Downward Transitions in Trot and Canter

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Downward Transitions in Trot and Canter

This is a discussion on Downward Transitions in Trot and Canter within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    04-22-2012, 01:02 AM
Downward Transitions in Trot and Canter

OK I know it is a basic principle, but I have to ask because I am confused. When transitioning from a trot to a walk, I pretty much just sit from posting with a bit of a half halt and my horse will slow down. Is there a more correct way of doing this?

As for canter to trot or walk, I am more confused. What aid do I give to let her know that it is time to slow down without pulling on the reins to slow her down?

We are mostly doing walk/trot but I would like to start some cantering. She is an OTTB so I want to do this correctly so I don't ruin her. Thank you! Good advice is greatly appreciated!
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    04-22-2012, 04:42 PM
You have the basics..the finesse comes depending upon the horse in question. On mine, I do the same in the trot to walk. I half halt to let the horse know ther eis something coming, sit deep, us my leg to keep him balanced and working under himself and then just hold with the reins, creating that invisible wall in fornt of him. As he gets more "tuned" just the sitting deep is enough to bring him down to the walk..I can also halt from there without adding any additional rein pressure.

From canter to walk, same thing. Half halt to let the horse know a change is coming. Sit deep as in really letting my weight drop down as opposed to sitting deep to sit the canter, stop following with my seat while applying leg pressure and just holding the rein position to create the same wall. We are doing mostly canter to walk transitions through the trot right now as he still has a tendency to fall on his forehand going down to the walk out of the canter. Haven't quite got that tweaked yet. :)
Corporal and DressageDreamer like this.
    04-22-2012, 06:42 PM
Thank you for replying. She is a smart horse and not really high strung, but in the past when I have had her in a canter, I couldn't get her to slow down or stop. It scared the you know what out of me. I am more comfortable with her now thanks to my instructor, but we work a lot on our own and I want to train her the right way. I love my horse and want her to be happy with her job.
    04-23-2012, 03:10 PM
I always like my horse to know voice commands, work with your horse on the lung line and get him/her to respond well by using your voice, I always say 'hup trot' when im in the canter and want to come down to the trot, and I always say 'and walk', and I always try to say it in a smooth voice so that they know to slow down. I do basically what you say you do, I just think all horses should know verbal cues, it helps them understand what you want better.
    04-23-2012, 03:19 PM
Thanks! I will try that. I just know we can't use voice commands during shows so I have been trying to steer away from that. However I guess during our training if I used voice with the aids after she learns voice on the lunge, it would help it sink in better for her.
    04-23-2012, 03:35 PM
Green Broke
You cannot use your voice in a dressage test, so whilst voice aids ae a very useful tool, do not come to rely on them alone
    04-23-2012, 03:39 PM
Originally Posted by faye    
You cannot use your voice in a dressage test, so whilst voice aids ae a very useful tool, do not come to rely on them alone
Yes that is a concern. I try not to say anything to her when riding except when she does something correctly and I give her a nice pet on the neck and a "good girl." But maybe it wouldn't hurt to try it for a little while to see if it would help her understand what I am wanting in conjunction with the seat and leg aids.
    04-23-2012, 03:53 PM
I know you should not be heard or making it really noticeable in the show ring, but horses have really good hearing, I've used very quiet voice commands at shows, it reasures your horse when they hear your voice... that's my view on it
    04-23-2012, 05:39 PM
You should also use your "seat" to ask for a downward transition. During walk / trot and canter you naturally follow with your seat. When asking for a downward transition you temporairly stop following with your seat (think stiffen hips and waist) while you do a squeeze on both reins - the second she slows/walk/halts (what ever you are asking her to do) you must immediately soften and follow with your seat (unless you're halting).

Another concept I use with my youngsters (and green beans) is to exhale as I ask for the downward transition. It makes my body feel "heavier" to the horse and they soon pay attention to that exhale as a signal to slow/transition/stop. After you get that ingrained you can refine the cues to the horse as both of you progress up the training scale.
Crisha likes this.
    04-23-2012, 05:47 PM
I'm a Green Bean LOL Love it!
Great advice Valentina. The exhale sounds like a good move and easy to remember to do. I am assuming it is just a small squeeze on the reins like tightening a fist and then untighten the fist as she slows.

aids, canter, transitions, trot

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