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by Downunder Horsemanship

Training Tip: Training at the Trot Puts Your Horse in a Teachable Mind Frame

When it comes to teaching your horse something new or going back and fixing an issue under saddle, there’s no better gait to work from than the trot.

Reason #3: It’s a Steady Beat
There’s something about the trot’s two-beat gait that just relaxes a horse and puts him in a teachable frame of mind. Throughout the Fundamentals, Intermediate and Advanced Series, unless a riding exercise is specifically focused on the lope, we always start the concept lesson at the walk or trot.

Generally speaking, once a horse gets past the Fundamentals level, meaning he’s got a great steering wheel, brake and gas pedal, I teach all suppling and lateral exercises at the walk first and then move on to the trot and then the lope. When it comes to impulsion exercises – getting the horse to move forward – I start at the trot. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I’m just providing a general guideline here.

The trot is helpful as a teaching gait for the rider, too. The two-beat movement is an easy rhythm for the rider to move with, which is especially true if the rider is inexperienced. If I’m helping someone learn how to do rollbacks on the fence and they’re having trouble getting their cues down, I’ll have them drop down to a trot so they can focus on what they’re doing. Once they understand what they should be doing to cue the horse correctly, we go back to the lope.

Read Reason #1: Training at the Trot Keeps Gas in Your Horse’s Tank and Reason #2: It Doesn’t Mentally Override Your Horse

Have a horsemanship question or looking for more training tips? Check out the No Worries Club.