The rising trot gives the rider a lot of opportunities to develop his riding skills (artful riding), to practice arena patterns, and to improve the horse gymnastically.
First you must relax the horse to move forward with a swinging back in order to get the horse to move in a more supple way and to improve his alignment. You must flex and bend the horse correctly in the spine and rib cage to improve his balance and his rhythm. The horse should, over time, improve from his natural ordinary paces to move more cadenced, stronger, and with more resilient joints. Without the above mentioned points any advanced movements are impossible to achieve.
The rising trot on the outside diagonal was developed in countries with the emphasis to influence the horse gymnastically in the precise time. The inside hind leg is encouraged to step more actively forward under the body. While doing so the horse has to use more strength in his hind leg to push off more strongly. Change direction frequently to develop both hind legs equally. Do not pull backwards with the hands. Bring the horse forward towards the hand (driving aids). What I have described however, is depended on an educated mouth, a phenomenon which should be sought at the beginning of training, or soon after, rather than delaying it to the end of the training.
It was Huenersdorf in the 17th century who asked, “Is not the horse’s mouth the starting point for collection and for all desired frames? And is it not true that we are never ready to properly work our horse until he begins to taste the bit?!”
Egon von Niendorf said, “The hand should be a filter, not a plug or an open faucet. When the hand, with its delegated insinuation induces relaxation of the jaw, all other muscles relax because the horse is inspired with confidence and entrusts himself to his rider.”
There are two types of flexion, not to be confused with each other. There are jaw flexions to relax the lower jaw and there are poll flexions which are principally designed to lighten the forehand to redistribute balance. This is a more complex subject for another time but suffice to say that both depend first and foremost upon a very good balanced seat. Without that we will be unable to understand what Nuno Oliveira meant when he said, “We must ride with a fixed hand and mobile fingers.”
This gradually takes us to an understanding of what he meant by a horse being on the bit, feeling the poll flex, the back rise and the haunches become more active. Only then will our horse have been made round and light and properly balanced between hand and heel, as they should be. This will only function correctly if the primary contact between thumb and index fingers fixes and emanates from the riders hips rather than from the shoulders, by maintain the elbows in a relaxed state, resting against the rider’s sides.
Now we have to deal with horses that are crooked, stiff, tense, and evasive. The rising trot plays an important role during the training of the horse. The rising trot starts with a young horse to prepare and condition his rhythm in his natural ordinary paces, especially the trot.
Most horses are one sided, concave on one side, usually the left, convex on the opposite side. The horse pushes with the hind leg on the concave side (left) stronger forward towards the right shoulder and less with the opposite hind leg. Most riders, to prevent drifting to the right for example, hang on the left rein which is the wrong idea. Instead, change the diagonal, flex and bend the horse slightly to the right, and push him forward in this manner. Sometimes the horse changes their tactic to evade the rider’s influence. As soon as the rider feels this, change the diagonal instantly. Hanging onto the rein on the concave side makes the horse more one sided. The rider has to avoid this under all circumstances.