How To Feel Your Posting Trot Diagonals

Feb 04, 2009 10 Comments by


In this week’s Horse Master with Julie Goodnight episode (airs weekly on RFDTV), Julie works with a young rider to learn to feel her trot diagonals instead of looking for them.

She posted this 5 minute video of the session on YouTube. It’s worth watching, even if you already know how to feel your diagonals.

A few key points from the session include:

Why is it important to post on the outside diagonal (when outside front leg is coming forward)? It helps your horses to balance, particularly in the turns.

To remember which diagonal is correct, just think “rise and fall with the leg on the wall”.

While we remember our diagonals based on the front leg, we actually post on correct diagonal because of the back legs.

To learn to feel your trot diagonals:

At the walk, feel your hips lifting. Say “now” every time your outside hip lifts up.

Then move up to a sitting trot.

In order to feel the correct diagonal, feel when your outside hip lifts up.

Every time your outside hip comes up, say “up”.

Begin posting on the word up.

And voila! You are posting on the correct diagonal.

This is a great system, but it will be more beneficial if you have a buddy in the ring with you who can confirm that you are indeed feeling things correctly and getting the correct diagonals. Anybody else want to take Julie Goodnight home as their buddy?

What tips and tricks do you have to share for learning to feel your diagonals?

Featured, Riding and showing, Training

10 Responses to “How To Feel Your Posting Trot Diagonals”

  1. OnTheBit says:

    I would love to get Julie Goodnight to teach me in a clinic. I love the fact that she understands that she is a role model and will always wear a helmet when riding because of it. I used to watch a few horse shows on RFDTV, but most of them were just self promotion so I got sick of them all. Well, All but Horsemaster. I love that show and it has stayed on my DV’r List! And what I could use is a tip for working on my sitting trot…I can sit if I slow the impulsion, but then I will lose gait quality. I am piggy backing on your entry and if anyone has good sitting tips please share those too!

  2. Jackie says:

    OTB – I wish I had some good exercises for sitting trot. The best I’ve got is to ride bareback and/or without stirrups lots and lots. Would love some tips like in this video for the actual function of the body though. I’m going to dig around and see what I can come up with.

  3. elizabeth art says:

    Here’s a tip for when you are watching a rider to see which diagonal they posting on — Look at the rider’s back, whether it is up or down,and match it up with which hind leg of the horse is going forward.

  4. Colby says:

    This video lesson is excellent. As I watched it, I was imagining trotting in my office chair and could immediately tell that it would work! I can 90% of the time feel my diagonals, only because I know how it feels to be on the right one and how it feels to be on the wrong one. I never tried to feel it from the hind end, although I knew I was suppose to! Anyways, thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed it. I felt like I got a little riding lesson at work!

  5. Deanna says:

    What I use to teach my riders to feel their diagonal is I have them two-point while trotting, as they circle the horse they will naturally begin to rise and lower at the correct time.

    When I am training beginning instructors I teach them to watch for the rider to be up when the inside front leg is back. For me it has always been easier to watch the inside leg than “the leg on the wall” because I’m usually on the inside of the circle teaching. I also hold a longe whip in the middle of the shaft and tilt it side to side to demonstrate the diagonal of the rider and the horse’s leg while saying tick tock, tick tock with the rhythm like a metronome because (I’m a dork lol) it helps the rider understand the pace, and the ground person really see the diagonal.

    I saw this episode, and I thought it was wonderful. I <3 Julie Goodnight :).

  6. Sheryl says:

    As a teacher, I know how important it is to remain upbeat and positive when dealing with young children. I like the way the instructor approaches the situation in a non-threatening, positive way. She remains friendly, upbeat, and uses positive reinforcement when the student gets it right. I also like how she rides with the student so that she can show by example. An instructor can’t always do that on the ground.

  7. Heidi says:

    Hi, I’m the producer of Horse Master. I just happened upon your site tonight. Thanks so much for posting our clip and sharing–and thanks for the idea about doing a show on how to sit the trot. That’s a good one, too. We work hard to make sure we’re covering real riders with real problems–that most likely other people have, too! I appreciate the feedback!


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