View Full Version : Need help w/ changes

Mar. 24, 2011, 02:39 PM
I'm trying to teach my daughter's large medium to do her changes. I thought this would be simple, the pony is very balanced, supple and broke. She can walk/canter/walk, even halt/canter. Does he changes over poles and jumps often by herself. So I started with simple changes, we can do them all day, on serpentines, across diagonals. Can get changes over pole, but take away pole and she just counter canters as nice as can be, all balanced and happy. I've tried to sort of counter bend as I come across, which worked for another mare I trained, but not her. If I try to make it a bit abrupt it truly startles her and she puts her head up, don't want that at all! I've been waiting for the eureka moment, when it just clicks for her, but haven't gotten there yet.
So what next?

Mar. 24, 2011, 06:06 PM
First of all, if the pole helps her get it, make sure that you are making your aids very clear as she goes over the pole. This will help her associate the AID with the change, instead of just the pole with the change.

If her counter canter is balanced and her transitions are good, try doing canter and counter-canter on a 20m circle. So first you pick up true canter, then you walk two steps and pick up counter canter, etc etc, still on the circle. Eventually, gradually reduce the number of strides between simple changes until you whittle it down to a flying change. If you put two 20m circles next to each other you can strategically place the flying change on the way to the new circle.

Keep in mind what you want the legs to do.
You want to stick the leading pair of legs in the ground and send the new leading pair out ahead of them. For this the horse needs to be straight, the new outside rein half halting, and the new inside rein making space for the new leading legs to come through. Pulling, leaning, a big wide inside opening rein and the like are all counterproductive to freeing up the inside pair of legs.

On thing that emphasizes the straightness and lightness on the inside that a horse needs to change is coming up the quarterline in counter canter, leg yielding OUT two steps just before the shortside turn, and then doing an outside rein halfhalt with leg just before the turn. If the change is late behind try a few steps of renvers on the rail before you ask.

Just a few things to try; see what she responds best to.

At first it is ok if the head comes up.
Ride the legs first and worry about the topline later.

Mar. 24, 2011, 08:40 PM
Thank you, good advice!

Mar. 25, 2011, 08:05 PM
Did I say hauches in!!!!! and counter canter.

Difficult changes I like to counter canter to break down and build back up for the change.

Mar. 26, 2011, 02:47 AM
I agree - tons of haunches in both directions until you have complete control of her hind end. Then insinuate the changes through the hind end off of a counter canter. I never teach simple changes first, because I feel it teaches the horses an easier "out" and to cheat. I know a lot of people do though.

Mar. 26, 2011, 11:54 AM
When I take away the pole, sometimes I replace it with something smaller, but still "something"-- a longe whip with the lash neatly wrapped around it, a skinny, straight tree twig, or even just draw a line in the footing with my foot... I do this in exactly the same spot, and yes, be as clear with your aids as you can be over the pole to shift the horses thoughts to your aids, not the doodad on the ground. This is assuming the horse already has the flatwork preparation they need to be able to do the changes, and they just need to "get" it.