Extending a pace is an advanced movement. It is often thought to be a basic exercise because some lengthening is required in novice tests, however correct extensions require a high degree of strength, balance and engagement and come from collection, a horse cannot extend more than it can collect. If lengthening or extended paces are asked for too early, the horse simply cannot sustain the steps and falls to the forehand with quick, short strides.
In extended trot the horse should maintain the same diagonal steps throughout the trot but reach of the steps is longer. The movement of the foreleg should appear to start in the shoulder with the hoof landing at the furthest point of the step. The hind legs should match the step of the forelegs and the horse shoulder visibly lengthen their frame, head and neck extending with the legs. The trot should not speed up but cover more ground with longer, lower strides.
The rider should follow this movement with their back and seat, hands allowing the horse to lengthen their neck as necessary. This stride can be difficult to sit with, but the rider should not brace against the horse.
Common faults are
Compare the pictures below and see which you think is best.
(The black and white picture is from Kottas on Dressage by Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg, page 15).
Diane Followell Classical Dressage Trainer
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