Slower Transitions
 
 

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Slower Transitions

This is a discussion on Slower Transitions within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    • 1 Post By Horsesdontlie

     
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        12-27-2011, 02:15 PM
      #1
    Yearling
    Slower Transitions

    Jake has been coming along very nicely. All the flat work is starting to come together and I am a very happy rider, and he is becoming a happier horse. We now have a good understanding of half halt, and we are really starting to work on getting him to work long and low while stepping up underneath himself. He takes a bit of warm up and exercises, but most of our rides end with him working great.

    One remaining huge issue I am having is with downward transitions. I would like some ideas on what I should be doing, and possible exercises. I have an instructor that is help me, but I love to hear other ideas, so If you had a horse with this problem what would you do?

    I used to just slam the downward transition down at once with no warning. As that has proved ineffective I am now trying to do lots of preparation to get him to hold himself together. So for example, if I'm trotting wanting to go to a walk, I will do a few half halts, get him on the bit and rounded, and when he is listening I sit deep, relax my hands to allow him to stretch out, in the hopes that he drops down with me.

    Now what he does, as soon as he figures out I'm asking for a slower transition he throws his body heavily onto the forehand, throws himself into the bit, very hard. Gets behind the bit and pulls down/out HARD and will either drop into a uncoordinated for of the lower gait, or rocket off into a strung out, very heavy on the front extended gait.

    Most of the time my walk-stop is fine, with him merely dropping the weight of his head into the bit. The trot-walk is the same, he just stops supporting his own head. The canter to trot is horrible. Normally soon as I sit deep he explodes into a trot that was a lot faster than our canter, pulling hard on the reins and it takes all my will power to slow my post and put some leg on to try and bring him up underneath himself, carry his own freakin head and slow down.

    He pulls hard enough that it looks like I'm pulling the heck out of his mouth (tongue out, mouth agape, neck tense) when I just try and hold the reins. I am NOT pulling, just holding while he pulls against me. If he backs off the bit, I keep my hands in the same place and try to slow him with my seat.

    If I just hold and go with him, he would not slow down on his own. He would continue to blast around the arena. It takes 3-4 half halts to get him off the fore if I use those. Giving him his head (throwing away the reins) makes him confused and stressed. My trainer currently just has me pushing him up and trying to do less half halts, but make the few more meaningful with my seat.

    Now what would you do if you were riding him?
         
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        12-27-2011, 02:21 PM
      #2
    Green Broke
    Make sure you're fit, and do the following.

    When you ask for the transition, are you half halting, leg on, and using your seat? Ask your trainer if you need it explaining properly, I'm rubbish!

    Then, if it were mine, I'd do it like I do lunging- my way or the highway. He's obviously learnt to lean on you. As he does this, give with the reins, and push him on. Forget the transition. Don't let him lean on you, give and take with the reins, leg on, and go.

    I'd also check tack/back to make sure he's not sore at any point and avoiding for a reason..

    GL!
         
        12-27-2011, 02:57 PM
      #3
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DuffyDuck    
    Make sure you're fit, and do the following.

    When you ask for the transition, are you half halting, leg on, and using your seat? Ask your trainer if you need it explaining properly, I'm rubbish!

    Then, if it were mine, I'd do it like I do lunging- my way or the highway. He's obviously learnt to lean on you. As he does this, give with the reins, and push him on. Forget the transition. Don't let him lean on you, give and take with the reins, leg on, and go.

    I'd also check tack/back to make sure he's not sore at any point and avoiding for a reason..

    GL!
    Half halt until the horse feels balanced and is waiting for a que, then sit, asking for the slow down, then leg once the desired gait is achieved. Yup, using all of that.

    The only problem with that idea is that I do have to stop eventually. He's around 23 years old, so letting him 'go until he does it right' isn't in his best interests. Doesn't matter if I keep pushing him on so as I ask for the slower gait, he still plows.

    Vet says he doesn't have any sore areas from the saddle. He has sidebone/ringbone that my vet is aware of and says the riding I am doing is fine, as long as he doesn't get sore on it. (If he twists the joint, when acting up he gimps for a stride) He also some mild arthritis in his hocks, which she also says is fine for riding and that he is improving with exercise. Nothing that should be causing the plowing through the bit, as my Vet says. Its nice to ride with my vet as she lets me know frequently how she thinks he is doing.

    Thank you for the reply though. =)
         
        12-27-2011, 03:00 PM
      #4
    Green Broke
    Ah, 23... the older they get the worse they get ;D

    I thought we were talking about a greenie here!!

    In which case, if he knows what he SHOULD be doing, then I would suggest he's taking the micheal a lot.. and its practise, but like I said, don't let him pull on your arms, give and take, and more leg.
         
        12-27-2011, 03:03 PM
      #5
    Trained
    At 23yo there really isn't any physical skill that you can or should be training him to do. My older herd, that passed away at 24 yo, 27yo and 27yo were developing health problems in their early 20's, so I didn't try to train them further, just enjoyed them. He probably CAN'T do what you are asking him to do. I suggest you just use him to further train you own seat and build up your own physique. Sorry. =(
         
        12-27-2011, 03:11 PM
      #6
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Horsesdontlie    
    I used to just slam the downward transition down at once with no warning. As that has proved ineffective I am now trying to do lots of preparation to get him to hold himself together. So for example, if I'm trotting wanting to go to a walk, I will do a few half halts, get him on the bit and rounded, and when he is listening I sit deep, relax my hands to allow him to stretch out, in the hopes that he drops down with me.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Horsesdontlie    
    Half halt until the horse feels balanced and is waiting for a que, then sit, asking for the slow down, then leg once the desired gait is achieved. Yup, using all of that.

    First...... "I will do a few half halts, get him on the bit and rounded, and when he is listening" when he should have been doing this all along.

    Second..... "relax my hands to allow him to stretch out, in the hopes that he drops down with me". All this did was to allow him to FALL into the transitions because YOU stopped talking to him, balancing him and continue to drive forward all the time...not when he already made the transition THEN start driving all over again.

    Quote:
    Now what he does, as soon as he figures out I'm asking for a slower transition he throws his body heavily onto the forehand, throws himself into the bit, very hard. Gets behind the bit and pulls down/out HARD and will either drop into a uncoordinated for of the lower gait, or rocket off into a strung out, very heavy on the front extended gait.
    Of course he does now because you never connected the transition from one gait to the next...you allowed him to drop into the next gait...you never RODE him into the next gait.

    Quote:
    Now what would you do if you were riding him?
    I never let the horse stop going forward. It is YOUR job to place him to where he can do as you ask.

    I would at this time ask for the transition and the moment he dropped contact or got too heavy he would be aggressively pushed forward with the burden of a "U" turn or direction change so his balance has to be addressed by himself. He will learn to slow down or fall over or slow down or work harder.
         
        12-27-2011, 03:18 PM
      #7
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corporal    
    At 23yo there really isn't any physical skill that you can or should be training him to do. My older herd, that passed away at 24 yo, 27yo and 27yo were developing health problems in their early 20's, so I didn't try to train them further, just enjoyed them. He probably CAN'T do what you are asking him to do. I suggest you just use him to further train you own seat and build up your own physique. Sorry. =(
    I'm sorry to say that I disagree. There is never a reason to stop training just because their old. I always take physical ability and age into account, but Jake has the physique of a much younger horse. My vet couldn't guess his age from how he looks, she has to go by his teeth. She says he has the body of a 17-18 year old. He can't do a canter to trot transition? I'm pretty sure he can, I'm just doing something wrong as Spyder is pointing out.

    We can always learn and we can always improve.
    DuffyDuck likes this.
         
        12-27-2011, 03:28 PM
      #8
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Spyder    
    When he should have been doing this all along.
    Its been a long process to get him onto the bit, I explained that a little poorly. I'm playing a fine line between getting him to relax and keeping his attention. If I keep him alert, then he gets worked up and hot. Then if I keep him too calm he doesn't focus. So for now I've been trying to balance between the two. So if I'm cantering for a lap in one direction, want to break to a trot, I have to give notice that I'm going to ask for it. Typically I try to slow down his current gait and bring him more underneath himself then he was moving at the working gait. Is this a wrong way to think about transitions? I don't want him to stop being forward, but to prepare himself to be able to break into the slow gait.

    Quote:
    Second.....All this did was to allow him to FALL into the transitions because YOU stopped talking to him, balancing him and continue to drive forward all the time...not when he already made the transition THEN start driving all over again.

    Of course he does now because you never connected the transition from one gait to the next...you allowed him to drop into the next gait...you never RODE him into the next gait.
    This does make sense, then what should I do from there? Should I remain constant with my hands then while driving forward?

    Quote:
    I never let the horse stop going forward. It is YOUR job to place him to where he can do as you ask.

    I would at this time ask for the transition and the moment he dropped contact or got too heavy he would be aggressively pushed forward with the burden of a "U" turn or direction change so his balance has to be addressed by himself. He will learn to slow down or fall over or slow down or work harder.
    As he is very easily frustrated, how much driving do I do without throwing him mind to the clouds? I'm trying to figure out how to not fight him. Which is my biggest problem, his first reaction is to fight, as that was mine for a long time, I'm trying to turn that around for the both of us.
         
        12-27-2011, 03:38 PM
      #9
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Horsesdontlie    
    Typically I try to slow down his current gait and bring him more underneath himself then he was moving at the working gait. Is this a wrong way to think about transitions? I don't want him to stop being forward, but to prepare himself to be able to break into the slow gait.
    If the canter is balanced there is no need to slow him down(unless you are going from an extended gait). He should be in the gait that will allow for a transition ANYWHERE with only one minor half halt. The half halt BTW is NOT just to tell him something is going to happen but to get the hind legs aligned to do what you plan on next.

    Redirect the energy into something like a shoulder in that will make it easier for you to maintain speed control. Continue the shoulder in position into a "U" turn if the transition doesn't happen. That way the impulsion is still there but he will be busy thinking of balance and will slow down naturally without any pulling or loss of control.

    Be prepared to switch your "U" turn into a different direction..all the while still riding him forward.
         
        12-27-2011, 03:47 PM
      #10
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Spyder    
    If the canter is balanced there is no need to slow him down(unless you are going from an extended gait). He should be in the gait that will allow for a transition ANYWHERE with only one minor half halt. The half halt BTW is NOT just to tell him something is going to happen but to get the hind legs aligned to do what you plan on next.

    Redirect the energy into something like a shoulder in that will make it easier for you to maintain speed control. Continue the shoulder in position into a "U" turn if the transition doesn't happen. That way the impulsion is still there but he will be busy thinking of balance and will slow down naturally without any pulling or loss of control.

    Be prepared to switch your "U" turn into a different direction..all the while still riding him forward.
    Alright, gives me once again a bit of a different thinking. That will also give me something to work on. Thank you for the reply Syder, it helps and I appreciate it! I'll have to try it today and see if I have anymore questions on how to execute it.
         

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