post
                                      Because you are trying to make up for the impulsion NOT provided by the motion of the horse to create a release.

                                      Just sit there, it's little, it's a trot fence, no dramatic release needed. Fact most will say no release at all, just maintain contact by a SLIGHT closing of the hip angle. Nothing else needs to move much.

                                      Stop trying to create something that is not there and uneccessary.

                                      LOL...true when you are only trotting little fences. I used to trot 4'+ fences (built up over time--Had one horse that could easily trot 4'9"--I wasn't brave enough to jump any higher).

                                      Trotting the bigger fences is a very very good exercise...especially for the rider...but it is extremely hard. You absolutely have to wait for your horse to jump and it will show any flaws in your postion. Trotting 4'+ is an extreme though....you can get the point from the rider trotting 3'6-3'9. But it is also a good strength exercise for the horse.

                                      That said....I still suck at trotting fences....or really more accurately, suck at posting the trot to the base of the fence. If I sit trot for the last few strides, I have no issues...but trying to post all the way....yup, suck at that most of the time.
                                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                                      • #20
                                        I have always hated trotting fences too. One thing thing said to me once, that seem to help me, was to concentrate on the hind legs and wait for them. Makes sense - horse can't jump well till his/her hind legs are in place.
                                        Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from behind, or a fool from any direction