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McVillesMom
Oct. 9, 2009, 02:39 PM
Anyone have any suggestions for helping me figure out canter-walk transitions? I have a 17 yo TB who has progressed amazingly in the last couple of years...he's now schooling almost all the Second Level movements successfully, except for those #%&* canter-walk transitions! I know most of the problem is me...I just can't seem to get the timing right...but he doesn't help, because he likes to fall on my inside leg at just the wrong moment. We get them right occasionally, but it's still pretty hit-or-miss and I was hoping someone would have some exercises to help me.

I should add that I do work with a great trainer (not as often as I'd like) and she seems to think I just need to figure out the timing...but I'm getting frustrated.

Thanks!

slc2
Oct. 9, 2009, 05:22 PM
Do some very energetic, active cantering with the horse in a good contact and a little gathered together but very forward, go into a very active, busy walk, and give an obvious and clear aid to canter almost immediately.

JackSprats Mom
Oct. 9, 2009, 05:38 PM
SLC don't think she's asking walk/canter but the other way around.

MVM- Good timing on this question as thats where I'm at too. My plan is to just keep asking and accept its not going to be perfect at first BUT the more I practice the better it gets.

I also do a ton of HH and transitions within the trot and W/T T/W so he's really listening to my seat as I know my tendacy is to ask with too much hand when he doesn't respond to my seat which is a downhill battle.

So all I can suggest is make sure he's really listening to your seat and then keep practing

Maybe someone else can give us a light bulb moment!!

Hampton Bay
Oct. 9, 2009, 05:45 PM
I am working on this too right now, and what I have found works best for my mare (who is a giant PITA) is to get a VERY collected canter, do a 10m circle off my outside aids to help get her sitting, and then ask right as I finish the circle. I think halt instead of walk, and I try to remember not to throw away the contact as I ask for the transition.

Doing them up a slight incline can help too.

But you have to get the canter nice and collected and strong before you're going to get a good c-w transition.

blackhorse6
Oct. 9, 2009, 05:55 PM
I am working on this too right now, and what I have found works best for my mare (who is a giant PITA) is to get a VERY collected canter, do a 10m circle off my outside aids to help get her sitting, and then ask right as I finish the circle. I think halt instead of walk, and I try to remember not to throw away the contact as I ask for the transition.

Doing them up a slight incline can help too.

But you have to get the canter nice and collected and strong before you're going to get a good c-w transition.

This was how I was taught to teach them as well and it really works!:yes: As you are coming to the wall, ask with half halts and then sit..

slc2
Oct. 9, 2009, 05:57 PM
actually, jacksprat's mom, i think of riding the forward transition after to get a better downward transition.

KrazyTBMare
Oct. 9, 2009, 06:05 PM
I am working on this too right now, and what I have found works best for my mare (who is a giant PITA) is to get a VERY collected canter, do a 10m circle off my outside aids to help get her sitting, and then ask right as I finish the circle. I think halt instead of walk, and I try to remember not to throw away the contact as I ask for the transition.

Doing them up a slight incline can help too.

But you have to get the canter nice and collected and strong before you're going to get a good c-w transition.



Ditto. This is what works for my mare as well. Do a 10-12m canter circle and right at the end of the circle, really SIT down and "halt" but really walk. It comes with lots of practice and strength.

goeslikestink
Oct. 9, 2009, 06:10 PM
This was how I was taught to teach them as well and it really works!:yes: As you are coming to the wall, ask with half halts and then sit..

good post op look here if you dont know how to do the half halt stride as i explain it in my helpful links pages
treat the half halt stride as your mate like the trot is
half halt stride collects the pace and visa versa it informs the horse something is going to change so use the half halt in all your transition but to teach it to the horse do it in walk use it in all walk paces then all trot paces going up and down gears then introduce canter and counter canter then you can work the horse in canter to walk and walk to canter
lengthen and shortening the strides using the half halt stride - use the full lenght and width of a school to help you help your horse

read al of page one and all links on page one http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=178116

joiedevie99
Oct. 9, 2009, 06:15 PM
The point of the canter-walk transitions is to show you are developing collection- and it really does take a good amount of collection to do it well. Practice getting if off of your seat and weight into heels- not from your hands. We do lots of transitions from working canter to collected canter to pirouette canter and back out to working or medium. Don't stay in pirouette canter long, and make sure you go forward out of it at least as often as you use it set up a halt/walk transition because you don't want the horse to anticipate and not keep his hind legs active. From a good active pirouette canter, you should just think half halt and exhale and your walk should be right there.

JackSprats Mom
Oct. 9, 2009, 06:18 PM
Really SLC ?
go into a very active, busy walk, and give an obvious and clear aid to canter almost immediately. Then why this?

McVillesMom
Oct. 9, 2009, 06:35 PM
Sigh. Thanks everyone. I guess I just have to do it until I figure it out. :yes: I think my horse is due for a Legend/Adequan dose as well, that may help.

slc2
Oct. 9, 2009, 06:55 PM
jsm, i get a better downward transition when i immediately go forward in canter after because the horse anticipates the strong forward transition as he is doing the downward transition and rocks back and sits on his hind leg strongly, it's like a training kind of thing.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Oct. 9, 2009, 07:00 PM
I've been playing with this with several horses lately, and finding, depending a bit on the horse and a bit on the phase of the moon several things have helped; really getting them in a good collected canter, maybe even prouette canter, beforehand, remembering to keep my calf at least resting on their side, keeping my seatbones fairly light, getting them really llistening to half halts via trot halt and transitions within the gaits.

Doing some fairly high angle haunches in and half pass before the transition work seems to help, too. Not sure yet if it is the stretching aspect. or the stepping under, or subtle communication via the outside rein, but actually had a breakthrough last night with one horse after some lateral work...

In short, of course, get a perfect canter and it will be a piece of cake. ;) Good luck!

CatOnLap
Oct. 9, 2009, 07:11 PM
The following exercises were prescribed for developing the canter/walk transition:
1) spiral in, on the 20 m to 10 m circle in canter.
2) haunches in on the spiral in, shoulder in on the spiral out, in canter on a 20 m circle
3) after that is developed, spiral in from the 20 m to as small a diameter of circle as possible and develop the walk transition from the automatic collection that comes from the inward spiral and small circle. concnetrate on keeping the forehand elevated and jumping and coming down to walk with the hind legs well under.
4) as you come off the open side of a 20 m circle, and approach the wall, ask for the transition down.

angel
Oct. 9, 2009, 07:39 PM
The key to the canter/walk transition is pretty much the position and weighting of your outside stirrup. You need to ground the horse's outside fore to begin the walk. When you ground a leg, you are applying momentarily a greater weighting of the stirrup to that leg. When we ride the canter, our weight is in the outside stirrup, but the position of the leg is behind the girth. To begin the transition to the walk, you need your weighted stirrup to move forward to a position that is at the girth to slightly ahead of the girth, depending on your direction. You will find it easier to stop the right lead canter into the walk than it will be to stop the left lead canter into the walk.

The weight you feel in the stirrup, and the degree you must take it forward will depend on by how much your horse is crooked. This will depend equally on your own crookedness. Let's take a horse that is just beginning Second Level, which I believe you said yours was. Let's also assume that the horse is hollow to the right, and so are you. The test generally begins the simple change from the left lead, and remember...this is the more difficult one from which to do the down transition. The horse is actually traveling with its right shoulder down and back by too great a degree. You need to get that outside, right shoulder slightly more forward and up. So you half-halt through your inside rein during the canter stride right before the stride from which you will do the transition. This bends the horse a bit more...you do not want much, just a little. You begin the next canter stride with that little more bend, and now move your outside leg forward to ask for walk. Remember to begin walking with your body...one, two, three walk steps. Back now into canter on the fourth count, for the right lead canter of your simple change.

If you begin your simple change from the right lead, you will almost drop the horse into walk as soon as you move your outside leg forward...provided that you half-halted on your left rein (which is now the outside rein) prior to the step which asks for the transition. As you do these exercises, you must always be taking into consideration the horse's straightness. Does the motion need more lateral bend because the horse is not bending enough, or does the horse need less lateral bend because the horse is bending too much. Half-halt according. Do not just use the outside rein by rote.

JMurray
Oct. 9, 2009, 08:17 PM
I don't know how to really explain this, it is what a BNT told me once at a clinic. It is something I have learned to feel rather then verbalize, but as I ask for the canter to walk transition, as part of the half halt, I exhale deeply into my diaphram and the walk comes nice and lightly, Cody steps into the walk, I can feel his transition down.

Does that make sense to anyone else. The result is a nice transition.

TheHorseProblem
Oct. 9, 2009, 11:29 PM
I only practiced this a short time before the 4th level horse I was riding retired, but Jane Savoie at the USDF clinic last year had a great mental image of slowing the canter down to the same speed as the walk before the transition. So it's like

canter,
canter,
canter,
miles-per-hour walk,
waaaalk.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Oct. 10, 2009, 01:04 AM
Here's what I do, that's a disclaimer: When you canter, sit up nice and tall (but not tense), suck his back up with your core and half halt when the ears come back to you. You should feel his balance shift backwards, his front come up, and he should feel "slower". Keep sucking (:winkgrin:) him up with your core and half halting till he is nice and under him, and than just pull a little harder when his ears come back and let your weight sink into his back. There is nothing wrong with using voice commands while practicing either.

yaya
Oct. 10, 2009, 08:48 AM
I think of doing the downward transition as his hind legs land and his front is still up in the air.

I think of "land the plane" (wheels first, then nose) - hind legs, then front.

So as he's landing the canter stride, he just lands into a walk.

Too many people ask when the front end is down, and they just crash onto the forehand, and usually stop instead of walk. (That's because the hind legs are already going up into the air for the next canter stride)

SillyHorse
Oct. 10, 2009, 08:53 AM
Another reason for a "crash" is taking your leg off. You neeed to keep your leg on to say to your horse," We're staying active here."

nhwr
Oct. 10, 2009, 01:20 PM
The one thing I think a rider really needs for a canter walk transitions, assuming the horse is fit and the rider is using the right aids, is strong upper abdominal muscles, particularly the obliques. There is a tendency for the rider to be thrown a bit forward in the downward transitions. If you can't resist that tendency, you force your horse on its forehand. You may have control of your seat but you have to maintain your alignment all the way up through the crown of your head for good transitions.

myvanya
Oct. 10, 2009, 02:33 PM
YAYA- thanks for your post. I am working on canter walk with my horse too and ironically was always getting canter halt instead. Since my dressage lessons are few and far between I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong on my own but figured to some extent it was just a matter of time...now I will imagine landing a plane and see if that helps. Thanks!

narcisco
Oct. 10, 2009, 04:30 PM
Work a lot of forward and back in the canter. A canter/walk transition won't work unless the horse accepts a clear half halt in the canter.

I also do this on the spiral, after spiraling in to the 10 m. Then, as your hips rock forward and his shoulders come up, collect, collect. On the third collect, walk.

If the horse is falling in during or after the downward transition, tackle this in other downwards. Do trot/walk and leg yield out as you're coming to walk. The canter/trot, with the leg yield as you're coming to trot.

Finally, put two and two together. Also, if you're getting any trot steps, try a canter/halt transition or two.

mbp
Oct. 10, 2009, 06:32 PM
It's kind of hard without knowing what your biggest problem is (does the horse just not transition down, do you get trot steps, does he pretty much die under and fall out to a halt/collapse, etc.)

In essence, you want to transition jumping, pushing hind legs, especially the outside initiating hind leg, to a more swinging (still pushing) hind leg. What will often work, but has to be tweaked for which problems you are having, is as the withers lift, keeping control of your upper body, upper abs (as per nhwr) step some weight into your outside stirrup breathing in, keeping the weight in the stirrup as the withers lower and you breath out as the inside fore lands (keeping control of your upper body) and "square" your hips and the weight in you sitz bones and your stirrups (meaning to add some weight in your inside stirrup without losing the outside, to match them)

This basically helps ground the jump in the hind and the weight in the outside stirrup as you control your upper body through the "down" part of the canter stride has been preparing that outside hind to be "grounded" and you then add a prep to ground the inside hind as that outside hind would be initiating the next canter step and do that without letting up on the "grounding" signal you sent when you stepped into the outside stirrup - that should get you your downward transition if you were connected at that canter before you asked (lots of good exercises are given in the threat to help insure your pre-transition connections). As you get your transition, you can lighten both stirrups and let your momentarily squared hips have controlled relaxation to be able to swing with the walk and prevent the sticky point you might otherwise get. But don't forget those upper ads and keeping connection with both your sitz bones as the up transition is right around the corner

blackhorsegirl
Oct. 11, 2009, 08:12 PM
You've already said you have done 2nd level work. Canter/walk transitions are done from a collected canter. Make sure you're really in collection and he's on his rear. Prepare, prepare, prepare, sit back, half halt, and think walk. My horse can do these but sometimes I really miss the mark. When I analyze what I did, I realize that I didn't prepare for the transition. My horse is not a mind reader. If I do my part correctly, so does he.

HollysHobbies
Oct. 12, 2009, 09:21 AM
I'm training the SAME thing right now with my OTTB! He tends to fall on the forehand through his downward and "run."

I practice movements in THE SAME PLACE (on a circle, for example)...that may help some...horses then anticipate what they are supposed to do.

I also give my guy "processing time"--if he does it right, I give him 10 steps on a long rein with praise. I'm careful not to DRILL too much though.

I do my transitions from a collected canter to walk (practice collection to working to lengthen canter from your seat BEFORE you ask for canter walk so he's listening to your seat)

I also have been practicing in a field on an "uphill"--that helps balance him correctly for the transition...it's also where I developed a good canter (transitioned from a flat, running, on the forehand, 4 beat one I had this Spring) :winkgrin:

My trainer likes me to do my canter downwards, then do a volte (which forces my guy to rebalance HIMSELF)

Hope this helps!! Good luck! I'm right there with you!

McVillesMom
Oct. 12, 2009, 10:04 PM
Thanks everyone! Sounds like it's a pretty common difficulty. I am getting trot steps, and he also likes to fall on his forehand and run...doing the same thing in the same place helps him too, so I will try that more. Unfortunately sometimes that means he locks his jaw and sticks his head up in the air. :no: It sounds like it's really just a matter of practicing them to get the timing right. We're on a bit of a hiatus right now, because he's recovering from a mild case of Potomac :eek: but he's doing really well with that and hopefully we won't have TOO much time off.

angel
Oct. 13, 2009, 06:26 AM
A horse that locks his jaw and sticks his head up in the air by this point in the training is not correctly reaching into the bit. He is being held to the bit, and probably also with too short a rein. It is also possible that the bit is not correct for him. Said another way, this horse is not collecting...not lifting his wither area and not getting his hindquarters tucked under. Unless you fix the lack of connection, you are going to have many, many problems as you try to continue...way more than just the simple change.

Valentina_32926
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:03 AM
Timing wise I ask as soon as I start upwards in the "air" time then squeeze both reins and push straight down with both stirrups (do not allow legs to come forward as they need to remain on sides of horse to keep horse on the bit).

To perform the transition correctly horse has to have butt underneath itself, otherwise they trot.

Hilary
Oct. 13, 2009, 11:09 AM
Although we're not at 2nd level yet I work on these anyway so the other day I tried all these versions. It was really interesting to see which methods helped and which were not as useful for my horse.

The one that worked most consistently was "ask when the ears come back". Weighting my outside stirrup forward did nothing. The smaller circles helped, but it was timing the "ask" apparently that I was having trouble with and using the ears back as my cue was what worked.

It's always interesting to read suggestions here then go try them to see what works best.

McVillesMom
Oct. 13, 2009, 06:40 PM
A horse that locks his jaw and sticks his head up in the air by this point in the training is not correctly reaching into the bit. He is being held to the bit, and probably also with too short a rein. It is also possible that the bit is not correct for him. Said another way, this horse is not collecting...not lifting his wither area and not getting his hindquarters tucked under. Unless you fix the lack of connection, you are going to have many, many problems as you try to continue...way more than just the simple change.

OK, I have to address this...this is the ONLY time he does this. I work on a semi-regular basis with a Grand Prix dressage trainer, who is VERY much concerned with correctness. He DOES reach into the bit, and as a matter of fact my trainer is always after me to SHORTEN my reins. The problem in the canter-walk transition is that he likes to throw his hindquarters in, and I can fix that the rest of the time, but I haven't figured out the proper timing of my aids in the transition to keep him from doing this.

So I may have a lack of connection, but ONLY in the transition, NOT all the time.

JackSprats Mom
Oct. 13, 2009, 07:23 PM
So I may have a lack of connection, but ONLY in the transition, NOT all the time.

Like I try to remind myself as RD said we're not curing cancer, things do get rough sometimes while we're trying new things. I think its rediculous for poeple to say that it should be perfect and soft the first few times.

I am working on this with my boy and as with most things that we try that are new the first few times aren't that great. Occassionaly he'll resist or get crooked or who knows what, thats what practice is about. The more we practice the better it gets.

LOL I want to see all these poeple that post that you're messing up as the horse is showing tension when you try something new post videos of themselves trying something for the first time and getting it perfect;)

Hang in there, keep practicing and try some of the great suggestions here:yes:

nhwr
Oct. 13, 2009, 07:43 PM
The problem in the canter-walk transition is that he likes to throw his hindquarters in, and I can fix that the rest of the time, but I haven't figured out the proper timing of my aids in the transition to keep him from doing this.Given this, your issue sounds like straightness and strength.

Fix that and your transitions should improve.

Hampton Bay
Oct. 13, 2009, 08:36 PM
Given this, your issue sounds like straightness and strength.

Fix that and your transitions should improve.

I have had this issue in the collected canter, and working in a shoulder-fore in the canter helps A TON. If the haunches are not straight, don't try to fix the haunches. Think about asking for a shoulder-fore instead.

What also helped me was to put the mare on a joint supplement. GrandHA has made a night and day difference for her. I didn't really expect it to help much, but it's made her canter work on the difficult side SO much easier.

Just a couple thoughts :)

angel
Oct. 14, 2009, 09:44 AM
Hillary....the timing of your weighting is off. It needs to be as the inside fore is grounded.

rodawn
Oct. 14, 2009, 01:20 PM
McVille - - Follow Jane Savoie's tip which was posted by someone on here. In essence,

canter
canter
canter-in-miles-walking
waaaalk

In essence, this is work on the half-halt.

You stated you are getting a few trot steps. This is FINE. This is literally the beginning of it. You need to settle your frustration because you'll upset your horse. Relax, be patient. Work on the half-halts in the canter and slowing the canter, but upping the impulsion and get him sitting under you. Don't attempt the transition until he is working under you, and then half-halt, half-halt, half-halt and half-halt your way into the walk. If you get 3 strides of trot, that's okay. Soon it will be two strides, then one stride, and then suddenly, right into a walk. It's a progression. Practice and give him time to figure it out. You can't just expect him to suddenly get it the first try. Sometimes, it takes 10 tries. Sometimes it takes 4 weeks. You have to give your horse time to try and make mistakes. When he slows his canter down while tucking his bum underneath his belly, it means he is THINKING. This is good. Encourage him, verbally, so he knows he is on the right track and he'll continue to try.

Most importantly in second level you want your horse to become A TRYER. Never allow a horse to get discouraged at any time between training and third level. This is where a lot of horses fall apart because they get discouraged and the rider doesn't provide enough emotional/mental support to their equine partner. You the rider must put much more effort into keeping your horses feeling encouraged, like they're accomplishing something and being successful. When a horse feels unsuccessful or discouraged too many times in a row, they get stuck and begin to stop trying. The first three levels are the hardest for the horse mentally and physically because it's all foundational. Once you set the proper foundation, then the hard work of fourth and higher doesn't maybe seem quite as physically demanding to the horse, because you've both set your mindsets in each other and developed some real team-mate mentality.

Most important, get rid of that frustration. It makes you tense, which makes your horse tense and then he cannot possibly be swinging through from behind enough to listen to those half-halts.

People too much frustration and too high of expectations for your horses. Just like you didn't learn to walk in 2 days, doesn't mean your horse learns a new transition in 2 days.

Even when I'm teaching a horse piaffe, I ask for piaffe for 5 steps, then walk and a pat. Then piaffe again for 4 to 5 steps, then a walk and a pat. I NEVER allow a horse to think he is failing. EVER. Canter to walk is the beginning of the higher elements. Get this right and set the stage right and dressage will be your world.

Hilary
Oct. 14, 2009, 02:12 PM
Hillary....the timing of your weighting is off. It needs to be as the inside fore is grounded.

And that would be one drawback to 'bulletin board as riding coach"! Because I misread or mis-remembered and was weighting when the OUTSIDE fore was down.

Will try again!

McVillesMom
Oct. 14, 2009, 05:08 PM
Rodawn,

Thank you for a most encouraging post. :) I know he's confused and he's really trying to figure out what I'm asking for. It will come eventually, we are getting them correctly from time to time. Right now I am just thankful he is healthy and I'm looking forward to being able to get back on him next week. I will keep all of this in mind the next time I start to get frustrated with myself.

Valentina_32926
Oct. 15, 2009, 03:03 PM
To prevent head up/hollow back during transition start by asking him to put his head lower (i.e. use his back) right before you ask for the walk. The keeping horse flexed to inside (so you see the corner of his eye) and pushing him into the bit with your seat as for the downward transition. He'll probably fuss at first since this is harder than doing it his way:cool:...but be persistent.

The inside flexion (SF) also helps keep horse on it's butt so horse can step into walk, not fall into walk or stab ground into walk.

Char
Oct. 15, 2009, 03:59 PM
1. Get a nice, collected canter.
2. When the inside foreleg is weighted:

SIT DEEP

Put your legs on him lightly to keep him straight and maintain impulsion (drive him to the bit)

Keep the contact on your inside rein and bring back the OUTSIDE rein towards your hip.

Keep your weight BACK, and keep yourself relaxed through the back and seat

He should sort of "melt" into the walk. That's how I do it, anyways. :D Of course, as always, practice makes perfect!

Good luck!