Flying Lead Changes And Forward and downward In Dressage
I was wondering if any of you have any ways of teaching flying lead changes and forward and downward in dressage. Mainly the flying lead changes but also if you have some techinques on how to get your horse to travel with impulsion and with its head lowered I would love to hear your advice!!!. The way I have been teaching forward and downward is squeezing with my fingers and slackening the rein while squeezing gently with my legs. Is there any neater and more succesful techniques?
Well to get a long and low frame (which I think is what Maddie is trying to say) I:
Lower my hands to my knees and maintain a light contact whilst squeezing with my calves to keep the impulsion. Tess goes long and low.
Maddie: Also, I was thinking that while you have a slackened reins as you described and you squeeze your reins with your fingers, what is that telling the horse exactly? Will the horse FEEL what you ask? Not being a B**** by saying this but by doing it the way you are Elle or Eddie are probably thinking "What the heck does she wan't?"
Yeah but how did you teach Elle to go on the bit? By Jiggllig the reins. She may be getting confused?
By doing it my way I am Encouraging her to go long and low by lowering my hands. Whereas if I have my hands up higher It is telling her to carry her head on the bit and with a flexed poll. Know what I mean?
Benefits: This Exercise alternatively lengthens & shortens your horses topline while keeping him very dynamic in the gait. It is useful for placid horses & less valuable for the impulsive horse who tense when the tempo changes. How to Ride- 1. Begin at a foward working trot with a nice even rythm, works best on a 20 mtr circle. 2. Create a soft contact with your horse in a collected working frame. 3. Continue on the circle, progressively lengthen the reins and drive your horse forward in to a brisk, energetic trot. Really push the trot out, aim for the big moving forward strides. Preperation is the key. Once established this foward trot then move on to the next step, although your horse has to stay sensible and responsive at all times. Take as long as it gets to get your horses attention. 4. Ride this circle once keeping the same tempo and maintaining the longer frame with forward trot. 5. Little by little shorten the reins to regain the collected frame whilst continuing to push out the trot. 6. Ride twice around in the collected frame to mix it up. You don’t want your horse expecting your next move. Repeat this exercise several times on both directions. 7.End on a good note, even if you don't finish the exercise if you simply get a nice soft trot you asked for. Be happy! Keep in Mind: It may take time for some horses to comprehend this exercise let alone get the rhythm to it. (Some horses will automaticly put there head low others will star gaze but treat this exercise the same and you should end up riding your horses head down.) Slowly and surely with persistence, kind training and a soft hand they will begin to enjoy swinging from their hindquarters and blowing through their nose. Give your horse time to relax into the work. As you ask for your horse to extend visualize driving your horse into the forehand by your seat. The topline should represent open and closing. Remember fast and slow is not the issue, it is maintaining the tempo and balance. If you persist with this exercise not only will your horses muscles improve, but you will have a responsive, supple horse. Collected/Working frame Long & Low frame
Once a horse is working evenly, correctly and confidently into a contact, with adequate impulsion, engagement and swing over the back, it will naturally wish to stretch long and low over the back. Achieving a 'pretty head' by jiggling the reins and them expecting the horse to travel long and low does not cut it. The horse may lower its head, but it will fall immediately onto the forehand and completely eliminate the whole point of long and low, which is to stretch and lift the back and neck.
Don't bother with flying changes until you learn how to ride the horse forward into the contact or you're horse will struggle - being on the forehand through a change will probably lead to your horse becoming disunited and very sour.
I suggest you find a good dressage instructor (not just a pony club instructor) and learn how to ride a horse forward and through, which will lead to long and low.