Rising Trot - correct diagonal

Discussion in 'Training of the Rider' started by domane, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. domane

    domane Well-Known Member

    As some of you may have seen from other threads, I am just getting back into riding after a long break. I remember that when trotting in circles, you must rise on the correct "diagonal" - I had a lesson a couple of weeks ago but I was concentrating so much on my position and staying on after such a long break (!!!) that I relied on the instructor to keep calling out "change diagonal" if I had got it wrong. I know you can look down and judge from the horses shoulder movements but for the aforementioned reasons, I didn't dare look down!!

    Can someone remind a lady with rapidly depleting brain-cells whether you should rise on when the nearside or offside leg is leading??

    Many thanks :)
  2. Mehitabel

    Mehitabel New Member

    sit as the outside leg comes back under you. 'rise and fall with the leg on the wall' is a useful rhyme to help with it.
  3. Millymum

    Millymum New Member

    you should ride on the correct diagonal at all times not just circles.

    next time you trot. dont look down but sit for 2 beats then rise again, just see how it feels. do you feel in balance or slightly out of balance. Dont look down, and sit for another 2 beats then rise. See if you can feel a difference. Check the diagonal and see if it is correct, if not sit for 2 again and see if you feel the differnce.
    You will probably feel more in balance on the correct diagonal. But it is good to get the feel of the right and wrong.
  4. domane

    domane Well-Known Member

    How do you know which is the correct diagonal if you are going in a straight line, ie, in the middle of a field?? Is it all about how it feels??

    (like the rhyme by the way, will learn that and repeat in my head!!!)
  5. Bay Mare

    Bay Mare www.maggieslaw.co.uk

    It is a good idea to learn the feel but to be honest it's difficult to get the time to do it on riding school horses and some can feel REALLY uncomfortable even when you're on the correct diagonal! It's only since having my own that it comes more naturally to me.

    Rather than looking down with your head just drop your eyes, that way you don't get yelled at for looking at the ground :D

    If you're out hacking then there isn't a 'correct' diagonal unless you're riding a circle. You should, though, change the diagonal every now and then for balance.
  6. Millymum

    Millymum New Member

    sorry just read that and it does sound stupid!! i though you meant you only did it if you were doing 10m/20m circles or something!! havng a blonde moment there! :eek:
    I meant for all schooling moves you should check your diagonal. Most horses are not straight anyway and will have a preference to bend one way so you might find it comfier to be on a certain one for different horses.
    But i do have a tendancy to be on the offside diagonal in normal riding out!!

    But tell your instructor you would like to have a quick practise of getting a feel for the diagonal, it will only take you 2 minutes every lesson. And you are paying for the lesson so you should be able to ask questions and learn things you want to learn, even if it is a group lesson.
  7. domane

    domane Well-Known Member

    Thank you peeps - you have all been very helpful

  8. Skib

    Skib New Member

    Domane - depleted brain cells made this a great problem for me and for just the reasons you describe.
    First, this inside - outside -right- left thing is supposed to be harder to remember for people who are a bit dyslexic.
    UK riders rise when the inside front leg (shoulder) comes back. It is supposed to give the horse room to move its inside front leg more easily. But according to a German rider I met, the Germans do the opposite to us and for an equally well thought out reason, so it is not a matter of life and death. (Later correction: this turns out to be wrong . See below. Sorry)

    Looking down does tip you forward, particularly if you try to do it when rising. I find it easier to look down as I sit. Is the outside shoulder back? If not (as other people say) you need to sit for two beats to change it. You can avoid looking down, if (from sitting trot) you rise as your outside seat bone is lifted by the horse's movement. But once you are rising that is not so easy to check up on.

    Most teachers emphasise the rise. My brain cells were so lacking and my reaction times so slow that I got it consistently wrong that way. So I began to concentrate on the "sit" instead. I think to myself "sit, sit sit" as the outside shoulder comes back and then insert little rises between the "sits".

    This question of the correct diagonal became a terrible issue in my early lessons and I didnt really solve it (with the sitting method described above) till I had been riding two years. Don't let it spoil your pleasure like it did mine, or get in the way of more important things.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2005
  9. momofsix

    momofsix New Member

    Are you serious about the Germans doing it the opposite way? Now there is a revelation! I grew up in Germany and learned rising trot there, now I live in the US and in my lesson I am constantly told I am on the wrong diagonal. I wonder if this is why it always feels better to me the "wrong way"? If not, it is a good excuse to try on my instructor anyway.
  10. Skib

    Skib New Member

    I think I am right about the Germans. Someone from Germany told me. My own present teacher who is very expert said, It couldnt possibly be true. So I looked it up in a bookshop and made a note of the page reference.
    What do you think?

    German National Equestrian Federation: Principles of Riding. Addington: Kenilworth Press, 1997.
    £16.95 Book 1 in the German Equestrian Federation (GNEF) series, this extremely popular manual provides a complete instruction for horse and rider, using the German system.

    p.56 it says
    It was my (hazy) understanding of this that rising on the right diagonal, means the rider rises as the right forefoot picked up.
    The right diagonal = the left hind leg.
    Rising on the left diagonal would mean rising with the right hind leg.
    Is this right? And if so, I think it is different from the UK?

    I never dared mention it in my lesson again. So some expert interpretation of the language would be welcome.
  11. Mehitabel

    Mehitabel New Member

    i think that's the same as how we do it. inside hind goes in time with outside fore in trot, so if you rise as it goes forward and sit as it is back, that's the same, isn;t it?
  12. galadriel

    galadriel New Member

    Yes, that's the same--and that's how I explain it in my article:
  13. Skib

    Skib New Member

    So I was wrong - Sorry, and I was told wrong by this German rider at my first riding school. But the haze of language explains why I have been so muddled by diagonals.

    I read your article again Galadriel. And I see it explains that the outside front leg has to move further on a circle. I always thought this too. My own teacher describes it being like the horse going round a curve is on two parallel railway lines. The outside needs to go further to get round the bend.
    But Mark Rashid was quite dismissive when I asked him about this at Bristol last January. He said the outside leg does not need to go further.
    He said that when a horse is in motion its four feet fall almost in one straight line as if it were walking a tightrope. And what is more you need to get a longer stride on the inside front foot, in order to have the horse pick up that inside front lead in canter. What do you think of this?
    Although it doesnt make sense, it does seem to work.
  14. Skib

    Skib New Member

    Diagonals in Germany - again

    Earlier in this thread I posted that the Germans rose on a different diagonal to us in the UK. It seems from what more knowledgeable people wrote that I was wrong. I apologised and felt bad about this, since from time to time it is threatened by the moderaters that we new riders should be marked with some warning about our fallibility.
    I am against this; I think we should all be free to ask questions and contribute - even if on occasion we learn from our mistakes. Though no experienced rider would be mistaken about the diagonals, sometimes seen through ignorant eyes - a riding question might arise that seemed impossible.

    I have no strong feelings about which way people rise in Germany. But I am used to checking out things I read in books and being sure of my sources. In this case the source is a book which I got after some discussion on this list on how riders can benefit from using exercise balls -
    Prockl, Erika. Learning to Ride As an Adult [German Original From the Same Publishers.]. 1998. Lueneburg: Cadmos, 2003.

    Notes: p116 re trotting diagonals.
    So, with apologies, please experts I'd ask you to look again at this. It is very hard for new riders to qualify the informatin they receive.
  15. Mehitabel

    Mehitabel New Member

    gosh, there's no need to feel bad! you didn't say you were the queen of riding in germany and you knew this for a fact and that anyone who said different was an idiot, after all! :)

    there's a tremendous amount of misinformation flying around, a lot of differing opinions. riding is like most things - there are certainly more than one way to do it, but occasionally things are just plain wrong.

    it sounds like the german book you've just quoted is just plain wrong - i've ridden for 20+ years in england, at several places and taken several exams - and i've never heard of riding on the inside diagonal. what the prokl books says is just not right - perhaps a translation error?

    i've heard several times before that 'they ride on the 'wrong' diagonal in germany' so you're nowhere near the only person who thought it. my YO trained in germany, so if i remember i shall ask her what they did when she was there.

    i was going to respond to the mark rashid thing too - but i am just a bit mystified by it. i shall carry on thinking and see if i can make sense of it...
  16. ajhainey

    ajhainey New Member

    If it helps at all both german girls I know ride on the 'normal' diagonal? i.e sit with the outside fore coming back? And they have never mentioned being suprised about the way we do it - so I assume it's normal for them too...It does seem as though the quoted book is describing a normal 'rise and fall with the outside fore' to me. Although you did give my colleagues a laugh as I made trotting movements trying to check the inside hind really is the partner of the outside fore (spatial logic was never my forte). Only thing I can think of is that the translator 'fixed' the description and germans really do rise the other way round? But that seems unlikely....

    Skib - I too have always been taught to look (if I must!) when sitting as it disturbs your balance a little less. Works fine on all except one very black, narrow horse I ride (my lesson is at 8pm - it gets pretty dark!) - where I have to rely on feel as you just cannot see it. I can tell if I'm on the right diagonal by feel but I need to be in a corner so hopeless if I start trotting on the long straight!

    aj xx
  17. momofsix

    momofsix New Member

    Well, there goes that excuse! I guess I am just hopeless about rising on the correct diagonal then.
  18. eml

    eml Moderator

    I think it is another of these 'horsey myths'. I always thought the French used the other diagonal but daughters stay there put paid to that one, definately the same as us.

    They do however pass right to right in the school I wonder if it is something to do with driving on the other side of the road :rolleyes:
  19. lobo

    lobo New Member

    www.ISpyHorses.com Diagonal Item

    When you post to the trot, you rise and fall once each per stride. You rise as the horse moves one pair of legs, and you sit gently with the movement of the other pair.

    The pairs of legs moving are diagonally across the horse's body; that is:
    he moves his right front and left hind, and
    he moves his left front and right hind.

    Depending on which direction you are going, it is preferable to rise and fall with one specific pair of legs. If you are turning to the left, you rise with the right front leg; if you are turning to the right, you rise with the left front leg.

    So for example, when you are moving around the arena tracking left, you rise with the right shoulder. As you go around the arena, the shoulder on the outside--the one closest to the rail--is the one with which you post. This can be phrased as "rise and fall with the leg on the wall."

    You can tell which pair of legs is moving by watching the horse's shoulders, at first. Eventually, you can learn to "feel" which diagonal you are on. If you glance down every few strides, you can make sure the outside shoulder is still moving forward as you do. Try to move just your eyes, and make it a quick "flick" of the eyes down and back up again. Moving your head can put you off balance, and you don't need to lose your balance :)

    This is confusing for a lot of students; you rise with the opposite leg from the direction you are turning. You sit up with the right shoulder when you are turning left! That's not fair.

    Let's talk briefly about why we do it this way. When you shift your balance forward in posting, you push the horse's balance forward slightly also. The legs he is using can travel forward a little bit more with that shift forward.
    When you are in a circle, the outside front leg has to move farther. The inside back leg needs to come up higher and do more work, to keep the back end curved. So here, in a left-turning horse, the right front and left hind legs need more forward "lift."
    Now, since this is important for making balanced turns, you can actually ignore diagonals if you are moving straight, or even if you are making large turns. It is only very important to be on the correct diagonal when you are making a sudden, or tight, turn. If you are trotting in a straight line for a fair distance, it is nice to the horse to change your diagonal every so often.

    Learning your diagonals is useful, and it's good for the horse; it helps him balance on turns. It is not essential for a lot of riding and it's not a matter of life-and-death, so don't worry if it takes you a while to learn it. Posting properly without bouncing is much more important, as is keeping your eyes up (don't look down all the time to make sure you're on the right diagonal). Look where you're going, ride with a soft seat and soft hands, and your horse will thank you.

    I Have some pics that I don't Know How to Post Here Contact me at lobo@ISpyHorses.com

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