Desi and I are having problems with our trot to canter transitions. When we are trotting, I have been getting her to soften and collect, which she is now doing by herself! With our trot to canter transitions, she will be doing a nice trot. when I ask her to canter she either trots really fast then goes in to a full out gallop or just goes into a full out gallop. How can I stop this?!
Ok, you're getting this reaction from her because she's NOT collected, or even engaged/on the bit. Dropping her head is not collected.
You need to engage her hind legs, which will them allow her to push off the outside hind into the canter transition, without losing her balance.
Right now, it sounds like she is unbalanced, so runs into the canter transition, and when she finally breaks into it, she's still unbalanced so has to canter super fast to stay on her feet.
You need to slow everything down, and concentrate on her hind end, not her head. Don't even worry about her head being stuck up in the air, all you want right now, is for her to place more weight on her hind legs, than her front legs. The head position will develop as she gets stronger.
A really good exercise that I love to use to improve trot-canter-trot transitions, is to start on a 20m circle in a good, active trot. Leg yield off your outside leg, to make the circle around 15m, then start to leg yield off your inside leg, towards 20m again. At around 18m, ask for canter, while continuing to leg yield off your inside leg. Canter only half, to one, 20m circle, then come back to trot and immediately start leg yielding off the outside leg again.
This exercise has helped immensely in all of the horse's I have tried it on, that have issues with balance and engagement in the upwards transitions. Basically you are connecting the inside hind to outside rein, which will begin to develop a swinging back and gradually the transition will become more balanced, softer and more engaged.
I suspect this is where the issue sits ;)
Collection- Getting a horse on it's hindquarters, while being on the bit.
I ask her by squeezing my fingers and slightly pulling back, while pushing her forward. :)
There's your problem. Collection is nothing to do with being 'on the bit' - throw that phrase out of your vocab.
In Dressase, the aim is the NEVER pull back. The hands can only go forward, up, or sideways. Never backwards. As soon as you put pulling pressure on the mouth, you are bringing the bit back to the horse and blocking the hind legs. Instead, you need to be riding the hind legs up to the bit.
I suggest that you rest your fists/knuckles on your horse's wither while you ride, keep them dead still - the only movement allowed is to follow the horse's topline in walk and canter.
You then need to learn to ride the hind legs forward, use your seat to control the speed. Hands are there only as a supportive aid, they 'complete' the circuit of connection, they do not start it.
Basically, if you pull backwards, you push the hind legs backwards. Push the hind legs forward, and the horse's head and neck will be pushed forward to seek the bit - if your hands are still and quiet.
It's a very complicated process and is best taught over time with a good coach on the ground helping you. When you can ride the hind legs up to your hand - I PROMISE your trot-canter transition will improve 10 fold.
Thank you soo much, Kayty!
Desi was amazing today. (:
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