Trotting Diagonals

I remember once speaking to someone who had trained in Europe and they spoke about ‘being on the wrong hind leg’ rather than being on the wrong trotting diagonal. I really liked that because I think it’s a far better way to explain what is going on.  Of course, it’s probably too late to change our ways.

But I think it’s a helpful way to think about trotting diagonals and hopefully, this video will help explain why.

6 thoughts on “Trotting Diagonals”

  1. Hi Pat it’s Greta Amber always tells me to Chang the diagonal, I know how to do it but I don’t always remember but now because of your video I understand a lot more and I will remember now


      Glad it helped Greta! I find it always helps me remember things if I understand the reason why. Thanks for taking the time!

  2. Angela Hunter

    Hi Pat,
    What a great explanation and demonstration for something we just accept but don’t understand. Here is a question. What if you are doing a sitting trot. Is that hard on the horse in the corners? What is better for the horse? Perhaps I should come for a lesson to get my answer. I must say, your videos are a nice break from other computer work. They get me dreaming about horses and hanging out at Harrogate.


      Hi Angela
      Thanks and any time you want to hang out at Harrogate, just swing on by! I’m afraid your question gets one of those ‘it depends’ sort of answers. It depends on the skill level of the person doing the sitting. A person with an independent, balanced seat would have a completely different impact on the horse than a person who is still having trouble finding their way in sitting trot. And it would also depend on the horse and his level of strength/training. I have always started young horses by rising through turns as it takes a certain amount of time for them to develop the rhythm, relaxation, and strength required. Having said that, in rising trot the rider can only influence the horse with his seat 50% of the time and so if the rider and horse both have the necessary skill and strength, sitting through a corner is not more difficult for the horse at all. In fact, it has value from a training perspective. I hope that helps and thanks so much for watching and especially for commenting. I really appreciate it.

  3. Darlene Robertson-Bootsma

    Hey Pat,
    This answers a lot of my questions regarding the trotting diagonal!!!
    I think I spent most of the first year of lessons trying to figure out what a diagonal was. Now, I struggle to know when and how to change diagonals…. that is probably why I look a “little” clumsy at times….lol. A little knowledge goes a long way……..Thanks!!


      I find it really helps to know “why” when I’m trying to learn something. Also, being able to see the horse trot in slow motion makes it clearer than watching in a lesson or at least I think it does. Thanks for the feedback!

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