How to Develop Expression in the Trot

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Have you watched any of the World Cup Final replays, yet? If you have, you may be envious of all the talented horses and how expressive their trots are. While some horses are more talented than others, expression in the trot is trained, which means you can teach your horse to have expression and cadence in their trot too!

 

In this week’s video, Leo and I will be showing you how to begin to develop expression in your horse’s trot. This video is from the end of a training session with Leo and he is just learning to hold expression in his trot.

 

The perfect time to work on developing cadence in the trot is after you have worked on your canter. I like to do my canter work first because it is easier to get your horse on their hind leg in the canter. After the canter work, I really focus on gathering up the walk and getting my horse on the hind leg before I start trotting. Then, when I ask for the trot, I want to feel my horse push off right away in the trot with his hind leg.

 

In the trot, I really want to think about my horse being supple and through, especially when I’m working on developing the expression. Lateral work really helps with this, so I like to work on movements like shoulder-in and shoulder-in to half pass.

 

Once I feel my horse is in self-carriage and is supple and responsive, I will begin to test asking for a little more forward/lengthening in the trot on a large 20m circle. When asking for more trot, really focus on keeping your horse on their hind leg. Ask for a little more trot, then bring your horse back, then ask for a more energy, and bring them back. Lots of transitions are key!

 

It will take time for your horse to gain enough strength to hold expression in their trot, but eventually, they will be able to! Be patient, ask for a little at a time, bring your horse back to a more collected, balanced trot, and build from there as your horse gets stronger. Some horses are more talented than others, but pretty soon your horse will be able to hold expression in their trot just like the talented horses you saw in the World Cup!

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