Confuse extended walk with a free walk – or maybe you’d like to improve your medium canter? Whatever your aims, dressage rider and trainer Emma Woolley will help unveil your horse’s best paces.


  • Trot is a two-time pace where your horse’s legs move in diagonal pairs, separated by a moment of suspension.
  • You’re looking for a regular rhythm with loose, free and active steps.

Working trot is the most commonly ridden trot and is seen in preliminary and novice dressage tests. It needs to be established before training the collected trot, which appears in elementary tests and above.

To ride a good Collected trot, you need to think about making the trot shorter and more contained, rather than going slower. This pace must have the same energy, impulsion and elasticity as the working trot, just more together.

In novice tests you’ll be asked to ‘show some medium trot strides’. At elementary level, you’ll ride this pace from marker to marker – the judge is looking for your horse to maintain his rhythm and balance across the entire diagonal, showing a correct transition, before and after.

Extended trot is required from medium level upwards and is where you show the full extent to which your horse can cover the ground. It has the same basis as medium trot, but it’s just bolder and braver.