Toby is a Draft Cross -- a cross between a Draft (a large horse bred to pull heavy loads) and
another, smaller breed.  Although of average height, he's big boned and bulky, and his feet are
twice the usual size.  He has a long, full black mane and tail, giving him a playful appearance, and
playful he is.  In the field, he's silly.  He likes to take the halters off other horses with his teeth.  
You'll also find him rubbing his neck on trees a lot.

Especially sweet and docile with people, Toby provides a calm and steady mount.  He proves that
you can't judge a horse's temperament by his size.  He's patient with beginners and won't do
anything crazy, even if you make mistakes.  But like many Draft Crosses, he has a well-deserved
reputation for laziness, which can present a challenge for riders.  Toby can be stubborn and refuse
to go.
A trot is a two-beat gait, somewhat faster than the walk.  The horse's legs move in diagonal pairs
(for instance, the left front and right hind).  It's important to understand how the horse moves at the
trot, because each time Toby's feet hit the ground, you're going to get a shock to your derriere.
To absorb the shock, you best option is to post at the trot, which means rhythmically lifting out of
your seat with the movement of the horse.  This makes riding the horse more comfortable.  The
posting trot is also called rising to the trot.
Many riding schools begin teaching the trot only after several mounted lessons at the walk.  I prefer
to teach the posting trot to new riders as soon as they catch on to mounting, sitting correctly,
walking, and turning.  An early introduction to the trot not only gets riders moving on the horse,
which they generally want to do, but also demonstrates that they need to learn a lot to ride well.
Woodland Horse Center
16301 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905
301-421-9156          fax: 301-421-9049