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Abby 03-24-2008 02:37 PM

Bad Transitions
Ive been working on nothing but walk trot transitions however my horse still does terrible.

His walk to trot goes like this:

(walking) 1-2-3-4.. 1-2-3-4.. (transition begins)3-4(1-2 rear up about one inch off the ground) 1-3 2-4... falls into a nice trot.

beausgirl 03-24-2008 04:23 PM

How old is your horse? It sounds like he is maybe just trying to get his balance? My youngest gelding did this for quite a while when ever I transitioned from a walk to a trot - it wasn't a "rear" - more like a "hop" into the faster gait? Is this what your horse is doing? If so, I wouldn't worry about it - as he gets more experienced and balanced, this little "hop-skip-and-a-jump" will disappear, and he'll move into his new gait smoothley.

Abby 03-24-2008 05:05 PM

Yea it is a hop I guess, he is 8 years old.

mlkarel2010 03-24-2008 08:49 PM

what we do if they dont transistion well is speed them up more.... it sounds crazy, but it works.... and do lunging transitions first

Abby 03-24-2008 09:16 PM

Usually when he does a bad transition I continue to make him trot and spin him in a tight circle and then transition down to walk and then ask it again. If he transitions well, I give him a few more strides then let him walk and give him his head as a release.

Its not working out so I need a few other ideas :?

I'll try the speeding up. Anyone else?

koomy56 03-24-2008 10:25 PM

Horses that hop up through transitions are evading having to use themselves to push forward. So to them, it is easier to hop up into the transition, instead of moving [b]forward through the transition. Make sense?
I would take a few steps back, and work on getting him to push forward from the halt to the walk. If he accepts a dressage whip, grab one. At the halt, ask him to move forward by gently tapping his behind with the whip. You want to get the sensation he steps underneath himself and pushes himself forward, rather than pulling himself forward with the front end. When he takes a step, pat him, and stop him again. Dont stop too soon, as you would be contradicting the exercise by immediately taking the forward away. Repeat until you touch him w/ your legs, and he's already offering to push forward without the aid of the whip. Once you feel he's got that down pat, then you can begin to work on transitions within the walk. At the walk, ask for a more crisp walk. If he hops up instead of walking faster, take one rein and slightly and passively turn his head until he walks. Refrain from tight circles, as it reinforces his want to not moving forward. Taking one rein and quietly breaking his want to trot instead of using himself will break his pattern in a non-aggressive and non-confusing way.
Once you are able to walk slow, then walk fast, then walk slow, then walk fast smoothly, you can move up to asking for the trot. Use the whip if you can, let your hands go forward and tapp his behind into the trot and feel if it improves. If you feel the hop up as you are asking, just continue to tap his behind until he makes an effort to move away from it, which will be forward. :) Once he does, reward by allowing him to walk, then repeat over and over.
Simply put, hopping up is an evasion to going forward. So go back and work on the steps leading up to the trot and forget about the actual walk-trot transitions until he re-learns how to propel himself forward in the correct manner.
Good luck! Be patient! :)

Abby 03-24-2008 10:37 PM

He is a very forward horse as it is and constantly craves to go faster and faster, would this exercise still help him?

I can tell you right now he pulls himself forward constantly, except up hills. He knows how to use his hind quarters going up hills and he uses them well.

He will do a smooth transition on the lunge line at times but never under saddle, I may have experienced one or two smooth transitions of all my time of riding with him. I think in all fairness I should state that he is 8 years old, and had about a year off then was started back under saddle in November.

mlkarel2010 03-24-2008 10:44 PM

I saw at a Stacy Westfall demo that horses who do that are lazy and are trying not to use their legs, and try to jump to compensate.... then the speeding up thing will work

koomy56 03-25-2008 12:25 AM

Horses who do not know how, or want to use themselves correctly will in fact have the want to go fast because it is easier. Going fast and speeding along doesnt make them have to exert energy needed to have strong gaits. Forward, in this case, does not mean faster. It means having a sense of the general forward momentum, but having the engine in the trunk, not the hood. :) I think to improve your horse's balance and self-carriage, you should practice the exercise I mentioned, but also encourage your horse to travel at slower gaits to make him stronger. :) Make sense?
Some horses have no idea they even have a back end, so bringing it to their attention and teaching them how to put everything into a package takes some time and patience. But an amazing learning experience for the both of you!

beausgirl 03-25-2008 12:49 PM

koomy56 has some very valid points. I do believe the hop has a lot to do with balance, and of course, if your horse is well under himself with his rear end, he will be more balanced. So your horse is 8, but is he just being broke to ride now? Because whether he's 4 or 8, if he's started carrying a rider, he will need to learn how to do that. If you can get him on the bit, collected and nicely rounded at a walk, then driving him forward into a trot should become smoother. But he must be able to collect up at a walk first. So you "hold" him with your reins so that he is on the bit, but at the same time you squeeze him with your legs and drive his back end up into the bit. This will sort of "bunch" him up - collect him - and he learns to use his hind end to drive him moreso than his front end. His whole way of moving will become smoother and softer the more he learns to drive with his back end instead of relying on his front end to "pull" him forward. You will feel him when he does round his back. So when you feel him collect under you, then you can probably start asking him for that transition into a trot.

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