Trotting Is my favorite gait when I am riding. Not only do I cover more miles and work on my balance, but I also give myself and my horses a better workout. Trotting also improves muscling, flexibility, and focus in your horse. Here are 5 reasons to start trotting more now.
1-Fitness For Your Horse Trotting is a great way to get your horse in shape. While riding, long distances trotting and trotting on hills is perfect for building muscles. On the ground, trotting over poles and hill work also is great for muscling as well as flexibility. A long, fast trot is harder work for your horse than a short canter. Asking your horse to keep up a consistant trot over a long distance or period of time is one of the best ways to get your horse in shape. If you are restricted to an arena, ground pole work is a great exercise.
2-Fitness For You Exercise can be measured in METs (Metabolic Equivalent). Basically, METs are the amount of energy you are using and calories you are burning while performing an exercise. For example when sitting still, you are doing a 1 MET exercise. Trotting on a horse is wonderful exercise for a rider. When trotting you are performing a 4.6 MET exercise. Compare this to 2 METs for walking and 4.5 METS playing basketball. That gives you an idea of how hard you are actually working up there! We just don't notice because we enjoy riding so much!
3-Better Focus When I am teaching my horse a new exercise, I find that teaching the exercise at a trot increases focus. I believe this is because they are not only focusing on the exercise, but also keeping rhythm with their feet. The constant forward momentum also keeps them engaged. One of my favorite exercises to get my horses' focus is trot fast through thick forest. My horses have to focus on picking their feet up over logs and dodging trees. It keeps both me and the horse I'm riding excited and engaged.
4-Better Balance both sitting and posting the trot are great exercises for balance and improving your seat. One thing I love to do while riding is trot for a long straight stretch. During this long trot, I focus hard on my seat position. I will post for say 50 strides or so, then change diagonals. This is a great balance builder. If you trust your horse, (hopefully you do!) drop the reins and put your hands on your hips, or straight out to the side. This will give you fantastic seat position and balance. Riding bareback at the trot is another great way to gain balance.
5- More Distance Covered Lastly, when trotting on the trail you cover more distance. When I am trail riding, I love to spend hours in the saddle and cover huge distances. Trotting allows me to do this. When cantering, you can cover a lot of area, but it takes more effort for your horse. Most conditioned horses are quite happy trotting for a long time, making the trot a top gait for long distance riding.
Thanks For Reading, Happy Trails!