4 ways to improve your horse's trot on the lunge

Trot work on the lunge helps you to see how your horse is moving and improves his balance and suppleness. Here, classical dressage trainer Diane Followell gives her top tips. 

Lungeing+in+a+field.jpeg

Once you've established your basic lungeing technique and your horse responds easily to your instructions, you can start to work his trot (find more lungeing tips here).

From a balanced walk on the lunge, ask your horse to trot, then try these troubleshooting steps and step-by-step aids to develop the pace. 

1. A rushing horse

If your horse rushes, gently vibrate the lunge line and use your voice to steady him

2. Your horse isn't listening 

If your horse is a little inactive use your voice, support by a gentle flick of your whip towards his hock (this will increase the activity of his hind leg).

3. Straight action in your horse's hock 

For horses with a straight action in the hock (his quarters will look as though they're pushing up), slow the trot and gently push the whip towards the fetlock on his inside hint, just as the leg is about to leave the ground.

This will encourage him to flex his hock as he lifts the leg, slowing the rhythm and giving him time to bring his hind leg under. 

4. Horse dropping his inside hip

For horses who drop their inside hip (shown by him crossing his hind leg under his body towards the outside), slow the rhythm and keep him close to the fence line or wall of the area you're schooling in. 

Don't let him lean on the lunge line, instead, gently give and take the line so that he starts to support his outside shoulder from his inside hind. 

Using the whip might push the quarters further out so use your voice to maintain the trot instead.