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

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  • 1 Post By Kayty

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    08-20-2012, 02:25 AM

I am out of practice with riding and a few months ago I trained my horse to be ridden and all is going well except for when I ask for him from the trot to canter and canter to the trot I loose my nice form and my toes go down and the stirrup slips. When I ride a fully broke horse I don't do this, probably because the other horse I have ridden goes into the canter as soon as you ask and my horse needs a little more encouragement. I know what I'm doing wrong, but does anyone have any suggestions to help me to stop doing this? Or is it just going to be practice, practice, practice?
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    08-20-2012, 09:26 AM
Pop your stirrups up a few holes. Sounds like you're hanging on with your knees through the transitions, shortening your stirrups will give you a wider area of balance to help you stop relying on your knees to hold you up. On a green, unbalanced horse the last thing you want it to be unbalanced yourself. All that will achieve is a horse who loses confidence and will never give a balanced transition.
As the rider, it is our job to remain balanced and central in the saddle, to give the horse the best chance underneath us.
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    08-20-2012, 04:04 PM
Thank you. I will try that and see how it goes.
    08-22-2012, 11:31 AM
Shorten the stirrups up so you can balance more when you are doing the canter then work to taking the stirrups away and canter this will help your position and balance then gradually work from high to low in the canter or ask some one to lunge you or you could possible use spurs to aid with the transition.
    08-22-2012, 09:43 PM
Originally Posted by ShaneBaybutt    
Shorten the stirrups up so you can balance more when you are doing the canter then work to taking the stirrups away and canter this will help your position and balance then gradually work from high to low in the canter or ask some one to lunge you or you could possible use spurs to aid with the transition.
The horse in question is young and green by the sounds of the original post.
If this is the case, I wouldn't be removing stirrups completely - that's great for rider position -> on an established horse. NOT on a green horse.
The OP also said that their heel comes up and they lose balance - spurs? BAD idea.
    08-24-2012, 11:39 AM
A good trot to canter transitions should go "up in two and down in three" and a good canter to trot transition should go "up in three down in two". If your horse is dwelling in his transitions, he's not balanced meaning you will also lose your balance if you don't know how to ask for the correct transition, shortening your stirrups won't help this. In transitions, half-halts are your friends. They are preparatory and balancing cue, not a slowing down cue. They tell your horse, "hey we are about to do something, so get ready". It sounds like the issue is your horse isn't ready to stand out to your hand.

You can try this:
Start at the walk and "comb" the reins. At walk, ask your horse for an inside bend, when you feel him relax and slow down, let the reins slip through your fingers. Pick your reins back up and repeat, repeat, repeat. Once you get this down at the walk, do it at the trot. This will teach your horse to stand out to your hand and it will be a lot easier for him to perform upward and downward transitions. Once your horse stands out to your hand you can ride your transitions (upward and downward) leg to hand.

To work trot to canter, make sure your horse is relaxed and standing out to your hand. Sit your trot, use a half-halt to balance and prepare your horse and make sure he is out to your hand and ask your horse to canter by rolling onto your outside seatbone and use your outside leg. If your horse does not go right into a canter, halt, back up 2-3 steps and try again.

Good luck!

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