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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

May 4, 2009

30 minute total walk trot session = 15 minutes of trotting

It wasn't just good today, it was F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! I have a hi/lo alarm on my Garmin, and she did not get over 7 mph at any time. Her head was relaxed, and lower, ears forward, and all business. I've tried to really look at what people have said about the posting trot, the do's, the don'ts, and how I could incorporate any of those ideas practically as a chronic do-it yourself type rider. I kept hearing no stirrups, no stirrups, no stirrups. Since Phebes is my only ride, and lessons are out until I get the vet bills paid off my thought was why no stirrups? No stirrup because you are NOT TO PUSH OFF YOUR FEET. If you have no stirrups it becomes impossible to push off your feet. Someone else said toes in, not out. Someone else said don't push with your pelvis (I was), let the horse lift you. I was coming almost 3 to 4 inches out of the saddle at times. Another said let loose of the saddle horn, and if you need a balance point, put your finger tips just touching under the pommel. If you start to loose it, use the pommel contact just long enough to get it back and then let loose again.

So I rode with my stirrups, but took all the tension out of my calves and feet, kind of let 'em hang loose like jello. Foot to the outside of the stirrup, with a slight toe-in position. Reins in my right hand, left hand hanging elbow bent, but relaxed, feel the momentum of the horse and only very slightly go with the lift of the horse. By gosh, it freaking worked!!! I had it at least 75% of the fifteen minute trotting session. It was so weird, it actually felt good, like endorphins flowing with so much tension let loose from my body. The result? She did not hurry, she did not do that pogo stick wild extended trot. She moved the most relaxed she's ever done in the whole year I've been at this, and I felt not exhausted, but exhilerated.

This is going to take a lot of work. I'm not fooling myself. But we have a lot of time on our hands. My expectation is due to the veterinary bills, and time for her to fully recover and rebuild, we will be looking at late summer to fall. But that is okay. David is starting a couple of new horses and has offered to do some slow rides with me, and Doug (LSEGH) is going to work with me on rating sessions out on the trail as soon as I can get her up to five mile walk/ trot capability. I have arena work on her calendar at least twice per week, even after we get back on trail and we will be working on the trot, and nothing but the trot. My little girl is going to forget all about cantering for quite some time. ~E.G.


  1. Way to go! So happy to hear you found that "happy trot". I found that if I focused on putting my heels DOWN on the "up" part of the post, that helps me. So even though I am going "up", I'm actually sinking "down". Maybe thtat doen'st make any sense, but it helps me visualize what I'm trying to do.

  2. That's great! I'm glad you got it. Actually it's easier letting the horse push you up than pushing yourself up. But if you ever do need to get her trotting faster, you will know if you post a little faster she will go faster. Post slower and relaxed like you were and she will go slower.

    Laura and I rode at Versailles Saturday. It didn't rain and ended up being perfect weather. It was muddy and the creeks were full. We did XYZ and B. (could have done A too but Laura had to be back for her daughters soccer game.) The horses barely even broke a sweat and weren't tired at all. It took just under 2.5 hours and we had to go slow because of the terrible mud. I'd like to do 50's with them soon. Been advised that I could do a slow 50 with them at Top of the Rock. I want too so bad. But won't, we will just do the LD. I want to do at least one LD this season before we attempt a slow 50.

    Michelle Detmer

  3. It is funny that not anyone person gave me the whole piece I needed to make it click, but a little part of just about everybody helped me to correct the biggest portion of what was wrong in one session!!! I've been trying to get this right on my own for a whole year :/

    Now it is going to take a lot of work and repetition to get it cemented into muscle memory so I don't fall into "old ways" when I hit the trail. More reason to spend some quiet trail sessions before riding with a buddy again.

    I wonder if we do this enough if she will turn the page to not wanting to race the horse in front? That will be obstacle # 2 on this fix it agenda.

    So happy that I have my endurance minded friends. Everyone is so helpful...and if you want some iris come July, just let me know.