Critique our Transitions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Critique our Transitions

This is in response to a thread I had asking about how to improve transitions. I thought posting a video of Navigator and I, and getting some feedback would be helpful for us.

This is just a short video of us doing walk-trot-canter-trot-walk, both directions. Would love some critiques specific to the transitions, but if there's anything else you notice please let me know. I've been in a bit of a slump lately and I feel like I don't know how to ride a horse anymore, and I fixate on the bad...so any tips on seeing the good in a ride might be helpful as well (I can't be the only one who struggles with that, right?)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSJBVPeHvDg
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 12:32 PM
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Your walk-trot and trot-walk transitions are quite good. They're nice and quiet, from what I can see, and your horse looks pretty responsive. The only thing I would note is that he seems to rush into his canter a bit. Nothing major, though. Your horse has a nice big stride and you seem to be a quiet and effective rider.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 12:34 PM
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The other thing I would note is to maybe give him a bit more rein on the downward transitions.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, we have definitely been doing more work on our walk/trot transitions.

And I will try giving more on downward transitions when I go out today!
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 01:34 PM
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that's a good video! short and showing the pertinent points without obnoxious music or fluff! well done.

you have a very nice, sympathetic seat. by that I mean you ride soft and solid, (no bouncing around), not hard in the saddle, no driving. you sit very tall and stable but not hard, your hands are steady as a result of your steady seat. you tend to ride a bit light and forward in your seat, as if you were riding a yougster. (is he young?) all of this makes for a horse that finds it easy to go forward.

the problem is, that with this horse is finding it so easy that he isn't putting in enough energy, and your are not utilizing his energy as well as you could. I mean, your hands, while very good at following his motion and rock steady in position, are a bit too far forward, and too "allowing". with your elbows out, you are allowing too much of the horses energy to fall forward. it's , again, almost as if you are riding a young horse who is unsure about going forward and you are being a bit "dainty" about taking a contact on his mouth for fear of destroying that forward.

But, since he is a heavy horse, he MUST work harder to be able to do energetic and balanced transitions. he must push more, and you must contain more , in order to translate some of the "forward" energy into "carrying" energy.

#1 bring your elbows in and connect them to your core. ride more from your core.

#2 allow with your hands only when he has given you more energy, as you've asked. and only after he comes up a bit softer on the bit, with a bit of lift in front.

the good thing about heavy horses is that when they do soften on the bit, and raise their front, the change in feel is really dramatic.

all in all, this is a picture of a nice pair who work together well with tons of potential.
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 02:47 PM
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I agree with what others have said- only thing to add is try not to do a transition without a half halt to bring him under himself and balance him. Especially those canters. Its gotta start nice to be nice. And like Tiny said hands- they cannot be passive. I don't mean toss away your lovely quiet hands- I mean stick up for your elbows. He pokes his nose out and pulls- then you NEED to react- flexion is your friend. work on bending him throughout his body switch everything up so he is constantly having to think about your aids. I know you asked about transitions but I swear it helps.
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 03:09 PM
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You have a lovely position! I love your downward transitions from trot to walk, they're very clear and soft.

Your upward transition of canter needs more energy but he's not bad at all.

Now the upward to trot, I don't feel you are riding through the transition but kind of cueing and waiting for him to respond. It's probably another lack of energy result. Upward transitions should be fluid but also energetic. I noticed your elbows didn't really change the entire ride, so I'm in agreement with tinyliny and lostastirrup that you need to bring your arms closer to your core, and really harness the energy he gives, and when you ask for more energy via your legs it'll be a huge change.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 03:32 PM
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I think he'll improve as he learns to soften to your hand and come into a more collected outline - at present you're doing your best to ride him forwards but there's nothing there at the other end to contain his energy and impulsion so he ends up 'running' and too flat
For the downwards transitions - no you don't want a looser longer rein - if you do that he's just going to fall into them and become unbalanced - you take your horse into a downwards transition by riding him into a 'light resisting hand' that way he stays on the contact and doesn't lose the energy to pick up the cue for trot immediately when asked
Try some exercises where you work in an active trot then go into walk for just a few strides and then back into trot
I don't know how long you've had him in training but collection, elevation and impulsion don't happen overnight and you do have him going forwards well off your leg which is a positive
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for your comments.

I will definitely try to bring my elbows in more and not be quite so giving all the time. I think I worry about holding him too much and pulling on him because he has a history of leaning on the bit and pulling back. So that may be why I'm so light with my hands.

He's 10, but he's pretty green. We've just picked up serious riding again after a couple years of pretty sporadic here and there riding. So there is a lot to work on.

Unfortunately when I went out to ride today he was limping! :( A farrier is coming out this afternoon to see another horse so I'm going to see if he has time to give Nav a check.
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-23-2015, 06:36 PM
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Agree with what others have said and have stuff to add. There were a few steps when you started tracking left at the trot when your horse was chewing on the bit a little and thinking about softening, so he's got it in him. What I would add to what you are already doing are two things:

1. Transitions within the gait, especially at the trot. Right now he's just going through the motions. At the trot, ride him very forward, then bring him back for a few tiny steps, and then send him forward again. Don't worry about getting true lengthening or anything fancy. What you want accomplish is a horse who is locked onto you for whatever is coming next. If he's got one ear back on you, you'll know you're in business.

2. Establish the outside rein. Say you're doing the above thing, transitions within the trot. Trot squares. Larger trot for a few steps, approach corner in a smaller trot and use your outside rein to make the turn as if you're doing a 1/4 turn on the forehand. You notice I didn't mention the inside leg. It's because you'll need it no matter what to make that turn with the outside rein. I think you'll quickly find you get results in those turns. Your horse will suddenly have that outside rein to balance on and most likely reach into it with each new turn. It's also going to give your horse some much needed bend through his body in each corner and unlock some of his stiffer parts. Try to keep a good feel on that outside rein while keeping your elbows soft and giving. Think fish on a line, and the outside rein in that line. You'll know the feeling when you feel it the first time.

You're closer than you think. keep it up!
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You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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