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.
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