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I need help w/ transitions...

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  • I need help w/ transitions...

    Lately I have been working on transitions but then I didn't ride for one week and now I am having trouble, especially with the canter to the walk... Any suggestions?

  • #2
    just had a lesson about closing the leg FROM the thigh. Trainer said while the front legs are IN the air ask for the half halt with the outside a few times get that reaction then go from that to downward and its okay to close you knees and hold the posture without closing the hand so much.

    I know some of it is not correct/perfect but to do so starts the feeling of not going hollow and staying connected.. Which is a great feeling
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


    • #3
      I think:
      Airtime, hold with thigh, pogo stick
      Airtime, hold with thigh, pogo stick
      Tail bone becomes like sticking a shovel into the dirt
      Aaaand we're walking
      chaque pas est fait ensemble


      • #4
        Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
        I think:
        Airtime, hold with thigh, pogo stick
        Airtime, hold with thigh, pogo stick
        Tail bone becomes like sticking a shovel into the dirt
        Aaaand we're walking
        This is generally what I do, plus I sit a bit deeper into the saddle.

        I love the "pogo stick" .... I am totally going to think that everytime I do this transition.


        • #5

          By "pogo' stick" you mean "feel as though you are lifting your upper body up in the saddle"?

          Don't forget that part of the equation that along with "shovel in the dirt" that the legs must ride through into the walk.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


          • #6
            I think video is the most helpful tool (assuming you are asking here bc you don't have an instructor to ask) for something that you basically know how to do but can't nail 100%. If someone videos you doing a dozen transitions, then you go home and watch it backwards and forwards and in slow motion, you'll probably be able to pick out some difference. My guess would be that it will be in the way you sit (people always lean forward when they pull the reins, which a lot of horses then pull against, so that's a common one), or in the quality of the gait preceding the transition (more half halts needed to have horse more balanced before a good transition will be easy?).

            You might notice that in good transitions you sit tall and stretch your leg down, or that you lean back slightly with your seatbones still anchored in the saddle, vs in transitions that don't work or aren't smooth you lean back but your shoulders slump sending your seatbones sliding forward into a more driving position, or maybe you squeeze your knees/thighs which pushes your seat up the back of the saddle causing your upper body to fall forward. It's hard to guess what you might be doing without seeing you ride, but these are kinda common things I see that you may be able to pick up on. Once you can identify exactly what it is that you do sometimes right or sometimes wrong, it should be pretty easy to focus on doing it the right way and getting the good transitions consistently.
            Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
            Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
            My Training Blog: www.dressagefundamentals.com


            • #7
              These are some helpful ways to think of it. Both my horse and myself are having issues with the canter to trot transition - he really drops into the trot with a HUGE stride where he is flinging out his front legs and then we scramble to contain the trot. It is a balance issue at this point for him. He was unfit and unbalanced at the canter and would break into a trot if I tried to collect him at all or make any changes to his canter. He has gotten much better, so now we are working on the transitions. I'll try the "pogo stick" method!


              • #8
                Originally posted by witherbee View Post
                These are some helpful ways to think of it. Both my horse and myself are having issues with the canter to trot transition - he really drops into the trot with a HUGE stride where he is flinging out his front legs and then we scramble to contain the trot. It is a balance issue at this point for him. He was unfit and unbalanced at the canter and would break into a trot if I tried to collect him at all or make any changes to his canter. He has gotten much better, so now we are working on the transitions. I'll try the "pogo stick" method!
                Keep in mind that when you go from working canter to trot, you are going from a faster ground cover gait to a slower ground cover gait. My guess is your horse has "trying to stop while running down the hill syndrome" (you know the feeling when you are running fast down a hill and then try to slow down? It takes some strength and usually a few strides.) It's all about the preparation- think about the transition starting 2 strides before the horse even trots by slowing the canter so that the speed of the canter is roughly what the speed of the trot will be. Then you can press the horse forward into the trot rather than having to scramble to slow the flailing legs. It's all about timing, so it takes some practice, but you'll get it!

                Canter/walk is roughly the same, but I like to think about landing each foot individually, starting with the outside hind. But I love the pogo stick image! That's exactly how it should feel about 2 strides before the transition. You need a little more bounce in your pogo stick going from canter to walk than canter to trot. And you need a little more forward jump in your pogo stick going from canter to trot than canter to walk.


                • #9
                  To get pogo stick it's an abdominal half halt. Proud chest.
                  I think about the horse going from a jumping bunny to a bouncing pogo stick. Helps to keep them rocked back for me.
                  Also into the walk think landing goose on water. Legs land first, not body. This helps keep that down hill jolt from happening.
                  chaque pas est fait ensemble


                  • Original Poster

                    thanks so much these suggestions are great!


                    • #11
                      i would suggest that with one week off he and you have lost a bit of your game and will need a bit of work to bring him back to the ability to canter/walk.

                      generally if a horse has some days off it takes as many days back in work to bring them back. therefore when a horse is in full work we never expect full work on the 1st day back - it is a "warmup" day and is used for suppleness etc.

                      in other words: i wouldn't worry about it. you will get your groove back in a few days.

                      i will say tho that the root of all is forward activity even in down transitions. so if the horse isnt forward and working happily into your hand you will not get good transitions - no matter how many pogo sticks you visualize


                      • #12
                        I agree it takes a certain kind of canter for the Canter-Walk transition to happen with no loss of balance or loss of rhythm---but our best ones feel something more like simply "stepping out of canter and into the walk" I don't really feel a 'pogo-stick' step. My instructor described it to me once as simply 'softening your driving aides, soften your seat, relax, breathe and step into walk". I do count/feel the rhythm of the canter steps 'internally' and 'think walk-two, three----four,...." all while sitting very tall/relaxed. I do use a preparatory half-halt---but our very best ones generally happen from a quality canter and when he is really through and on the aides and more up in front---they DO 'feel' effortless as if we simply did 'stop asking for canter'.
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