I said "oh, I get it" today, gait transitions and speed control within gaits.
Reading threads on here about folks asking about how to teach balanced stops I have noticed, mostly english riders I think, talk about working on downward gait transitions to help teach balanced stops.
Riding some sort of cowhorse/reiner/ranch horse all my life, there just is no need to transition from a lope down to a trot in a pattern. Nor would I ever want my horse to think it is acceptable to break gait during a pattern. And with a ranch horse sure I need to be able to transition through gaits but I just usually use a little seat and a rein check, but never worried about the quality of the downward transition. So these are one of those things I never spend a whole lot of time on.
I have been preparing for a stock horse show next month. One of the classes is a stock horse pleasure which shows gait transitions and speed control within all gaits. Stilts is a hard stopper on cattle and is beautiful going down the fence but stopping on a pattern leaves a little to be desired, admittedly that is my fault due to some bad habits. Anyhow the last couple of days I had been working on downward transitions because they were required in the pleasure class and wanted to make sure they were smooth. I had noticed right away that he seems to want to "fall down" into them rather remained balanced which makes for an ugly transition.....and wait for it......an ugly stop....now I get it!
So after 2 days of working on transitions(they are not seamless yet) , then asked for a couple of stops and I noticed a big improvement.
I realize this seems so basic to most but really I have never been taught about the importance of good transitions. But I am pretty excited about my revelation..lol!
Does anyone have tips they would like to share for good downward transitions?
I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.