Are You on the Correct Diagonal?

Are You on the Correct Diagonal?

It can be hard to know whether you are on the correct diagonal when you first start riding. It’s important to know the footfall of the horse so you know exactly which diagonal is moving when. When you are on the correct diagonal you are posting when the outside front leg and inside hind leg are on the ground. If you can’t feel when you should be posting then look down, you should be posting when the outside shoulder is moving forward and sitting when it is back. If you are on the left rein then you should be on the right diagonal. If you are on the right rein then you should be on the left diagonal.

Horse trotting diagonal.
This horse is on the right diagonal, the rider would be standing now.

It may help to get into the rhythm of saying “up” when the shoulder moves forward, that way you don’t have to constantly look down, you can just post when you say “up.” Eventually you will feel the horse’s movements and you won’t have to even think about when you should be posting.

When you want to change directions then you have to change diagonals too. All you have to do is sit for two beats then start posting again. When I say two beats I mean two strides of the horse’s gait. If you have the pattern of saying “up” then replace two “ups” with counting (“one, two”) instead, and then continue saying “up” in the same rhythm.

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Horse related activities are inherently dangerous and caution should be used at all times.