View Full Version : extending trot in a lazy pony
2nd Apr 2003, 07:39 AM
I have just started to get in to dressage. The pony I share is nearly 14 now and very lazy. How can I start getting him to extend his trot? He has never done it before.
If his bloodlines are enough to go by - he should be really good at dressage - both his sire and grand sire were champions is it in the blood or is it too late to teach an 'old 'pony' new tricks'?
2nd Apr 2003, 08:52 AM
No, definitely not too late, my niece trained her 13.2 pony up to elementary from nothing (didn't even go on the bit), we bought her when she was rising 13 and they just pottered around together for the first 12 months doing a bit of everything before they started working at it. She has a naturally good extensions so to be fair she was easy to teach for these.
Lazy usually equates to being behind the leg so you need to get him to respond to your aids more promptly. You have to refuse to follow the 'nag, nag nag' route with the legs as this just deadens them to the aids. Give a quiet aid and if it is ignored give one really strong leg aid and then go back to the quiet one - a bit like whispering but if he ignores you give one really good shout and go back to whispering. If the firmer aid is ignored a tap with a schooling whip to back up the aid is called for.
To lengthen the stride the pony needs to be using his hind end and be in front of the leg so that he doesn't just dive on the forehand when you ask for longer steps. Establish a good working trot in an outline. To ask for the longer steps prepare with some small half halt aids, really lengthen your legs and sit a little deeper (be careful not to allow your shoulders to come behind the vertical) and then allow slightly with the hand to allow the frame to lengthen and give one stronger leg aid to ask for the longer step. Imagine you are riding up a hill as you want him to engage the hind leg and lift the wither in the lengthening. The rhythym should not quicken. Only ask for a few steps at first and then close the leg and fingers and lighten the seat to bring him back and rebalance, then ask for a few more steps. He will probably only lengthen a few inches at first until he builds up the strength in the hind leg and back so be patient. It would also help if you can find someone knowledgeable to help you teach him.
2nd Apr 2003, 12:35 PM
Thanks for that lovely long description, I'm glad he isn't too old to start this. I will try those aids tonight when I'm riding - just to see what happens.
I wouldn't call him behind the leg - as I don't have to 'nag' to get him to move in to a trot or a canter. But, for example, every sit in rising trot - I have to squeeze with my legs to keep him going, and he always tries to stop when I sit for 2 beats in trot when changing rein. When I ask him to trot or canter he responds immediately and he works in an outline pretty much all the time (canter is a bit iffy!). This is what I mean by lazy - does this count for behind the leg - he tracks up well all the time too?
I have seen him do extended trot in the field. Would it be better to start him doing it on a lunge? How would I give aids for it on the lunge?
I'm going to get in contact with my old instructor - see if she can help. But she is a more expensive way of doing it - so If I can teach him myself I will do - I taught him shoulder-in so hopefully I can teach him something new! :)
Thanks for your help!
2nd Apr 2003, 12:40 PM
He certainly sounds a bit behind the leg. Probably better to do it ridden rather than on the lunge as it is very easy for them to rush and run onto the forehand when lengthening on the lunge.
3rd Apr 2003, 08:31 AM
Interesting that you mention not allowing your shoulders to go back.
When looking at dressage riders, even top ones, I notice that they are way behind the vertical when doing extended paces...it always looks really odd to me.
Is this a "level" thing: you shouldn't do it in the early stages, but at higher levels you should?
3rd Apr 2003, 10:32 AM
I noticed the same thing - I have a friend who rides at intermediate level and she sits quite a way behind the vertical when doing extended paces.
I didn't get to try it with Bren last night - I turned him out for a while when I got there and spent the rest of the evening trying to get him back in! :rolleyes: I'm not at the yard tonight - so I'll try on friday.
3rd Apr 2003, 11:16 AM
You should not be behind the vertical at any level, unfortunately many people, including a lot of top riders do it. It can at the extremes have the effect of hollowing the horse and disengaging the hind legs - hence a lot of the lovely flashy trots are all front leg and poorly engaged behind, some of which are rewarded by the judges.
3rd Apr 2003, 03:21 PM
I'll stick to trying to ride upright then! :)
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