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Riding transitions into contact

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  • Riding transitions into contact

    I am struggling with transitions right now, particularly upward transitions. I think this is in part because I'm still working on myself, but also because I've stopped accepting crappy transitions in general. We have very solid, steady working gaits and are currently showing at first level, schooling some second. However, as my goal is to progress to actually showing second by the end of the year, I have got to really improve our transitions. We are working with an excellent instructor but the cold weather and frozen ground have made it difficult to fit in regular lessons lately.

    Our upward transition into the canter and downward transitions across the board tend to be a little better than our transition from the walk to sitting trot. When I ride this transition, I try to run through a mental checklist in terms of whether I'm tensing, have too much OR too little rein contact, etc. I try to be soft through my elbows and seat while still maintaining a consistent, steady contact, but I am having a god-awful time with my horse tensing through the neck during this transition.

    I have a very steady feel on her mouth during this time but would swear in court that I'm NOT pulling. I am using my seat and leg aids but it has been very difficult to get this transition smoothly for some reason.

    Her teeth have been done/saddle fitted, etc. She is older but very sound. We have very solid, steady gaits and once we work through the transition, we are typically very steady, although last night I will say once we achieved it, she did not feel in front of my leg at all.

    This is a horse that I've worked hard to learn how to ride and improve my riding on. She is typically quite forward so I am looking for any advice on what I could be doing with my body that is inhibiting this. I feel like once we get past this stumbling block, we'll be set.

    I am a very conscientious, type-A person when it comes to perfecting what I'm working on, which can be a fault. Currently I typically ask for this transition on a circle, after a little shoulder-in. The frustrating thing is she can go from feeling extremely pliable and soft at the walk to immediately tensing her neck upward during the transition. I can move her shoulders, yield her body, put her in shoulder-in, etc. all before attempting this transition but the result seems to be the same.

    Any advice? Good visuals I can use? Any alternative exercises apart from asking on the circle or out of a corner? She is a smart mare and picks up things very quickly, so I do not drill the same thing over and over, but I also hate to give up without at least getting a few good steps. I am the first to praise and end the ride early if I need to after getting something I've been working on, but if I can't get it, well - how to work through it?

    For what it's worth - I feel like this is all ME. The mare deserves much credit for tolerating my learning curve!
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    A Voice Halted

  • #2
    one shouldnt learn to change on a circle your far better learning to ride going straight using the full width and lenght of an areana as it very hard for new riders to think they are balanced when in truth they are not for exsample if you drop your schoulder on a circle the horse falls in and is either you fall off or your on the forehand so horse is disunited so you cant get the rythem or harmony of the horse in oorder to change gears so you end up bobbing about on there backs and missing a beat in trot canter is a sit in wlak is a sit i so easy to get but trotting be it rising or sitting is alot harder so what to do

    look here -

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=178116

    1st get your stirrups to the correct lenght this will help you with your balance and position and hands which is important if your not sitting right and central to the horse again you will find it hard to be in time with his movements

    position position position

    then find a trianer to help you work with your horse working with out stirrups this will help you find your balance and use your seat independant of hands and legs

    agin look to bottom of link and you will see other triaing methods all are which have been added via other coth members

    and then learn about timing think music 4 beats to a tune 1 2 3 4
    walk is four feet and same 1 2 3 4
    trot is 2 time 1 2 1 2 canter is three time 1 2 3
    it helps if you have that in your mind
    then when learning to trot go striaght easier for you as the horse is older she wise and doesnt challenge your mistakes thats your making you think you doing it correctly but the horse is more knoweldgeable than you are good horse you have there mate so learn well on her

    she will teach you heaps - now when asking for trot most horses lead off on the left leg- so think up on 1 and down on 2
    so its up down up down or 1 2 1 2

    sitting trot think you have a tube of toothpaste and your holding between your arse and the saddle - at no time must you drop that so sit into the horse and go with the movement 1 2 or think right leg left leg or right left or left right - think when you run left right left right so sit into that moveement when rising same thing got your tube of toothpaste so its a rise then sit small movement upwards so small gap between your arse and the saddle so its a sit and squirt not a rise up with huge dirty great big gap flop down backinto saddle and blast away who evers behind you
    its a small movement upwards up on 1 down on 2 so upp down
    Last edited by goeslikestink; Jan. 5, 2011, 12:57 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would have sworn in court I wasn't throwing away contact in downwards, but I was, so I think if your reactions you get from her tell you that you're holding too much... you probably are.

      Can you try from a counter bend if s/i isn't working for you? s/i was going to be my suggestion until you said it wasn't working!
      Originally posted by Silverbridge
      If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        It's such a tough balance!

        Her reaction definitely implies that she feels restricted...but it's frustrating because I don't have a death grip on the reins and am certainly not trying to "hold her." It's very tough for me right now to try to find that delicate balance between asking her to work up into the contact during the transition and being mindful of being neither TOO soft in the reins or being unintentionally restrictive.

        Tonight I'll try to soften more prior to asking...perhaps maybe a little bit more than I think I should...and maybe the balance will lie somewhere in the middle.

        I meant to add - I don't continuouslly work on a circle. I am just asking for the transitions typically off a circle to help her step under herself and maintain the bend. We do a lot of figures and changes of direction to use the entire ring.
        Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

        A Voice Halted

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by netg View Post
          I would have sworn in court I wasn't throwing away contact in downwards, but I was, so I think if your reactions you get from her tell you that you're holding too much... you probably are.

          Can you try from a counter bend if s/i isn't working for you? s/i was going to be my suggestion until you said it wasn't working!
          mate one cant ask for a si if one cant do a simple and basic movement of trot sitting or rising so if they have got the lateral of pat then sure as arenot going to get a more advanced movement of a schoulder in

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I disagree with you here. Maybe I'm not being clear.

            It doesn't have anything to do with whether or not we can do a "simple, basic" movement. I think riding a *correct* transition is a skill that takes practice. I can do trot transitions all day long. But, if I want a 7 or 8 on my transition instead of a 5 or 6, well, that takes some finessing right now.

            We can certainly ride a correct shoulder in at the walk and get some shoulder fore at the trot. That's exactly why I'm showing one level and schooling another.
            Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

            A Voice Halted

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GreyStreet View Post
              I disagree with you here. Maybe I'm not being clear.

              It doesn't have anything to do with whether or not we can do a "simple, basic" movement. I think riding a *correct* transition is a skill that takes practice. I can do trot transitions all day long. But, if I want a 7 or 8 on my transition instead of a 5 or 6, well, that takes some finessing right now.

              We can certainly ride a correct shoulder in at the walk and get some shoulder fore at the trot. That's exactly why I'm showing one level and schooling another.

              baiscally you can do wtc but not ride the horse no offence its my way of saying people can do the wtc but not ride the horse with the other bits
              as in the finer movements to give you better odds when competing or to give your horse a better education so he can go and do anything or finer points to improve the rider
              you have problems with balance and want perfection but it starts with you



              then learn how to do the half halt stride in between each transition again explained on page one
              basic movement a hh informs the horse somethin going to change via direct signal of command ooh and it can be used from a collect pace to faster pace and visa versa is a basic dressage movement used right across the board in all displines and is your freind of a apce the same as trot is

              Comment


              • #8
                Pay attention to the lateral plane, not just the longitudinal. You are describing a horse who is coming against your hand, chances are you are thinking so much about your hand/her front end that you are not noticing you are losing bend in the transition.

                The upward transition is layered on top of your other aids it does not happen in exclusion.
                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                ---
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think the key to a good contact is that if you release the horse should follow the contact. This is true or maintaining a contact through a transition. For the contact to be correct, you should be able to lengthen the horses neck through the transition, be it up or down. If you cannot, you are holding the horse into the contact, and not developing permeability or connection.

                  Can you lengthen your horses neck at any time, will your horse stretch to the bridle while maintaining a shoulder in? Can you slow down without shortening the horses neck? If the transition is not coming well, you need to work on the building blocks before the transition. Practice simple changes of rhythm within the same gait, without shortening or lengthening the horses neck. Practice shortening or lengthening the horses carriage without changing speed. Once your horse has practiced this transition within the gait, making a transition from gait to gait is a simple step.

                  Good luck.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Yes...I want perfection...and yes, it starts with me.

                    Why would I ask if I wasn't trying to improve?

                    EqTrainer, I think that's a good point.

                    I also think part of the issue is that I know these things theoretically but my body just hasn't caught up to getting everything coordinated yet.

                    I am a really avid learner and I WANT to get better and to improve...it's just frustrating being in the "in between" stage of knowing it and wanting it but not being all there yet.

                    I guess that's part of the journey though!
                    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

                    A Voice Halted

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Chisamba, you also make a really good point. We have been spending more time focusing on changing tempo and stride within the gaits, as well. She will and can stretch but it's not completely consistent yet, and she does have a tendency to want to curl at times if I'm not careful. I have really been trying to focus on my leg and seat and getting her really in front of my leg while trying to stay soft but active through my upper body.

                      I am not satisfied with w/t/c anymore...I want to continue improving in the regular gaits and also in the lateral movements, and that means not settling for sub par transitions - even though it's MY fault!
                      Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

                      A Voice Halted

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        How is your transition from walk to rising trot? If it is better, you may be inadvertantly tensing your seat in the transition to sitting trot, thus blocking your mare from coming through and resulting in a stiff neck. Her feeling behind your leg after you had been working on that transition may also indicate that you are sitting somewhat "against" her as she tries to push into trot, because she may be compensating by reducing her push. How are you using your seat as an aid? Your seat needs to allow her to push into trot.

                        In your post you said that you ask for the transition *after* SI on the circle. As an exercise, I like doing shoulder-fore on the circle and asking for the transition while maintaining SF, which can minimize attempts to brace on the reins.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks, Flying Hill. Good points. Our transition from walk to posting trot is quite decent. So, I think I really need to consider whether I'm tensing my seat and blocking her...I'm going to play around with this tonight.

                          Wish I could get my body to cooperate with my mind!
                          Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

                          A Voice Halted

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Good transitions are indeed something to always work on. I think working on bending lines is a good idea. Instead of working on the walk/sitting trot transition, work on transitions within the trot -- forward and back to an almost walk, but not quite. Play with it more than trying to perfect that transition. The more I overthink transitions, the worse they get, I try to feel them more and do a zillion. Just a few strides each forward and back, throw in a little canter for a few strides. If you're really disciplined about doing just a few steps and then riding a transition either within the gait or changing gaits, stay on a bending line, stay soft and push your horse forward (i.e. don't back off when you meet a little resistance), you should see improvement within a ride.
                            "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Lighten your seat just a little in the up transition from walk to sitting trot- try to think a little "Piaffe" or trot in place. Sometimes when we ask for the transition we shove our seat at the horse, tends to drop the back and bring up the head. (think up and forward into the trot, one trot step on the spot, one up, then forward, and I do not mean JIGGING- just thinking this pattern)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by mickeydoodle View Post
                                Lighten your seat just a little in the up transition from walk to sitting trot- try to think a little "Piaffe" or trot in place. Sometimes when we ask for the transition we shove our seat at the horse, tends to drop the back and bring up the head. (think up and forward into the trot, one trot step on the spot, one up, then forward, and I do not mean JIGGING- just thinking this pattern)
                                This.

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