Working On Our Trot Trot

Working On Our Trot Trot

I’ve been trying to push our flatwork up to the next level for a few reasons.  First, let me give you a brief synopsis of how I usually hack my horse.

Wow you’re lazy today.  Well, lazy means I’m not getting run away with!  I can do lazy… I’ll call it “long and low”.  Well we’ve done a few laps now, I should do circles or leg yields or something.  That was moderately successful.  Those hard hard.  Let’s canter!  Two circles at the canter and… we’re done.

Sometimes if I'm really motivated, we do no stirrups
Sometimes if I’m really motivated, we do no stirrups

Honestly I used to put a lot more into Simon’s flatwork when he was straight up green and not getting training rides, but overall I haven’t been giving it my all lately.  Now that I’ve decided to really work to make Simon’s back end stronger to help these issues, I’ve realized that I need to step it up with our flatwork.  Our goals now are…

  • Forward
  • Relaxed through shoulder/neck/back
  • Supple

With that in mind, I asked begged my husband to come out and take some pictures of us this weekend.  Saturday I felt like I had a fantastic unicorn like creature.  Sunday (lesson and picture day) it wasn’t as good, but there were still good moments and as always pictures are an exceptional learning tool.

Starting out in a ride, Simon’s normal has good rhythm and is usually pretty relaxed.  He lives in a “slightly above the vertical land” and will poke along pretty happily.

His normal happy place, and me holding two point
His normal happy place, and I hold two point so my trainer can tell me how to do it better ha

Lately I give him a lap or two of that, and then I ask for more forward.

Dear pony, please step under yourself
Dear pony, please step under yourself

Once that rhythm is going, I work on some collection.  Typically I’m a “ride to the outside rein” kind of person but sometimes if he’s being fussy I have to “pretend my hands are side reins” and push him into contact.  Either way, it’s getting much better.

Starting to come to me
Starting to come to me
Awkward timing, but this is better

Looking at these photos, I immediately realize his head isn’t as “set” as I’d like it to be and omg I’m so hunchy.  Must sit up more!

Cute Simon is cute
Cute Simon is cute

Sometimes we lose the connection entirely.  He gets anxious, gets above the vertical and chews at the bit or occasionally tosses his head.  I usually don’t lose him completely, but our impulsion dies and the whole thing looks tense and gross.

Chomp chomp angry horse
Chomp chomp angry horse

The above picture is a good example of one of my bad habits – riding for a headset instead of the entire picture.  You can easily see a multitude of things going wrong here.

On the flip side, sometimes we’re chill as a cucumber but we lose all connection and he wants to dive his shoulder and get quick.


It’s getting better though all around.  I’m sure dressage queens would tell me a multitude of things I’m doing wrong (and I wouldn’t argue) but this is a big improvement for us.

Bonus points for decent trot with no stirrups?
Bonus points for decent trot with no stirrups?

Overall, I think it’s coming together.  Room for improvement, but isn’t that always the case?

I call this "happy sitting trot"
I call this “happy and slow sitting trot”

And spoiler alert… there is an additional reason besides hind end strength for all this work, but that’s a topic for a different day!

15 thoughts on “Working On Our Trot Trot

  1. He’s looking really good! Nicely forward and relaxed. You’re right, don’t ride for the headset, ride the hind end and the head will come as he becomes stronger.

    Good for you with the no stirrup work!

  2. Great post. You’re working on a lot of the things I need to. Ginger is so easy/forward that I got really lazy.
    You guys are looking great, BTW 🙂

  3. He’s still the most adorable dressage pony! And ignoring thr head is SO hard but when you do just ride the hind end, it’s true the head fixes itself…. I always have to be reminded of that…

  4. Dressage Queen checking in here … and I think you guys look great. You have all the concepts, and just need to keep chipping away. Remember to ride forward and stay in balance, and you’ll keep trucking right along. 😉

  5. This is the part we’re working on too. Just hacking away at the day to day. It does get better and I’m really glad you got pictures. Take more in a couple weeks and you might surprise yourself. 😉

  6. I think you guys look really nice! The fact that you know what you’re aiming for and working to get there should be enough for us dressage queens not to nitpick 🙂

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