Trot is a two-time pace where your horse's legs move in diagonal pairs. When assessing your horse's trot, you're looking for loose, free, active steps and a regular rhythm. Been able to stay in natural balance, showing suppleness over his back - commonly know as swinging - with hindquarters that are engaged (where his hindlegs reach under his body) is also important.
This is between collected and medium trot and is ridden in prelim and novice dressage tests.
Your horse's working trot needs to be established before you train for collected trot. Your horse should be in good blanche and self-carriage, soft in the hand and working easily in an outline.
He should also be in front of your leg in a willing manner in all movements, including circles, ranges of rein and through the corners, showing loose, free, active steps with his hocks pushing under with impulsion, elasticity and expression.
This is first asked for at elementary level. It's important not to think of collection as going slower. Instead you're containing the trot, making it shorter, but with the same energy, impulsion and elasticity as working trot - just more together.
Your horse should remain in a correct outline and self-carriage, but think of collected trot as allowing you to bring him more 'up together'. You're encouraging him to lift through his shoulder, while his hind leg reaches under his body.
You'll first encounter medium trot in novice tests where you'll be asked to 'show some medium trot strides'.
Medium trot shouldn't be mistaken for going faster. You need to teach your horse to push and cover the ground by lengthening his strides, not quickening them.
Allow your horse to come up and out to the contact, encouraging him to stay in self-carriage, otherwise he may fall onto his forehand. By keeping his hind legs engaged, into an upwards contact, it teaches him to push up to the bridle, so he stays in balance and in an even rhythm.
This is the finished product of the medium trot strides, where you can really show off the full extent your horse can cover the ground.
Using the same basis of the medium trot, just bolder and braver. Without hurrying, your horse should show a smooth transition at the start, lifting through his shoulders and pushing from behind into the extended trot. He should stay in a regular rhythm, in balance, with his front and hind legs reaching equally forwards in the moment of extension.
Watch our video to help you improve your horse's trot pace.
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