January 3, 2009
"Sit still on the horse," said the master rider abrasively to a foreign girlfriend of mine who had just began working for him. They were each on a different horse out riding. He rode one of the many competition horses in training with him. She rode a horse that was less trained, unsure of himself in trot and wanted to move to tölt when he lost his balance. "Do you mean, that I shouldn't rise the trot?" she asked curiously. "This is an unattractive way to ride a horse, it doesn't suit an Icelandic “gaedingi” and is only used on lazy hasty horses being ridden by children who are learning to ride" said the horse master slightly annoyed and added, "foreigners also do this but they are not used to gaited horses or good riding horses."
"But the young horse has better balance in trot when I rise it" protested my friend. "You should ride a lighter seat when you ride trot on a young horse to relieve the horses back from your weight so the horse can develop proper movement in it's back appropriate for trot," explained the master. "Yes, but when I rise the trot then I am releasing weight from the horses back and am communicating to the horse the way he needs to move his back. The horse also takes bigger steps forward with the hindleg that I step with. The hindleg becomes active and bares more weight longer, which strengthens it. You can use this method to even out difference of the strength of a horses hindlegs. The outcome of which is that the horse becomes more confident in trot, the uneven strength decreases, balance increases, the trot suspensions increases and the four beat trot slowly becomes two beat trot" she said short of breath as she tried to remember everything she had learned about trot in the military riding school in her home country.
"Hmmm, this trot stepping could do a lot for a horse, if what you are saying is true," said the master deep in thought. "You can do more with this method. It is much easier for a horse to remain in trot during a turn if the inner hindleg is being stepped with. That is because the inner hindleg, which turns the horse, goes more forward and underneath the horse when the inner hindleg is being stepped. You can also slow your horse from trot to walk with slowing the pace of your stepping or rising without the horse going into tölt right before the walk transition is made which is common with these gaited horses of yours," concluded my friend, the foreigner, her address in rising trot.
"It is best that you step with the trot on the young horses for some time, but for goodnessakes don't let anyone see you do it," said the master to finish off their conversation.
Do you rise trot to lessen the uneven strength of a horse, increase trot confidence or to help a horse hold better balance?