Exercises to lift feet in trot?

Olliepoppy

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When schooling my cob is almost dragging his feet in trot which means he can trip and stumble. Are there any exercises I can do to help him learn to lift his feet more? Thanks
 

Olliepoppy

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He's 7 at the end of May, all legs but more front. He is still quite heavy on the forehand. Tripped last year out hacking but nothing so far this year, he's much more enthusiastic on a hack than in the school! He's just getting back into work as he had an issue with being separated from his winter pal so he has had to be retrained to cope with going out on his own. He is being schooled once a week with an instructor and hacking out approx 30mins 2 or 3 times a week at present, we are still working on increasing the distance/length of time he can be away from his companion.
 

PorkChop

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I am sure you will find that the fitter he gets the less he will trip - once he is fitter then trotting poles and cavaletti will encourage him to pick up his feet and carry himself - but don't start them too soon as they are hard work :)
 

Cortez

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If you ride him more collected and bouncy he should start to bend his joints more and move with more power.
 

Olliepoppy

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Fitness is definately an issue just now, hopefully as you say LJR he will get better as he gets more sustained work under his rather large belt :)
 

Cortez

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Umm.. don't mean to sound dumb but how do I do that?! Bouncy is not a word I would use to describe him lol
How you do it is best explained by a knowledgeable instructor, it also doesn't happen overnight and is basically what everyone who rides dressage is attempting to achieve. It's about getting the horse to sit behind, and bend all his joints with maximum efficiency (have you ever seen a horse doing passage or piaffe? That's maximum flexion and bending of the joints with the weight shifting to the back end). Of course how much each horse is able to do is dependant on that particular horse's ability, and the level of skill of his rider.
 

Moon Dancer

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I would agree with the fitness, my horse used to trip all the time when he was younger and unfit.
If it continues though i would think about getting the vet to check him. Dragging the back feet can be a sign of a stifle problem.
 

SallyBatty

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Your instructor should be able to explain exercises to improve his way of going. Make sure you have a good rein contact so he is not slopping along. Lots of transitions will help to get him working more from behind and lateral work will also help (e.g spiralling in and leg yielding out on circles, shoulder in and quarters in). Also, as he needs to be forward going and off your leg it may help to use canter in your warm up.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I am sure you will find that the fitter he gets the less he will trip - once he is fitter then trotting poles and cavaletti will encourage him to pick up his feet and carry himself - but don't start them too soon as they are hard work :)
And the fitter his rider gets, the stronger and more effective her(?) legs and seat become, the less on the forehand he will be so the less he will trip. The best exercise is for the rider to run up and down stairs as many times as possible.

ETA, Please don't take a strong contact, encourage him with your seat and legs to find his own balance. You can't hold him up for the rest of his life!
 
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Four Seasons

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Agree with others. You could also try after warming-up (lots of transitions, getting him in front of your leg, listening to weight aids etc.) to collect him a bit more in trot, maintaining the same rhythm and ask for more activity. By this I mean giving the aids for going forwards, but keeping the weight aids on, thus not letting him go forward, but become more active in his leg movement. You won't get results straight away and this is a long, patience-testing procedure, but it will give result after 3-4 weeks. This is working more towards a collected bouncy trot, sort of a fancy warmblood trot. Only try this when your horse is really in front of your leg and well warmed-up.
 
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