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Canter/walk transitions Help Please

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  • Canter/walk transitions Help Please

    My horse is doing 2 trot steps after the canter...occasionally we get a good transition.
    Any thoughts? or exercises to help us?

  • #2
    Are you throwing away your contact in the downward transition? Are you leaning forward no the downward transition and throwing his balance on to the forehand. I ask because these are two things I had to learn not to do myself.

    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


    • #3
      Are you asking for the down transition from a very collected canter? You have to make sure the horse is "sitting" in the canter, really working from behind. Collect... collect... collect... walk! If the horse is strung out or on the forehand, the transition will not work or it will be abrupt and downhill! Give us a little more information about what you are doing!
      Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
      Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...

      Originally posted by mbm
      forward is like love - you can never have enough


      • #4
        Originally posted by Reiter View Post
        Are you asking for the down transition from a very collected canter? You have to make sure the horse is "sitting" in the canter, really working from behind. Collect... collect... collect... walk! If the horse is strung out or on the forehand, the transition will not work or it will be abrupt and downhill! Give us a little more information about what you are doing!

        Practice the elastic band canter exercise. Forward, back (as much as he can before breaking), then quickly forward again. About 1000 of these, until he can almost canter on the spot, then you just sit and walk (or halt).

        Counter canter is great for building strength, sitting ability.


        • #5
          I feel you. These have been a bit of a sticky point for me, and I lost a couple of points in my test last weekend because I didn't RIDE the transition all the way through. One thing I have learned to be very conscious of is my seat - I was tending to brace with my seat instead of actually riding the transition from the canter to walk. I have to remember to sit into the transition myself, and to keep my seat moving from the rhythm of the canter into the motion of the walk. When I remember to sit up tall and deep and do this, we get the transition just about every time.

          That's the only thing I want to add apart from agreeing with what everyone else has said - you must ride the transition from a collected canter. Being strung out or on the forehand will make it all but impossible to get a proper transition.

          I like to ride multiple transitions and figures in the canter, and also don't forget to do as others have said - lengthen and compress, lengthen and compress - throw in several transitions and not just attempts to go from canter to walk. Work on a bit of baby half pass, lots of counter canter, etc. Ride outside over varying terrain if you can - all help to strengthen the hind end.

          Good luck, I'm right there with you!
          Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

          A Voice Halted


          • #6
            As a rider you must keep your upwards balance and not fall forward through transitions. Can you smoothly effortlessly do canter trot canter trot canter trot? Your seat canter, then your seat trot, then canter trot canter trot. HH squeeze release and horse goes up into the down trans - trot? Meaning retains up balance as he takes down transition. Not splat sputter trot.

            Next can you trot halt trot halt trot walk trot walk in perfect balance?

            Then, I 4th the collected canter. Collected canter, canter canter then HH release and melt up into the down of the walk. Your rein connection is soft supple and forwards thinking. Melting forward feeling in your hands. Your seat is collected canter canter canter hind legs come under, then hh release, seat is softly quiet and more still as you melt up into walk motion. Follow with hands and seat.


            • #7
              Think of it this way: the horse must be cantering at the speed of the walk to do a good C-W transition. That is how collected the canter must be. That does NOT mean you can lose the activity in the hind legs, just that the speed should match the walk. Then ask. And be totally sure that the horse is collected off your seat, not your hands. You should be able to give the inside rein or even both reins in your collected canter for a stride or two.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by dwblover View Post
                Think of it this way: the horse must be cantering at the speed of the walk to do a good C-W transition. That is how collected the canter must be. That does NOT mean you can lose the activity in the hind legs, just that the speed should match the walk. Then ask. And be totally sure that the horse is collected off your seat, not your hands. You should be able to give the inside rein or even both reins in your collected canter for a stride or two.
                OMG....totally great suggestions from everyone This one, I have quoted coz the collecting the canter to the speed of a walk is great.

                Okay I feel like he collect well off my seat,...i ask for collect canter, he gives but we lose it at the very end and then he dives on my hands and we jog 2 steps.

                I like the half pas suggestion too..and the collect and go ...collect and go. I gree we need more collection...our counter canter is not bad at all...but could be better. Off this mornign to try some of this stuff..

                Grey Street...yes! I hear you. We competed in our first elementary test on the weekend...we got lots of 7's for med trot and canter and our shoulderin...but we got 5's on our simple chnges....which is a co-efficient...so we REALLY need to work on this area


                • #9
                  To understand how this transition works, you need to understand how the horse's balance must change in order to effect the change of the gait. The walk requires little to none lateral bend, or rotational motion as the diagonals exchange strides, but that rotational motion does cross back and forth across the path of the motion, itself. On a circle, that crossing becomes less, and less as the circle decreases in size. The canter keeps the rotation just a tad, but always to the inside of the line of the motion. The trot also swings with the rotation, side to side.

                  To effect a change between the gaits, we must make sure that the lateral swing prior to asking for the change is correct. Then, as we ask, we must be sure we only ask for what we need....not too little, and not too much. This is the half-halt. If you are having difficulty with your simple change, it means that you are not correctly adjusting the horse's balance prior to asking, and that adjustment depends on in which direction the horse is crooked.

                  Lots of tests ask for the simple change going from the left lead canter, to the walk, to the right lead canter again. It is done this way because that is the easier direction in which to execute the movement on a hollow-right horse.

                  With the hollow-right, the horse does not want to bend enough at any time as much toward its left side as should be happening. Depending on the direction of the movement, however, the apparent affect is different. Let's assume your horse is one of these hollow-right horses.

                  You enter the movment in the left lead canter, but it is not bent enough to the left side. The horse's haunches are falling toward the left, and you do not have correct contact in your right rein. Half-halt to bend the horse slightly more, but be careful not to overdue, or you will drop the horse into the trot. The easiest way to achieve this at this point, is to slightly release your right rein, use your inner left thigh to slightly push the left hind forward a tad toward the right shoulder, and take back your right rein, hopeuflly in better balance. (Balancing half-halt which should result in better contact with your right rein.)

                  On the next stride, turn your left hand inward just a tad so that your thumb goes more toward the horse's inside on the left. This helps to stabilize your inside rein. Again, slightly release your right rein, but this time as you take it back, lift it slightly and sit up really tall in the saddle. It might also help to hold your breathe as you request the walk.

                  As you feel the walk begin, breathe out and allow the three strides, making sure that your left hand has returned to the thumb upright position. The walk strides need to feel deliberate....almost as if the walk has been collected. On the third stride, turn your left hand again slightly to what was your original inside, and ask for the canter right by putting more weight into your left stirrup. The canter should not feel strung out, but should feel as if the horse is just immediately lifting up into the stride.

                  If you are asking for the simple change starting with the canter right, you must use the same aids as before, but the timing will be slightly different because now you must ask for less lateral bend from which to rebalance the horse prior to the movement. Try to think to keep your left shoulder blade back better, as problems with the contact usually start with the rider's shoulders being wrong for his/her balance, every bit as much as the pelvis being in an incorrect position.
                  Last edited by angel; Jul. 2, 2011, 02:39 PM.


                  • Original Poster

                    Wow Angel...thank you for that explanation....you echo my instructor with the thumb turning....will try this tomorrow...and the breathe out is something I also need to remember.

                    Today it was better...I practiced really collecting the canter and then pushing him out a little more...then collecting him byt sitting taller ...he was responding very well...I then collected the canter to as slow as I could take it and I also tried lifting my hands a little so he didnt curl ont eh last stride.....this also helped.

                    He used to get quite hot when executing the simple changes...and would leap into the canter from a walk...has muchly improved just over a couple of sessions


                    • #11
                      Didn't fully read all explanations, but you might also try putting the horse in a shoulder fore position as you collect the canter up; I also found it helped to work on them as part of a small (10 mtr) circle - ie from long side begin to collect more, start the circle while collecting then walk. W/ my mare I have to really keep back legs active so that she does not opt for falling on the forehand.
                      We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


                      • #12
                        The shoulder-fore is a good idea, but many people cannot really feel a correct shoulder-fore. When I suggested a corrective half-halt while still in canter, to some degree that was what I was suggesting, i.e. a change in lateral bend. But, the rider must always take into consideration how the horse is crooked. With a hollow-right horse, this means slightly increasing the bend, or in the previous posters language using more of a shoulder-fore position, while in the left lead. BUT, with that same horse, because it wants to always bend too much to the right side, this means for the right lead, that positioning of the horse should become less bent to the inside. If I were to say "shoulder-fore" for the right-lead canter, most people would make the horse more off-balance because the first reaction would be to adjust the horse more to the inside, and in this direction (clockwise), the horse is already too much bent. For this direction the bending needs to be slightly less, and it is this type of crookedness which makes the simple change starting with the right lead canter more difficult.

                        Yes, it is easier to half-halt on the left rein to fix the canter, but to create the left lead canter out of the walk is more difficult as you do not have the horse falling into the right rein as you do when going from left lead to right lead with the horse falling into the left rein naturally. An increased contact on one side has the tendency to either lock the horse in its crookedness, or in the worst case, contiually block the shoulder on that side. When one shoulder is blocked incorrectly, it means the contact in the opposite rein is not there like should be happening.

                        Canter is created by a blocking of the horse's outside shoulder, locking the horse into a "unilateral" bend such that the horse's body lifts up to a freed contact of the inside shoulder...simplistic description at best. If you think about lifting the horse up into contact with the inside rein for the canter, it might help you. You need to think about the horse's diagonal from the outside hind to the inside fore elevating at a steeper angle...lifting higher on the shoulder end....in order to create the increased "longitudinal bend or lifted elevation" needed for the canter. To look down, or worse yet to lean forward into the canter, makes it much more difficult for the horse to elevate that heavy front end.


                        • Original Poster

                          Yes...can see where you both are coming from. I have done a fair bit in shoulder fore position with this horse. He is the type to really want to curl and lean on the bit.

                          We have corrected this in the trot ...in the canter sometimes he still wants to do this...so I have to be very concious of how I sit...not to lean forward...always to keep my backside under me. and half halt and lift hands a little....always half halting He is a very sensitive horse...whihc for me is very good, as I do not have a great back...so his halfhalts do go through really well.

                          Yesterday I rode a 10 mtre circle and then I halfhalted on the diagonal pair stride...released a little...then halfhalted again...then the 3rd time I lifted my hands halfhalted and we walked voila! Just as we hit the long side. He responded quite well...this was after we made lots of transitions within the canter...so I feel like I have a much more responsive horse

                          I then picked up the counter canter ...and we counter cantered the long side....halfhalted on teh diagonal stride...released a little...halfhalted again on the diagonal stride...halfhalted and then a slight resistance and we jogged 1 step and then walked. So not as good as the circle work.. I think I also forgot to lift my hands a little too. SO much to remember

                          Now should I practice this every ride?? or leave it for a ride and come back to it later? Or just do a couple each ride? I feel like it has improved a lot over just a week. 2 weeks ago, they seriously were not great at all...definite 4's or 5's. I think in just a couple of rides we may have notched it up to a 6

                          now also to work on that travers!! Ha!


                          • #14
                            Practise your simple change every ride, just don't drill it. Do it once and go on to something else. Come back again to it in a little while, do it again, and go onto something else. Don't always do the simple...sometimes just do good canter/walk transitions and try to collect the walk after the canter using only your seat. Then do a regular walk, then back to collected walk, then go all the way to a free walk. Then pick the horse up and do counter canter. Then, back to the walk. Collect the walk for a few strides, then turn on the haunches. Then walk forward, collect the walk, then canter, then another simple change, etc. See how you go from one thing to the next...never drilling, but always seeking to increase the horse's straightness and responsiveness to the collection through your seat. By the way, that turn on the haunches generally needs more weighting in your outside stirrup, just as does the canter, so it is a good exercise to help you collect the canter while you work on the simple change transition.