Teaching Flying Changes
So I know the basics of it, using a pole and going on the diagonal. My mare doesn't know flying changes even a little bit, as we only just got her canter slow and collected. She is doing great with it, as well as her leads, and I feel she is ready to learn them.
So today we tried the pole thing only........it didn't really work. My friend suggested trying simple changes, so tomorrow when I ride I'm going to canter left over the pole, turn right, trot, and pick up the right canter a few times over and over until she can predict it. I WANT her to predict it. After several tries I'm going to try doing it at the canter. This is the best way I can think to teach her flying changes.
Does anyone have any other tips or ideas? My other friend said to cluck and cue with the correct foot as a 'cue' to switch. I'm not sure I'm doing it right. We picked up the left canter, went over a pole in the middle and as we went over the pole I checked on the outside (right) rein while cuing with my left heel as I normally would. Is that right?
Any tips would be great. Thanks!
We started in a very similar way to you guys, and this method worked quite well for us. :) We raised the pole up just a smidge on a cavaletti block, to help them get the idea at first and give them a little bit more 'jump' (literally) to make it easier. After doing that a couple times and getting it consistent, over a pole we started trying to get the feeling of leg yielding over to the wall to balance them out and lighten the inside shoulder so they could get the new lead. So, say you were going from right lead to left lead: you would establish a nice balanced, bouncy canter, approach your pole, and 3 or 4 strides out apply the aids for leg yield off your left leg. Over the pole, bump with your outside right leg while keeping your outside rein. Same aids you would to get her to pick up the correct lead regularly, but you might have to ask her a bit stronger. :) Hope that helps! Let me know how you get on!
Correct riding is most important. You must be able to sit quietly in the saddle and shift your hip and seat and cue with the correct leg just as if you were asking for the new lead from a trot. My mare doesn't know flying lead changes, but she's so balanced and correct that a really good coach/trainer can coax them out of her across a diagonal line and into a new corner just by correct riding, balance and cues.
If you don't know how to train flying changes, then I wouldn't. I've been riding for 28 years and training for half my life and I've never trained flying chanes and won't on my mare without supervision because I want them done correctly a especially being a Dressage horse, she must learn them correctly so as to not affect her counter canter by doing automatic changes on me.
The pole is just a pole and will never teach chanes if you're not able to correctly cue her and encourage the change.
Best of luck!
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