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 Post subject: Extended trot and its importance for the athletic ability.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:57 am 
White Lady
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:18 pm
Posts: 13964
Location: Eriksbråten, Skotterud
Pelle and Ares training trot extensions. Not perfect, but good enough for training purposes, as long as the balances are right. Look for the parallelity between the lower arm and the hind cannon of the horse, and its nose in front of the vertical, but not too high. If the nose is too high, the horse is not over the back.

We often get questions about the extended trot. It is a very difficult exercise, and very few people manage to do it correctly. Most often we see riders who just asks the horse to run faster, or let the horse fall on the forehand in the extensions. This is of course not the intention of the exercise, and every serious rider should strive to improve his extensions. There are two reasons:

1. Bad extensions are bad for the horse and you get low marks
2. Good extensions are good training, and if you manage to do them, it is a sure sign you have mastered many difficult things in riding.

Many riders think that extentions are difficult, and train them a lot, or they refuse to train them whatsoever, believing they are detrimental to the horse. And they are, if they are done incorrectly. We think that you should not train extensions a lot. You should train in order to manage the extensions when you try them.

Extensions are cruel. Just like trying to balance on a slack line or do handstand pushups. They punish you if you can't do them. You fall down hard, rattle, or the horse runs away on the forehand.

The reasons why you can't do them can be many. They include:

- Not enough strength in the horse's midsection and hindquarters.
- Not good enough coordination through the body of both horse and rider
- Not enough carrying capacity from behind, also comprising the two former points
- Not enough flexibility through the rider's hip joints.
- Not enough stability and balance in the rider's upper body.
- Wrong rider seat.
- Wrong aids. Especially the lack of engagement from the seat and legs.
- The horse is not to the bit, but over or behind it. Or lacking contact.
- You are not able to ride the horse with true carriage from behind yet. True carriage does not rattle, whether you ride collected, in working trot or extended trot.
- The horse does not land in balance for each step, but falls on the forehand and loses the rythm.
- Not enough flexibility in the horse's shoulders.

And ultimately, if you cannot take the horse softly down again to a working or collected gait through a soft, balanced and smooth transition, the horse was on the forehand, and the extension was not correct.

Difficult? Yes, but so inspiring! The extension is a magic mirror that never lies. If you can't do them, you must find out what is lacking, and then try again later. We just love difficult and revealing exercises.


Paradox is a pointer telling you to look beyond it. If paradoxes bother you, that betrays your deep desire for absolutes. The relativist treats a paradox merely as interesting, perhaps amusing or even, dreadful thought, educational.

Frank Herbert.

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