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Re: [RC] Diagonals - Don Huston

Hello Susan,

Very interesting and not confusing. The one I call the smooth side is the easiest to ride, more flowing like you said but with less lift. I call the other side rough because in addition to more lift there is a little something extra in there that makes it harder to ride and sometimes late in a 50 the saddle pops up occasionally and hits me in the butt just as I'm sitting back down from the post on that diagonal. Might be a tired thing but it only happens on the rough side.

The reason I'm not using strong or weak side is because I'm not sure which is which yet.

Your description of "feeling forced" is interesting. Maybe there is more lift because I'm working harder. I will try to sort out who is lifting who. Thanks,

Don Huston

At 08:13 PM 11/11/2009 Wednesday, you wrote:
I'm bored so I'll toss my 2 cents in here... to probably thoroughly confuse you! :) 
What you're describing is weird because usually the weak side is the one that feels "rough" or uncomfortable to post and it's that side that you should post (whether you like it or not) to build it up and make him even-even, but the way you're describing the post getting a lot "higher" makes that side sound "strong" and that's confusing.  Maybe what you're calling "rough" is not the same thing we're thinking of when we hear it.
When I ride a "rough," "weak" diagonal it's really easy to tell... it feels forced, and if it's really weak I'll literally be pushing off with my feet to rise for the post.  My body wants to switch to the other diagonal.  If I just start posting without thinking about which diagonal I'm on, my body will ALWAYS choose the strong side.  The strong side has a more flowing rhythm suitable for posting. 
I think you should focus on "strong" vs "weak" instead of "rough" vs "smooth" because maybe the horse just has a naturally strong trot that feels rough to you.  In that case, that might be his stronger diagonal (even though you describe it as "rough").  If you just ask yourself which side is strong and which is weak, you'll get a better answer I think, then just work the weak side.  Figure it out by feeling whether your pushing at all to rise-- if you are, that's the weak side, the side that needs work.  You could also just pick up the most natural feeling diagonal then sit two beats to switch to the other one (now you'll be on the weak diagonal) and work that one. 
Something else you might want to do is ask someone else to ride the horse and get their opinion of which side is stronger/weaker. 
What are the chances that this was helpful??  Slim?  None?  hahaha  Anyway, good luck with it!  Your horse is lucky that you care.

From: Don Huston <donhuston@xxxxxxx>
To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Wed, November 11, 2009 10:11:45 PM
Subject: [RC] Diagonals

Thank you all for your opinions and descriptions. It is always good for me to get a recap on the mechanics of the rising trot. I do not have an arena but I ride some crooked trails and also circle him around scarey bushes and such. I also switch diagonals a lot (ever since Marci C was so kind to teach me at Eastern Mojave years ago) and I have noticed that the rougher side has remained rough and the smoother side smooth.

I am going to do some real circles in some meadows and determine which diagonal is rough and check his legs for problems. On straight stretches it also amazes me that I cannot see any difference in how the horse is moving his head or the rhythm of his hooves when I change diagonals but suddenly my post gets a lot higher.

BUT...once I determine which is which I still do not know if the diagonal with the higher post is weak or strong. I want to know which one I should spend more time on to even out my horses diagonals.

Don Huston

[RC] Diagonals, Don Huston