T – IS FOR TRANSITIONS
Transitions are the key to …
- building the hind end muscles
- developing better balance
- maintaining rhythm
- teaching horses to be ‘hot off the leg’
- paradoxically – relaxing the horse
- getting the horse supple
- maintaining suppleness in your horse
- aiding obedience
- teaching collection
- teaching extension
- ensuring lightness
- winning marks in your test
- developing harmony
- helping the development of the ‘top line’ muscles
- engaging the hind quarters
- executing a square halt
- keeping your horse attentive
- developing accuracy
and much, much more!
What to do? …
Put much effort into your transitions, do them well, do lots of them. Remember you must have forward impulsion in your upward transitions and you must use your seat and legs in the downward transitions.
QUICK TIP: A good way to practice transitions is to count the number of strides you do at each pace before the change, so do 8 x walk and then 8 x trot. You will know the exact moment you want the transition and can be very precise with your aids, but more importantly you can assess your horse’s reaction. This exercise can also aid your accuracy. Give it a go.
Concentrate on maintaining your position, contact and rhythm through the transition. The thing about it is … keep everything the same, don’t do too much. Really try to just maintain your position and get out of your horse’s way whilst he makes the transition.
There is no feeling on earth (in my opinion!) like riding a good transition, except maybe a really, really well executed half-halt!
Patricia – The Dressage Tipster
Are change in pace of gait ie trot classed as transitions – Im doing a lot of working trot long side, slow trot short side to try and get my youngster thinking and more off my leg? This right?
Indeed Andrea, the transition is from the longer stride to the shorter stride and of course back again, so if you were doing working trot and went to medium trot you would do a transition to get there. The trick with getting your youngster off your leg is to ensure you get an immediate reaction to your aids so when you ask for the longer stride, half-halt to let him know you are doing a transition and tap him up with your leg.
It is important that you teach the young horse the half-halt so that you can use it in his future training to let him know that you are about to ask a question. You will get a much better reaction if you give him a little warning!
When you bring the horse back to the slower pace, use your seat and resist using your hand.
Hope this helps. Have Fun. Px