Need a little training advice

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Need a little training advice

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    09-10-2010, 07:00 PM
Need a little training advice

So I decided to start working on the beginnings of flying changes with my too smart horse. We've been schooling level 1 and some level 2 movements. He's been reasonably collected at the canter and really coming through from behind lately, so I figured he was ready for something new. I had been doing my lead changes through the trot, but was afraid that might backfire and he'd decide that "messy" changes were what I wanted. So, yesterday we did a bunch of walk-canter-walk transitions in both directions to get the cues nice and clear and then did canter serpentines with changes through the walk. The smart little bugger had it all figured out by the second pass. I tried it again today and he so tuned in, he was offering the new lead as soon as I brought him down to walk. He's already anticipating which I don't really want. Question is, do I continue to let him change with a walk step in between or just proceed onto asking for the flying change? I wasn't expecting him to get it this quickly, but he is a wicked fast learner. Lessons won't be happening anytime soon unless I stop eating food, so we're on our own for training these days.
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    09-10-2010, 11:42 PM
Make sure the transitions are a VERY clear canter - walk - canter if he in anticipating, my thought is that the walk is of poor quality. Take the time between to really get a very good walk before getting the next lead. Before starting the changes you really need to make sure he is very collected (READ: very balanced and uphill, not moving with a short stride!). He should be able to keep his neck the same through the simple changes (through the walk). If you have access to a mirror, or even look at the crown piece of his bridle, it should not move through the transitions!!
Before starting the changes, he should be extremely handy in the counter canter. Ie able to pick it up from an aid through the short side of the arena.
It would be helpful to have a video to determine if you are "ready" for the changes too.
    09-11-2010, 12:13 AM
Aaaah. I was definitely not re-establishing a good walk between changes. If anything I was rushing it and getting him to the next lead as soon as we were back to the walk. I'll pay more attention to the walk and give it another next time we do ring work. Wish I could get video, but I almost always ride alone. I'll see if I can find a strategic place to set up a camera on a fence post or something.
    09-13-2010, 06:07 PM
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
Before starting the changes, he should be extremely handy in the counter canter. Ie able to pick it up from an aid through the short side of the arena.
It would be helpful to have a video to determine if you are "ready" for the changes too.
That would be my question. Can you do counter canter without "mistakes" I.e. Being sloppy?
    09-13-2010, 09:20 PM
We haven't practiced picking it up from an aid, but can do 3 loop serpentines without him trying to switch.
    09-14-2010, 02:40 AM
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
We haven't practiced picking it up from an aid, but can do 3 loop serpentines without him trying to switch.

Try working at the walk counter canter.

If he gets it try walk canter, walk counter canter. Hold him at a clear walk so it becomes steady. Anticipation can be a good thing as horses will learn by patterns so if he is picking up the pattern in relation of the transition to canter then a leg switch when ready will be easier. You just have to watch that it is not rushed.

If you feel the upward transition will be sloppy then walk a little longer as if you do not intend to ask for anything. On the smart horses it is a matter of YOU anticipating what the horse might do and try to out smart them.

This is the pattern I do to get my changes and when I felt he was ready I asked for the switch from the COUNTER canter to the normal canter usually coming into a corner.

You may just have to be careful that he doesn't pick up the counter canter switch to the point of him always feeling that a switch is expected whenever you are counter cantering and entering a corner. This is why I prefer to have the counter canter well established before attempting the flying change.

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