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?
Just keep practicing, do alot of them and let the horse know when they are doing a good job.
Keep clear ques for them.
Is he falling on his forehand?
Selena does ths well. For her, getting balance was a lot of holding her face in the snaffle and drivinggg her butt under her with my legs and seat. In a bump-squeeze-bump-squeeze motion until she figured out the best place to be was with her shoulder picked up but still soft in the face. I found that if I held her gently into the transition and supported her, she became softer and more balanced through them.
If she REALLY fell on the forehand, to the point of slapping her face on the ground, I would go ahead and stop and back her up a few steps.
Yes he does fall on his forehand.
So I know it seems dumb...
Because on a pattern from a large fast to a small slow I was taught to stop driving with my hips (but don't stop riding and sit down like for the stop)gave a very quiet verbal cue "easy" and he will shut down right now from a gallop to a slow lope.
I guess I am not sure how to get that same shut down changing gaits but knowing the know the difference between speed control and gait change because in a pattern I don't want him to break to a trot when asking for a small slow. Does that make sense?
I ride my horses like a combo of a reiner and a barrel horse so they have a rate command of "easy" or "whoa" or "here" or whatever. I'd do pretty much the same thing. I would expect it to go like this:
Galloping > Say 'Easy' and sit down > Slow lope
Slow Lope > Say 'Easy' and sit down > Trot
Trot > Say 'Easy' and sit down > Walk
It's gonna be about feel though, too. Some horses will shut down and try to trot easier than others. You'll have to play around and see how much intensity you have to have to keep him going at the lope but still slow down. Some horses I find are not apt to break to a trot from a fast circle just because it's more effort than just slowing down the gait...
Ok thanks :)
To stop properly, he's gotta be moving properly. If he goes from on his hind to on his fores... you didn't prepare him. Stopping then backing up is a good tool. As is using as little pressure as necessary to see a change.
Lots of transitions between gaits is helpful. If the transition sucks, go back to the one you were at before
Example: walk to trot.. the horse should be listening to your aids and step into the new gait instead of leaping or shuffling or going really fast until they break over into it. Slow down, regroup.. ask again.
Canter to trot.. Slowwwwwwwly wind them down. Jerking or springing the transition on them = leads to ugly ugly behavior. Over time you can ask for more immediate but starting out, I think slowly would work best. Get your aides right, prepare them.. and over time as they improve you can ask quicker the next go around.
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