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Flying, uh, leaping changes!

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  • Flying, uh, leaping changes!

    I have shown my horse through second level and for a few years we have been goofing around with changes. He has had some back issues so we haven't shown 3rd level but he has schooled all the movements. His changes are crazy, he kind of leaps in the air, throws his butt up, yanks the reins out of my hands, but does do a clean change (one way, anyway). It feels like a controlled buck, if that makes sense. I do find that if I keep him really forward it is less dramatic, but still goofy.
    Any ideas how I can teach him that he doesn't need so much air time??
    Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

  • #2
    I had a bit of a leaping change when I first started them with my horse. There were two methods that we used at different stages. When he was first learning them we just did a ton of them. This helped confirm them and make them less exciting so we lost some of the leap that way. I was afraid to do a big correction when he got strong as clean changes were very difficult to get when I first started them and I didn't want him to think he was being punished for the change itself before they were cemented in his mind. Once we had clean changes confirmed and the exuberance had subsided he still wanted to get strong and pull me out of the saddle though - now it was purely evasion, not over excitement. To solve this I simply made him to a very abrupt halt every time he got heavy or grabbed at the bit. Picked up the original lead and asked for the change again. Did this until I got at least a couple of soft, light changes. After a little consistent correcting he quit getting strong altogether and is starting some very nice tempis now. We do still have occasional moments and he immediately gets popped to a halt to remind him. Only takes once now

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Ooooh, sounds interesting. I was wondering how to let him know that it was not acceptable and a halt may just do the trick. Also, I tend to let the reins go when he starts to pull in the change. Should I hold my ground (rein length) and let him run into the end of the line, so to speak?
      Thanks, I will try the halt correction tomorrow.
      Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Your post made me giggle because it made me think of this:
        http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...16789487_n.jpg


        It was technically a clean change - his front legs hadn't yet come off the ground and his hind legs landed on the new lead and front followed suit. Very funny video clip, and kudos to my mom for keeping us in view through it.

        We haven't actually worked lead changes much yet at all - he had them from the track and eventing, but we haven't done them to solidify counter canter. My trainer had two rides where she played with changes a little which were enough to remind him about doing them a month or so earlier. I was in the middle of recovery from a severe back sprain, and this was his response to the first time I actually successfully got my left leg on him, as it had basically been hanging uselessly at his side. He was so surprised by my leg he overreacted, and it actually falls in line with experiences I've had teaching horses changes in the past - they tend to have reactions more like this than what you want if you over cue. Yes excitement is part of it, and repetition to make it less interesting helps a lot, just check yourself to make sure you aren't overcuing as well. If my horse is worked up and I consciously cue him to canter we go airborn, so I only think it - I suspect changes will be the same way for us for a while... get him straight and using himself well then *think* change without giving a conscious cue.
        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

          #5
          Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, here is a photo of the problem from a few years ago. The look on my face says it all...
          http://s1307.photobucket.com/albums/...onforehand.jpg
          Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

          Comment


          • #6
            What Redmond said. It's not all that uncommon, especially for a horse that's not naturally good at them, or, as you say, maybe has some physical issues.

            Comment


            • #7
              Nothing to add--my guy thinks changes are super exciting and while he's not offered to buck (yet) he definitely believes in the "flying" part.
              Redbud Ranch
              Check us out on FB

              Comment


              • #8
                My guy LOOOOVES to do changes and is sometimes over enthusiastic. My problem is, I'm sort of a rag doll rider -- very loose-jointed, so it's easy for him to interpret every little "flop" of my body as a signal to change. One correction my coach friend suggested is to sit waaay back when riding the flying change. This firms my upper body a bit, sits my seat bones down, and helps me keep my horse's front end up through the change. (My guy also likes to try yanking me out of the saddle in the changes.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by schimmel View Post
                  Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, here is a photo of the problem from a few years ago. The look on my face says it all...
                  http://s1307.photobucket.com/albums/...onforehand.jpg
                  You really can't tell too much from a photo, but from what I see at this moment in time the neck has WAY too much bend for a flying change.

                  With a flying change, the legs should change during the moment of suspension, with the new outside hind landing first - to do this, the horse needs to be light in front your horse is CROUP HIGH which tells me that not enough preparation has been done.

                  I think you need a horse that is very comfortable going from a pirouette-like canter to a medium-like canter with suppleness.

                  I'd suggest trying this: most horses have an easy lead (usually the left) and the harder lead and its easier to change from hard lead to easy (usually left to right). So pick up the hard lead, go to counter canter using the whole arena. Can you supple your horse? Bring the neck to the inside, straighten (this should go easy like dancing).

                  When this goes easy without tension or swinging the quarters, move the horse a little off the rail, now bring the quarters to the rail - this is easy for the horse. then bring the quarters back (the horse will WANT to change).

                  Now make sure your half halt is working come back towards a pirouette canter for 2 or 3 strides, without loosing the suppleness - then ride forward for 2 strides and then ask for the change.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Back issues, says it all. I would strongly recommend getting them fixed first. Then perfect your canter walk transitions so the horse goes from collected canter lightly with uphill balance to the walk, and then steps lightly into the canter with no trot steps. Without these good transitions your flying changes will be/wild and unbalanced. It's unfair to ask a horse who is not through his back to do a flying change with a rider on his back

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I agree, rideastar, which is why we did not work on changes for a few years. Now that he is sound and stronger, I was re-introducing them and I think he is doing them the way he remembers and thinks he should do them. I have also decided to back off on the changes and will work on correct c-w-c trans. as you suggest.
                      Thanks, everyone, for the very helpful advice.
                      Last edited by schimmel; Nov. 16, 2012, 05:40 PM. Reason: spelling error
                      Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My mare, when learning the changes, did something similar. Trainer had me work on more and more collection and really focusing on getting more "jump" in the canter. When I did that changes became clean, and although still "expressive" clearly not 4 ft in the air (like they were before).
                        Now in Kentucky

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dudleyc View Post
                          I'd suggest trying this: most horses have an easy lead (usually the left) and the harder lead and its easier to change from hard lead to easy (usually left to right).
                          .
                          (I"m assuming you meant the easier change was right (hard) to left (easy)?)

                          I have a similar aspect of the OP's problem, but only from the left-to-right change. Her right-to-left change is pretty good and pretty easy to get, but the L-to-R change is messy, uncoordinated, and scrambly, and sometimes a few protest crowhops get thrown in (I wouldn't quite call them bucks). I keep assuming it's me (I have scoliosis, which makes me VERY one-sided- tracking left is easy for me, tracking right is much harder). Any tips to really set her up for the Left-to-right change (specifics, like shift my hips, or slide my leg back/forward, or shift my weight...)
                          ~Living the life I imagined~

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hey101 View Post
                            (I"m assuming you meant the easier change was right (hard) to left (easy)?)

                            I have a similar aspect of the OP's problem, but only from the left-to-right change. Her right-to-left change is pretty good and pretty easy to get, but the L-to-R change is messy, uncoordinated, and scrambly, and sometimes a few protest crowhops get thrown in (I wouldn't quite call them bucks). I keep assuming it's me (I have scoliosis, which makes me VERY one-sided- tracking left is easy for me, tracking right is much harder). Any tips to really set her up for the Left-to-right change (specifics, like shift my hips, or slide my leg back/forward, or shift my weight...)
                            That is what I meant, thank-you, I've always been a little left/right dyslexic.

                            I'd ride the left counter canter. You need the horse to be supper suppple, so you can supple the neck easily in both directions, move the haunches easily in both directions, and keep the horse very round. You also need to move towards pirouette canter and towards medium canter without loosing any of the suppleness or roundness.

                            Once you have the counter canter perfect, bring the haunches slightly in, with this slight haunches in, half halt and ride a few steps of shorter canter, then two strides forward canter then change.

                            I had to sort this problem out with my mare, who would change late behind in the left to right change. It took me months to get her as comfortable in the counter canter as she needed to be. I train with Lendon Gray and Courtney King Dye so I have great trainers, but I do not have trainers that can get on my horse.
                            Last edited by dudleyc; Nov. 22, 2012, 09:24 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              dudleyc, I just wanted to thank you for giving such informative and helpful posts in this thread. I've really been enjoying them!
                              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


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by netg View Post
                                dudleyc, I just wanted to thank you for giving such informative and helpful posts in this thread. I've really been enjoying them!
                                Ditto! It helps to see it written down so I can visualize it. I'm quite sure my trainer is telling me the same thing, but it's obviously not sinking in. I will be sure to try this next time we are schooling the change!
                                ~Living the life I imagined~

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by schimmel View Post
                                  Ooooh, sounds interesting. I was wondering how to let him know that it was not acceptable and a halt may just do the trick. Also, I tend to let the reins go when he starts to pull in the change. Should I hold my ground (rein length) and let him run into the end of the line, so to speak?
                                  Thanks, I will try the halt correction tomorrow.
                                  so just as a different POV - i have always been taught to never punish a horse for a change - no matter what you get - because you WANT them to be big. expressive and clean.

                                  stopping your horse is the exact opposite of what you want to instill.

                                  i think i would do some changes over small X rails and see if that helps. Or conversely do serpentine's and do simple changes - ie canter/walk/canter - until he does those as you wish then maybe using a pole on the ground, try again without the walk portion.

                                  also be sure you are not blocking with your hand or seat.



                                  eta: DudleyC basically said it all - so... never mind just read whats/he wrote

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by dudleyc View Post
                                    That is what I meant, thank-you, I've always been a little left/right dyslexic.

                                    I'd ride the left counter canter. You need the horse to be supper suppple, so you can supple the neck easily in both directions, move the haunches easily in both directions, and keep the horse very round. You also need to move towards pirouette canter and towards medium canter without loosing any of the suppleness or roundness.

                                    Once you have the counter canter perfect, bring the haunches slightly in, with this slight haunches in, half halt and ride a few steps of shorter canter, then two strides forward canter then change.

                                    I had to sort this problem out with my mare, who would change late behind in the left to right change. It took me months to get her as comfortable in the counter canter as she needed to be. I train with Lendon Gray and Courtney King Dye so I have great trainers, but I do not have trainers that can get on my horse.
                                    I am having this same problem with my mare, so I really appreciate these posts. Could you clarify one thing for me Dudleyc? When you say you ride the counter canter and ride a slight haunches in, do you mean "haunches in" as in a traver left so that the haunches come towards the wall (that seems impossible because the haunches would hit the wall", or do you mean the haunches come towards the inside of the arena, in this case to the right??
                                    www.saraalberni.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The haunches come slightly towards the inside of the arena - towards the new canter lead (in this position the horse really WANTS to change), the half halt towards pirouette canter gets the hind end under and then the forward gets the "flying" the nice big change.

                                      One thing that will likely happen, with repetition, the horse is likely going to anticipate the change especially in the forward, when that happens, don't change but dance back towards the pirouette canter and only when the horse goes forward with roundness and suppleness should you ask for the change.

                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phBtO...1&feature=plcp

                                      This may help, its just recorded with a stationary flip camera, but its a lesson from a few months ago with courtney. In the video, I've progressed past the exercise I suggested here, but when I am doing the changes on the circle, you can see the haunches coming slightly towards the new lead right before the change.
                                      Last edited by dudleyc; Nov. 24, 2012, 08:44 AM.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        dudleyc,
                                        I tried your suggested method today for the L-to-R change (left counter-canter with haunches in, etc) and things went much smoother. The first time it was still scrambly, but the next time, she "got" it much better.

                                        The downside is that her R-to-L change wasn't as good today! But we will keep at it, she is trying hard and I think I need to be more clear and set her up better. We've just starting schooling the "dressage" change- she already has what I would call a "hunter" change when we jump (I event/jump/foxhunt her also), but this is really the first time I've been asking her to stay collected, round, and underneath. She is a bit grumpy about having to use her heiny a lot more

                                        Thanks again for your help!
                                        ~Living the life I imagined~

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