How forward do I push my horse for medium trot in my novice test?

Joanna Fisher
Joanna Fisher

International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares her thoughts on……

How do I know how forward to push my horse for medium trot in my novice test?

This is a very good question and purely depends on the amount of training you have given your horse at home. The medium trot in a test is designed to show lengthened strides with the horse remaining in balance, in rhythm, in a nice head carriage and without resistance. This is very difficult to achieve without practicing at home for weeks, if not months beforehand.The best way to start this is to go into rising trot and to practice riding a forward trot down the long sides of the school, collecting before the corner, then riding the short side in a working trot and continuing again on the next long side.

When first extending the stride you must expect your horse to show a little bit of excitement or resistance or loss of balance by putting his head up in the air or slightly above the vertical, do not worry when this happens and do not try to hold your horses head down! It is important that you allow them to go forward and to lengthen the stride at their own pace. Another way to practice this, is to ride in rising trot on a large 20m circle and practise extending the trot stride around the circle without pushing the horse out of balance. This also makes it easier when riding a test when coming out of the corner and across the diagonal or down the long side showing lengthened strides, as at novice level the judges are not looking for extreme extensions they are specifically looking for a lengthened stride in the trot over tracking a willingness to go forward without loss of balance, rhythm or rushing.

This is a movement like all others that requires practice and training at home without overdoing it because remember extended trot, medium trot or lengthened strides is like us humans doing a faster run – it takes fitness and strength which gradually comes over time. When you get a little more advanced at this movement you can practice it on a 20m circle with even a slight shoulder in, this will help with bend, with softness and with the horse remaining round. Remember during a test don’t rush- don’t panic, just try your best and show what your horse can do.


Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.

It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website: She also has a dressage website which can be found at


For more advice from Joanna, why not visit her other blog posts here:

Do I need a dressage saddle to do dressage


How Can I make my Pony Stop Leaning on me?


Help My Dressage Circles are oval


What Age should I teach my horse flying changes?


How to turn a leg yield into a half pass


How can I teach my horse shoulder in?


How should I prepare for a dressage test?


Should I do Sitting Trot in My Dressage Test?

Swinging Quarters Are Ruining My Dressage Halt!

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