6 tips to help you nail downward transitions

  • Whether in training at home or while out competing, downward transitions are a necessity. But although we ride them frequently, it can be easy to forget how to ride them correctly. Here, event rider Franky Reid-Warrilow (pictured) gives her top tips on how to ride perfect downward transitions…

    1. Practise half halts — make sure your horse doesn’t drop behind your leg. If you can focus at keeping them in front of your leg, it will aid a much smoother transition.

    2. Practise half steps — when in trot, for example, practise going at half speed. Slow down without coming to a walk. The key here again is to not let your horse drop behind your leg, but to make sure they are waiting for you for their next instruction. Once you can master five steps like this, you can then slow to a walk.

    3. Practise accuracy — be strict with yourself when deciding when you are going to do the transition, and make sure you practise hitting your markers.

    4. Preparation — don’t just get your marker and think ‘woah’. You need to go through the process in your mind so you are able to let the horse know what he is doing. Help him understand the steps you will take to prepare for the outcome you need.

    5. Don’t pull — only use the reins as a last resort when teaching a young horse. Pulling will stop the horse travelling forwards in the transition — the instructions need to come from your seat and leg aid. When practising you can also use your voice.

    6. Don’t treat it like an emergency stop!

    Now you’ve got that advice in mind, take a look at these dressage competitions available to enter where you can show off what you’ve learnt…

    Express dressage

    Date: 28 November
    Venue: Tilery Equestrian Centre, Northumberland
    Details: “This competition allows you to not only choose which dressage test you do, but also the time at which you do it. Classes from intro to novice.”
    Enter now

    British Dressage

    Date: 1 December
    Venue: Bluegate Hall Farm, near Braintree
    Details: “This affiliated competition features classes ranging between prelim and elementary with qualifiers. The warm-up will be indoors, with competition taking place outdoors.”
    Enter now

    Unaffiliated dressage

    Date: 1 December
    Venue: Moreton Equestrian Centre, Dorchester
    Details: “This show features classes from intro to prix st georges, plus pick your own British Eventing test option too.”
    Enter now

    British Dressage

    Date: 2 December
    Venue: Barleyfields Equestrian Centre, Derby
    Details: “This affiliated show has prelim to elementary classes with summer qualifiers.”
    Enter now

    Unaffiliated dressage plus Quest Club

    Date: 2 December
    Venue: Netherton Equestrian Centre, Perth
    Details: “Classes from intro to medium including Quest Club sections and a small selection of qualifiers.”
    Enter now

    Mid-week morning dressage

    Date: 5 December
    Venue: Tumpy Green Equestrian Centre, Cam
    Details: “This competition includes classes from intro up to elementary.”
    Enter now

    Visit equo.co.uk for full competition and training listings

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