walk canter transitions

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walk canter transitions

This is a discussion on walk canter transitions within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How to get walk to canter transition
  • Help with walk to canter transition

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    09-13-2009, 09:05 PM
walk canter transitions

I have a 6 year old throughbred off the track that I have been working with for 2 years. We are now trying to get our walk canter transitions. He goes into the canter at the trot no problom, but he can't figure how to roll back and use his hind end to start. I have used a crop to create alot of energy at the walk and then relese him, but he just runs through the trot then canters. He gets his leads no problom. I have started lounging him with side reins as this helps alot with his rounding out his back. Any suggestions?
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    09-13-2009, 09:38 PM
Super Moderator
I've trained 2 horses to do a walk to canter transition and basically I just ask for the canter from a trot the first time during the session and once the horse is a little more energized from cantering I ask for the canter from the walk. At first it seems to take them a step or two of trotting but after working on it for a month or so they seem to get the muscle to take out the trot steps. My mare is still in the one or two trot steps place but that's only because I only canter her once or twice a month.

I'm not sure that's the "correct" way to do it but it works for me! =)
    09-13-2009, 11:38 PM
Make sure you can move get him right over his hind legs in walk before you try walk-canter. He has to understand half halts and be able to take the weight over his hind legs in canter as well without falling in/out.
It's easier for them to learn walk-canters on a circle rather than a staight line so get him going nicely with some soft walk - trot - canter- trot transitions. Start asking him to do fewer and fewer steps of trot between walk and canter so he starts sharpening up to your aids and prerparing himself for the next transition.
From walk, sit deeply on your inside seat bone and use your hip and leg to 'lift' him into canter. If he puts a few trots strides in that is acceptable for learning, but don't change your aids when he starts to trot - just keep in a canter seat until he picks it up, them make it comfortable for him with a nice relaxed canter.
    09-14-2009, 06:20 PM
Kayty makes some good points. When making walk - trot - canter transitions, make sure he is staying balanced in all three gaits, don't canter if he is running in the trot. Never sacrifice the quality of the gaits just to "get something", chances are if you teach him to do something wrong just to "get it", its going to become habit and he'll always do it wrong.
A good exercise for walk - canter transitions is to work on a 20m diameter circle in the walk (after warming up - of course) and then turn onto an 8-10m volte (aka small circle) in the walk. Immediately when you return ot your 20m circle line, ask for the canter. Don't lean forward, don't wiggle around or fling the reins at him, just bring your outside leg back and ask - he should just go. If he doesn't, then teach him what you mean. Just go forward, balanced and make it into the canter. Repeat until he gets it.
    09-14-2009, 08:57 PM
Green Broke
In my opinion crops are for beginner/intermediate riders and jumping/cross country. While people use them to enforce the leg aids, if you have your own horse who you are starting to teach to do more than the bare basic you should train them to be sensitive of the leg. If you do need an aid to help with this use a dressage/schooling whip that you can use without having to twist around as you do with the crop (as the area behind the leg in the correct place to use crop to reinforce leg aids).

Do walk/halt transitions, getting him used to listening to you stopping and starting. Then work on walk/trot and trot/halt. Then try your walk to canter. Give your aid for the canter and continue giving your aid until the horse canters. Repeat and eventually he should just jump into a canter.

Something little to help, although only a very temporary help, is to ask for a canter in exactly the same spot each time. The horse will learn to expect it here and be ready to jump right in. Once they understand the walk/canter you can use it elsewhere. You do basically the same thing with the halt/canter.

I find I use walk to canter much more than trot to canter. I like teaching my young horses to go walk to canter quite early. This sort of saves their trot from being rushed all the time. It also makes them listen at the walk and the canter seems to be more controlled - but in an older, more trained horse this shouldn't matter.
    09-14-2009, 09:10 PM
No tips here but, with Galen, I did walk/canter transitions as well as walk/halt and I just asked her to go with my outside leg and she went. . But that's Galen. With Ru, same thing, but you have to be in perfect position or he won't go. :P
    09-14-2009, 11:28 PM
He needs to want to go, but in a positive way or else he will just get all strung out. I think you should work on collection to getting him moving from his hind end and bending to get him moing off your leg. Also doing a 20 minute transiton warm up will get him on the bit and actively listening to your leg, if the exersize works like its supposed to, he should transition up with even the slightest pressure on his sides and down with a twitch of your fingers on the reins.
    09-15-2009, 07:47 PM
Before I work on walk/canter transitions with my OTTB, I do leg yielding, shoulder-fore and ride squares at the walk to get his energy shifted toward the back of the bus. I don't attempt a canter transition until he's solidly o the bit and working from behind. When I do start asking for the transition, I always give him a half halt one stride before I ask him to canter so he's not surprised. Then I ask only in corners at first. This helps him stay balanced and it also lets him anticipate the transition a little. I know you're not supposed to do anything with horses that lets them anticipate, but with a new movement, I feel like it takes a little edge off for the horse and helps him not get frustrated if the "when" part is already solved.

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