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Free walk transition jigging

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  • Free walk transition jigging

    For our eventing novice dressage test there is a free walk on long rein across the diagonal. As I begin to pick up the reins and collect him up, my horse anticipates the next move, an up transition to trot and "jigs" It is my fault for practicing the entire test too many times, and although I haven't done that for over a year, he still remembers it. I practice just doing the walk over and over without the trot transition but he still does it. I sit up, do the "thigh squeeze" try to lighten my seat etc. Any other ideas to keep that transition free free walk to a more collected walk jig-free?

  • #2
    Instead of lightening your seat, try sitting deeper and "lightening" the movement of your seat. Practice this during your walk while you warm up, cool down, and other times and places in the arena, not just when you practice a test.
    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


    • #3
      Why lighten your seat?

      I would suspect that your best recourse is to clearly enforce your desire to maintain the current rhythm by maintaining the rhythm with your seat rather than changing the aid.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
        Why lighten your seat?

        I would suspect that your best recourse is to clearly enforce your desire to maintain the current rhythm by maintaining the rhythm with your seat rather than changing the aid.
        Well, honestly, because I was trying anything different! My tendency is to have a bit of a driving seat and he is a thorobred, sensitive type. Appreciate the input.


        • #5
          I had a similar problem and adding more leg worked for me. I could keep a light connection through the free walk but when I started to shorten my reins she would invert slightly or jig. Now I think of really pressing my new inside leg into my outside hand and "compressing" her into the shorter frame. I think that I anticipated her reaction so adding leg really helps keep her pushing from behind and into my hands so that I can give an effective half halt to prevent her from jigging.
          I think it also helps to work on letting her out 3-4 inches and then taking it back up over and over. Of course every horse is different, but mine anticipated that shortening the reins meant an upward transition so this helped break that cycle.


          • #6
            The reason the horse tenses is not anticipation, it is likely a bit acceptance issues. A couple of questions: is your free walk with a following hand (even on loose reins) or is it wide low hands? Then when the rider takes up the reins the horse tenses/hollows. Rather follow more with less loose reins allowing maximum stretch. Then take the reins up as you come to the letter/bend. Meanwhile practice letting the horse chew fdo is a small amount, and taking it back again and again. Or, if you know how do a lot of combing the reins on a curved line. It is a matter of comfort. Do not add leg as you take the reins up. And the jig response has nothing to do with practicing the test.
            I.D.E.A. yoda


            • #7
              Driving seat is not what you want in the transition - you want the horse to shorten its stride (not dramatically, but shorter then the freewalk) before you shorten the contact. Try FW on a short diagonal, then at the end (as you come to the long side) sitting up, shortening the swing of your hips, pet the horse's neck, take some contact, take a few regular walk steps with contact, then V to the next short diagonal, and go back to FW. This can help encourage relaxation and a more correct transition.


              • #8
                Don't forget the medium walk! That's your next gait after the free walk -- not the trot. If you're thinking free walk-trot, could it be that your horse is reading your mind? I often find that horses who are accused of anticipating are often ridden by riders who anticipate and tense up in the process. Especially riders who are expecting their horses to anticipate, who then anticipate the anticipation!

                Aside from that mental exercise, try to shift your horse's balance laterally as you go to medium walk before picking up the reins rather than think about the fact that you need to pick up your reins so you're ready to trot. Just pick up your reins a second after your horse has gone into medium walk. Think haunches out; think shoulder fore.

                You don't mention if you do the free walk on contact or not. Lack of contact could be making the situation worse, either because your horse thinks it's a "cue" when you pick up contact or because your hands aren't smooth enough in the transition. Play with that, too. And practice shortening your reins without changing the feel of your horse's mouth.

                When you're schooling, practice your transitions from your leg and seat without reins and that will help disengage your horse's mind from believing that picking up your reins means going into a higher gait.
                The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry


                • #9
                  Ever hear of a half-halt ?
                  ... _. ._ .._. .._


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by riderboy View Post
                    Well, honestly, because I was trying anything different! My tendency is to have a bit of a driving seat and he is a thorobred, sensitive type. Appreciate the input.
                    This! Been there. Done that. Have written the manual with my sensitive jiggy horse. It has taken me years, possibly 6 trainers to help me unjig the walk. Like you said, it does come from a tendency to drive. You are actually driving him out of balance. As you go into the free walk, just allow him to walk and just follow him with your seat...don't let him rush out of balance, possibly keep him a little in the outside rein lightly bending him around your inside leg. As you cross the diagonal, head about 1 horse length before the letter and start thinking about bringing your toes up in the stirrup (this sort of lightens your seat). Think about shortening his strides and bringing him back to you as you collect your reins. Think about slightly counter flexing him to the outside as you gather your reins, outside rein first.

                    Keep at it. It can be fixed. Just yesterday, my trainer said "this horse has a great walk". I just laughed at the irony of it all.
                    "I'm holding out for the $100,000 Crossrail Classic in 2012." --mem
                    "With all due respect.. may I suggest you take up Croquet?" --belambi
                    Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club!


                    • #11
                      If it were me I would be doing lots of free walk, to medium walk and then halt transitions to get the horse thinking about what the rider is asking not what they think is coming next. Do what the horse is NOT expecting to get his attention.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                        If it were me I would be doing lots of free walk, to medium walk and then halt transitions to get the horse thinking about what the rider is asking not what they think is coming next. Do what the horse is NOT expecting to get his attention.

                        I work on this exact thing every. single. ride. Even if it's just for a few minutes at the end, I always work a bit on asking my mare to free walk, then picking her up to medium walk. Sometimes we trot after that...sometimes we halt...sometimes we back...sometimes we go back to free walk...sometimes we turn...sometimes we stay straight. Mix it up.

                        Also, it helps my mare if I pick up the inside rein first and establish a hint o' flexion as I bring her out of free walk and back into medium walk. Then, I simultaneously half-halt with my lower back (bearing down through the muscles) as I'm picking up the outside rein. And...keep in mind, you don't have to shorten your reins ALL the way in one fell swoop...you can pick them up, then shorten them to where you need them for the medium walk...take your time.


                        • #13
                          I follow Shawnee's advice in both warmup and cooldown most rides.

                          We start on a loose rein getting "move off the leg" established, throw in some loose and slopped leg yields on the buckle, then gradually shorten up and each time he starts getting tight go back to a loose rein and start over.

                          Every time he starts getting sluggish, we do transitions outside of the gait to get him responding to and in front of my leg.
                          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.


                          • #14
                            Ahhhhh... the most dangerous transition in any dressage test (especially on a TB)! Honestly, it has been one of my biggest issues on four separate horses, so I know that I am definitely causing the problem, or at least exacerbating it!

                            I can only speak to what I did wrong and say: pay attention to what you do on a daily basis and how you transition from long rein to working/medium walk during regular rides and lessons.

                            I realized that during my regular at-home rides, I was not clearly transitioning from free to working/medium walk, before starting other work (particularly coming back from a break on long rein). I was unintentionally telling my horse(s) that that working/medium walk wasn't important and they could just skip over that part. I was a huge offender in group jumping lessons, where we would stand while others were jumping. I was often still gathering reins as I was transitioning upwards to trot or canter.

                            Even in dressage lessons/rides, I caught myself going from a free walk situation (usually giving my horse a breather) straight up to trot, pretty much fluffing past the actual working/medium walk. Now, I am REALLY cognizant of taking all of the steps coming out of any free walk/long rein situation and making sure that I have a real working/medium walk, prior to moving on to anything else.

                            I also make a point of lengthening and shortening my reins at the walk several times in a row during EVERY warm up for EVERY ride. I may not even worry about getting a "real" medium walk as much as not jigging and I increase the amount of time I do this exercise leading up to shows.

                            When I started this practice, each horse seemed very surprised when I lengthened the reins the second time and remained at the walk (instead of shortening the reins and heading directly into trot or canter). It was very clear that they had come to associate shortening the reins as a signal an upward transition was coming and they should cut out the middle man and get right to it. Ooops!
                            Last edited by SevenDogs; Mar. 28, 2011, 11:59 PM.


                            • Original Poster

                              Great comments, thank you all very much.


                              • #16
                                Mine (OTTB) has a tendency to do the exact same thing and it's because I have a tendency to tense up in my seat when I'm getting ready to pick him back up. If I'm tense AT ALL...he lets me know. You gotta love those sensitive Thoroughbreds
                                Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                                Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                                "Once you go off track, you never go back!"