Improving the Extended Trot

For many spectators, it’s the highlight of watching dressage: that moment when the horse opens up and seems to fly across the diagonal or down the long side in a spectacular extended trot. Like everything else in dressage, however, nailing that single “wow” moment begins long before you enter the ring at A. Three-time Pan Am Games competitor Esther Mortimer operates M2 Dressage in Millgrove, Ontario, with her husband Harper Mackenzie, a top-rated coach and FEI dressage competitor himself. With experience helping riders at all levels from training to grand prix, the pair knows that “wow” moments in the ring begin with a solid foundation at home. “The rider must have a good independent seat, quiet hand, and a strong core to help the horse and not interfere with its movement,” says Mortimer. “The horse should have good-quality gaits naturally, especially the walk and canter, and must have the appropriate…

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