Super hard to manage trot

Moragh

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Nov 16, 2018
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Hey there this is my first post so I’m probably going to ask for way too much help all in one go! :)
I am an adult returning to riding and after 20+ years off I finally bought another horse. He is the nicest, kindest boy his personality is ++ so I really want to iron out my problems in the saddle. He is only just 7 so I think is doable I just am too rusty in the skills department.
He has a lovely walk and stunning canter but a trot that I just can’t work out. (Not an ex pacer or trotter) it starts and becomes super fast super quick to the point where he gets all unbalanced and it feels like I’m riding jelly. I have tried trotting poles, serpentines, figure 8’s 20m circles decreasing and one rein stops but it doesn’t get any better. Does any one have any advice they are willing to share? Thanks in advance.
 
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Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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Hello and welcome. We love pics here too. (The smilies don't work for me on here lol so just imagine I've done one on my reply)
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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Hi, and welcome.

It sounds like you've jumped in at the deep end if I'm honest, but that just means you've got a bit more work to do. Did you have some lessons to get back into the swing of things, or did you go straight out & buy? No matter how good your skills I should think after 20 years off your muscles & reactions must be rusty, I know I feel it if I've had a few months off because of a lame horse! My main piece of advice would be to get some lessons together from a good instructor, and if at all possible get them to do some ridden schooling work with him too. It does sound as though he's unbalanced in the trot rather than being naughty, so hopefully the combination of some schooling by a rider whose skills aren't as rusty plus a pair of eyes on the ground when you ride will help him sort himself out & his trot will soon match his walk & canter.
 

Moragh

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Nov 16, 2018
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Hey thanks for your advice it’s great to know the advice I have been getting is consistent. He certainly isn’t a dirty horse, I have been riding a lot over the last two or three years just not my own horse as such however I also think lessons are the way to go - hopefully I can find someone in the area who will be happy to give lessons and ride him too. I had considered ‘starting’ him again with someone as I know my skills are enough for training. Probably should have bought a school master but this horse is already my mate so we can’t part.
92B066E3-0507-4ECF-A53F-E60A7EA1DFDE.jpeg
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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Oh lovely.
I agree lessons with an instructor would be a good idea.
You say he gets faster. Is this over the course of the session or do you mean if you keep him in trot for a length of time.
 

carthorse

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I think restarting him would be overkill, and he'd probably still be unbalanced in his trot anyway. Do you have the same problem out hacking, or is it just in the school? And what did he do before you had him?

Without seeing him it's hard to give suggestions. If it won't hot him up or upset him you could try bringing him quietly back to walk whenever he starts to get to fast, get a nice walk & then ask for trot again & keep repeating that pattern BUT this can really wind up some horses so use it carefully. When you ask for trot do so from a good walk where he's stepping under himself & you've got a contact (a round engaged outline would be good but I don't know if you have that), then ask him quietly & don't throw the contact away. Which brings me to is your contact unsteady in the trot so he's feeling dropped at times & running on? I'm guessing you've tried holding your rise rhythm even when he speeds up, and I also find keeping my rise low can help keep things more organised. Or maybe see what happens if you do sitting trot so he doesn't have the rise to dash out underneath you.

I can sympathise & know it isn't always easy, I have a welsh cob who likes nothing better to fly along at a trot, and while his is at least fairly balanced it isn't easy to manoeuvre in a school, or comfortable to ride! With him the key is to get him into a good outline before asking & maintaining that through the transition & in the trot, plus riding very quietly and not giving him anything to set against. His canter in a school is not a subject for polite conversation!!!
 
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Moragh

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Nov 16, 2018
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Oh lovely.
I agree lessons with an instructor would be a good idea.
You say he gets faster. Is this over the course of the session or do you mean if you keep him in trot for a length of time.
Fast as in he starts and just gets faster to the point that he feels like he is running - not an extended trot or anything like that doesn’t matter if we have been trotting for two minutes straight or longer. If I’m out on a big hack out his trot will still be the same ten minutes in or after an hour. As I said I’ve tried heaps of things even a half halt is fairly ineffective.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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Hi welcome :D
My first reaction is half halt, half half, half halt, and repeat. You might do a hundred but gradually the time in between the need for them will get longer and longer as he becomes more consistent. All of which is probably best done under the watchful eye of an RI.
 

Moragh

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Nov 16, 2018
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Hi welcome :D
My first reaction is half halt, half half, half halt, and repeat. You might do a hundred but gradually the time in between the need for them will get longer and longer as he becomes more consistent. All of which is probably best done under the watchful eye of an RI.
Hey there thanks for your advice. I am already looking forward to getting out with him tmrw and facing a go withv
I think restarting him would be overkill, and he'd probably still be unbalanced in his trot anyway. Do you have the same problem out hacking, or is it just in the school? And what did he do before you had him?

Without seeing him it's hard to give suggestions. If it won't hot him up or upset him you could try bringing him quietly back to walk whenever he starts to get to fast, get a nice walk & then ask for trot again & keep repeating that pattern BUT this can really wind up some horses so use it carefully. When you ask for trot do so from a good walk where he's stepping under himself & you've got a contact (a round engaged outline would be good but I don't know if you have that), then ask him quietly & don't throw the contact away. Which brings me to is your contact unsteady in the trot so he's feeling dropped at times & running on? I'm guessing you've tried holding your rise rhythm even when he speeds up, and I also find keeping my rise low can help keep things more organised. Or maybe see what happens if you do sitting trot so he doesn't have the rise to dash out underneath you.

I can sympathise & know it isn't always easy, I have a welsh cob who likes nothing better to fly along at a trot, and while his is at least fairly balanced it isn't easy to manoeuvre in a school, or comfortable to ride! With him the key is to get him into a good outline before asking & maintaining that through the transition & in the trot, plus riding very quietly and not giving him anything to set against. His canter in a school is not a subject for polite conversation!!!
hey there thank you for your advice there is lots I need to be considering when I am in the saddle. Can’t wait to get out there tmrw and have another crack!
 
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carthorse

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What's he like on the lunge? When you say he starts off like it & will keep it up for no matter how long part of me wonders if he just naturally has a big trot & because you aren't used to it it feels like it's too much. It can still be altered, but if that's the case you're going to have to be more careful not to ruin his rhythm & activity or you'll end up with a stuffy jog trot. More than ever I think you need a good pair of eyes on the ground to really see what's happening before you take action.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I wrote this yesterday.
I like a horse to go forward easy, so that superfast trot could turn out to be a virtue. My old RI always said that without movement one had nothing to shape and work with.
If your horse has always been asked to go forward quite a long way in trot, he may think that is what is expected. I am a great believer in riding transitions. Alternating 4 strides trot and then 4 walk, and adding some halts. Some people prefer to alternate an odd number of strides like 5 walk 5 trot. But for alternating walk and trot for a small number of strides one needs to trot sitting.
These repeated transitions get the horse quick off the leg but every upward transition involves riding a nice downward one too.
The other thing I do (tho on my case mostly in canter) is to think the beat of the rhythm I want. Some people do this by counting or others by singing. If you are dictating the beat of the trot, the horse picks it up and is less likely to rush.
At the same time one needs to take care one is not inadvertently swishing one's legs against the horse as one rises or sits to the trot - because that can be understood as a cue to go faster. Closing one's legs against the sides of the horse can reduce the swing of his body and act like a brake.

Ideally one should be able to teach any horse to trot at a Western jog. But assuming you are riding English you may not know how to do this?
The trainers who showed me insisted that after you ask for trot, the first steps must be the sort of trot you are looking for. So if it is too big or too fast you should return to walk and ask again. Most horses get the ideas that you are looking for something else after three or four asks - the horse is not being naughty. it is learning.
And all learning is tiring so one needs to give the horse regular rests.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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You are so not alone! My boy Ziggy came to me with a super fast trot - it started fast and got faster. He was unbalanced, head in air, underside of neck bulging. My RI thought he had almost certainly been driven, and driven fast. He had a nice walk and an armchair canter but the trot was awful!

It took ages, really ages, to get him to understand that it was OK to go slow at trot. Half halts helped but in the end he responded best to voice commands (another clue about the driving maybe). A "steady" or "easy" got him to slow down quite reliably.

He's now prepared to offer me a little, slow, dainty trot when we're in the school and even sometimes out on a hack. But it took a long time and the help of a kind and patient RI! I was advised that he was the wrong pony for me (he was my first, and I was a novice) but I loved him from the start so stuck with him. I am glad I did, he has really taught me how to ride,
 

Huggy

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Nov 11, 2018
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Hey thanks for your advice it’s great to know the advice I have been getting is consistent. He certainly isn’t a dirty horse, I have been riding a lot over the last two or three years just not my own horse as such however I also think lessons are the way to go - hopefully I can find someone in the area who will be happy to give lessons and ride him too. I had considered ‘starting’ him again with someone as I know my skills are enough for training. Probably should have bought a school master but this horse is already my mate so we can’t part.
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Hello and welcome! He's just lovely. Not much advice I'm afraid - I've just muddled along as best I can! Get you completely though, not considering parting with him. I've bought both times with my heart not my head, and although I've had my challenges (with both) I don't regret a moment. Good luck - bet you have lots of adventures!:p Also the advice on here is really helpful!
 

Lou_n_Ronnie

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Feb 5, 2019
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My pony runs in trot and as he's only small it's like sitting on a sewing machine. I know he's unbalanced which isn't helped by his lack of fitness/schooling. I've had him for 4 1/2 years but have never had any lessons with him though! I've recently bought a trailer and tow car so will definitely doing something about this in the coming weeks/months. I'm currently just a passenger on a delinquent pony lol :eek: