Regular As Clockwork
Does you horse move the same way to the left and to the right? Why does it matter?
Manolo used this analogy ( it applies to all gaits, not just trot) with the owner of a young, just starting training horse whose trot was different to the left and to the right.
The diagonal pair clockwise was slower than counter clock wise. The horse had two trots, instead of one.
Manolo explained that a horse’s gaits are like the movement of the hands on a watch.
The hands tick from one minute to the next with great regularly and one revolution makes a minute.
In this analogy, the hands of the watch represent the horse’s strides.
You want the watch to show the same time on the left and right rein and not have the hands be too early or late on one side vs the other.
If the watch’s is early or late the hands will still tick around but the time will be wrong.
If the horse has two trots to the left and right, even if they appear to be regular, even strides, the horse will not be even, regular and rhythmical and what crookedness or soundness issues brewing will increase instead of improving and the horse’s gait purity will be impacted negatively.
There is no cause for alarm however, because this is is extremely common, especially in unstarted horses. It is simply a clue to their lack of ambidexterity.
When present in trained horses, it is a good clue to check the quality of your training.
Good in-hand work and lunging combined with bodywork and good training are designed to help remedy this issue.
Pay attention to this horse going clock wise and counter clock wise. What do you notice?
Manolo touched the inside hind, clock wise, more than when going counter clock wise to influence the diagonal pair.
He used his voice, body and own timing to adjust the horse’s timing so that with awareness and consistent practice in all the work, the horse will be able to use both sides of his body evenly and develop the same regularity on both reins.
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