Its a bit odd. dd is a fairly confident rider, cantering and small jumps (and stayed on today when the riding school pony tried to buck her) but for some reason she can't spot when shes on the wrong diagonal. She knows to look for the outside leg coming back but no matter how much she stares at it she can't see it. Is there any other way for her to tell? (I'm not a rider)
I was always taught to rise with the outside leg coming forward (I assume your DD is trying to co-ordinate sitting with the outside leg coming back) Maybe it's easier to see the leg move forward than back. It will come with time and after a while tell her that it is possible to tell which diagonal you are on from feel alone and not by glancing down. It just feels 'wrong' when you are on the incorrect diagonal with experince. In the meantime encourage her to glance down and try and see each shoulder of the horse moving forward in turn at trot and to try sitting for a bump/beat to see how it changes with her rising/sitting. Observing other riders at trot and working out if they are on the correct diagonal or not is good practice too. Or, do sitting trot at the nice steady pace and not rising until she sees the pattern and attamepts to rise with the correct (outside) shoulder. Tell her not to worry, it will come with practise. A larger, slower pony or horse is sometimes easier to see the trotting stride pattern rather than the zippy little ponies with very fast legs and short strides. Hope this helps.
Thank you Bob (and PuzzleRocks!!!) Thats how she is trying to do it - sitting when the outside leg is coming back - perhaps the other way might work better. Its frustrating during dressage comps - she does beautiful movements and gets marked down cos her diagonals are random! I'll talk over what you've said with her
You're welcome oybbkitten, glad you could translate all the typos
During a comp, your dd is likely to be concentrating very hard on the next transition or whatever so it's hard to think of everything at once. Once she gets it during schooling/lessons, it will come automaticlly at comps then there will be no stopping her.
Can you put her on the lunge? That way she can concentrate on looking instead of having to steer too. When the outside shoulder comes back, that's when she needs to be sitting. In walk get her to say "back" each time it comes back towards her and then try that when trotting. Hopefully she'll then progress to being able to sit when the outside shoulder is back.
Another method: try sitting trot (once again, on the lunge - a large circle so she's not too much on a bend) not looking at the shoulder but either with her eyes shut or just looking ahead, feeling her pelvis/hip move. As the horse's shoulder goes forward, that side of her pelvis/hip will go forward and as it goes back so her pelvis/hip will go back. Once again, get her to say "back" when she feels it and the person on the ground can check if she's right.
BTW if she has difficulty spotting which canter lead she's on, you can use a similar method. Say you're cantering on the left rein, the horse strikes off into canter with his off hind, followed by the inside hind/off fore as a pair and then the inside fore which goes further forward than the off fore does in the inside hind/off fore combination. If she can't feel that her left hip is being taken further forward than her right then she can just look to see which shoulder's going further forward. Whichever it is is the lead she's on - so if the near shoulder's going furthest forward then she's on left lead, if the off shoulder is furthest forward then she's on right lead. Hope that makes sense!