Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Jog versus the Trot -What's the Difference I'm Asked?

Teresa wrote in to ask about differences between the jog and the trot: "Hello, I was watching a friend of mine taking lessons and her trainer was telling her to extend the trot and was telling her in a repetitive fashion to lift and lift. When they were finishing I asked the trainer what the difference was in the jog and the trot and she replied that they don't jog as it is not a recognized gait? I know people jog on their horses so can you clarify what the difference's are between the jog and the trot. Thank you in advance. Teresa."

I use the terms jog and trot interchangeably. Both are a two beat gait, where the horse's right hind foot and left front foot hit the ground together, then the left hind foot and the right front foot move together. Or it is usually explained as a two beat gait with diagonals. See diagram below.

Sometimes describing the two beat diagonal gait as a jog or a trot is dependent upon what discipline the rider is. But that is not necessarily true all the time. Like I said I use jog and trot interchangeably. I have friends who are dressage riders who also use both terms.

Within this two beat gait, there can be what you may consider different speeds. Sometimes the speed of a horse in the jog or trot can be related to the speed or quickness of their feet (the diagonals) coming off the ground, and sometimes it is the length of the horse's stride as in what you see on the dressage court with horse's trotting with suspension or a delay in the diagonals coming off the ground and re-planting. I think what also impacts the jog/trot and the speed or length of their strides is the individual horse's breed and conformation.

I'm sure people have different terms for the variances or speeds of the jog/trot like "working jog" or "extended jog'. That's basically the terminology I use, correct or not. If I going some place at a working jog and want to get there sooner, I'll just ask my horse to pick it up to an extended jog.

As far as the trainer from your story telling your friend to "lift, lift, lift", that is likely a que to help your friend post the jog/trot. Posting is when the rider's pelvis rotates forward as one of the front diagonals is coming up off the ground and rotating back as that foot hits the ground, and continues that rhythm. If your friend was riding a circle or a big oval, the trainer was likely saying "lift" as the horse's outside diagonal was preparing to come off the ground to que the rider to post on the rising of the outside diagonal - called posting on the outside diagonal.

Most of the time when I am riding a horse at a jog/trot, I will be posting or what passes for posting. Some would say I look like a monkey investigating a football, when I post, but I try to rotate my pelvis forward, keeping my shoulders in the same position and try not to use my feet and legs to raise my body.

Do not be confused with what is sometimes called the "working gait" - that would be the jog/trot. A good cow horse will spend much of the day in the jog/trot, getting his breaks as the Cowboy dismounts to open a wire gate, check a water valve or float, stop to eye ball the country he is traveling to or to locate cows.

As I received Teresa's original question, I thought it would be easy to answer. But it wasn't as simple as I thought. Teresa's story reminds me when we went in to taste some wine and we asked "to try a sip of wine" and the proprietor look down her nose at us and coldly stated "one does not sip wine,......one tastes wine." I'll just bet that some people would see me, a hairy uncouth individual, riding at an un-refined jog on a loose rein with my horse's head at a natural headset, and declare that I was certainly not riding at a trot as my horse's neck was not rounded or his nose vertical, back rounded and back feet underneath himself, nor would I be in contact with his mouth.

While I think a rider should be able to control the speed of each horse's gaits (walk, jog/trot and lope/canter, I think a horse and rider can have functionality, not to mention fun, without getting wrapped up into performing these gaits in narrow acceptable description. It doesn't mean you can't work on getting your horse framed up and collected especially if you are in competitions that seek that type of refinement.

No comments:

Post a Comment