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Trot Diagonals

Riders follow the diagonal motion of the trot which is called “posting”

Trot Diagonals Explained

Posting smooths out the trot for the rider

One of the first vocabulary words that a beginner rider learns in a mounted lesson is “diagonal.” As riders learn the mechanics of the trot and the up and down motion their seat makes in the saddle, they quickly learn that there is rhyme and reason of when to rise and fall.

 

What is a Trot?

The Trot is a Two-Beat Gait

Trot

As the horse trots, their legs move in a diagonal pair with the right front leg and left hind leg moving together and their left front leg and right hind moving together. With this “one, two” rhythm, the rider must follow in an up and down motion, which is called “posting”.

Learn more about horse gaits and movement.

Trot

1st Beat: Left Fore Leg/Right Hind Leg
2nd Beat: Right Fore Leg/Left Hind Leg

When a horse trots, their legs move in a diagonal pairs.

Posting Trot Animation

Posting Trot

When a horse trots, their legs move in diagonal pairs. The rider goes up and down with the rythm of the trot.

“Rise and fall with the leg on the wall,” is what I was taught at an early age. That is how you ensure that you are on the correct diagonal.

Emma Fogler

Across Town Farm

What is a diagonal?

When referring to the diagonal, you can either be on the correct diagonal, or the incorrect diagonal. The correct diagonal means that the rider is coming up out of the saddle in their posting rhythm while the leg closest to the outside of the ring is reaching forward and sitting in their saddle as that leg goes back. If a rider is tracking left, they will be riding on the right diagonal, rising as the horse’s right leg, which is closest to the fence, reaches forward. The reverse applies when tracking right. When a rider changes direction, they must change their diagonal.

A rider is on the correct diagonal when they post up out of the saddle while the horse’s front leg closest to the outside of the ring reaches forward, and sits in the saddle as that leg goes back.

Riding Arena

How do I recognize my diagonal?

Even the youngest riders will be judged on their ability to recognize if they are on the correct or incorrect diagonal and to change it. Riders learn to glance down at the outside shoulder to look for the forward swing of the leg as they rise, coming back as they sit. Eventually, more experienced riders are able to do this through feel, without looking down. Some riders learn this skill quickly while others take more time to develop an eye and feel for their diagonals.

Why is there a right or wrong diagonal?

Being on the correct diagonal helps your horse stay balanced, especially through a circle or tighter turns. As horses turn, they use different muscles to create a bend. They put more weight on the inside hind leg. If you are on the correct diagonal, you are rising as the horse’s outside front leg and inside hind leg reach forward, so by rising, you are relieving weight and pressure from the inside hind leg that is bearing the weight.

It is important to change direction and diagonals so that horses get an equal workload on both of their hind legs to develop equal strength.

horse trot diagonals infographic

Trot Diagonals Video Explanation

Listen to Hunter/Jumper trainer Emma Fogler of Across Town Farm explain trot diagonals.

How to Change Your Diagonal

Sit the trot for two bounces or steps to change your diagonal.

Interactive Trot Diagonals Game

Click the green flag to begin and click on the Left Diagonal and Right Diagonal buttons to see the rider change her diagonal.

A rider is on the correct diagonal when they post up out of the saddle while the horse’s front leg closest to the outside of the ring reaches forward, and sits in the saddle as that leg goes back.

Trot Diagonals Quiz

Take the Trot Diagonals Quiz

Welcome to the Trot Posting Diagonals Quiz!

Enter your name and answer the questions below.

Name
What is a trot?
What is posting?
How do you know if a rider is on the correct diagonal?
If a horse and rider are going to the left, which diagonal should the rider be on?
If a horse and rider are going to the right, which diagonal should the rider be on?
True or False: The outside of the horse is always on your left.

Leaderboard for the Trot Posting Diagonals Quiz

1. Jentry - 100%
2. kenzie - 83%
3. Jentry - 83%
4. jordan - 66%
5. - 66%

Trot Diagonals Game

 

Across Town Farm