The secrets behind riding perfect transitions

  • We can’t get away from them. Even moving from halt to walk with your horse counts as a transition. Whether you’re under the watchful eye of a dressage judge, or you just want to be able to establish your horse’s work on a day-to-day basis, nailing transitions is something you’re going to need to get right every time.

    Here are some useful tips on how to perfect transitions:

    1. Transitions are the ultimate exercise for training your horse better balance and collection. Your horse is naturally balanced on the forehand, so if you sit on your horse and let him move on long reins, 60 percent of his total weight is on the forehand. If you go forwards to trot or canter, the horse goes more on the forehand, and you want to avoid that. Essentially you want your horse to take most of his weight behind, but this takes time and patience.
    1. The last stride of the previous pace should be active forwards and the first stride of the next pace the same energy and stride length as the following strides as opposed to a gradual energy pick up.
    1. If your horse doesn’t respond to your leg within one stride of you asking for an upwards transition, make a more deliberate aid, making sure the horse reacts positively and you allow him to move forwards without you nagging him with your leg. Always remember that when you ask you horse to go forwards and he responds, that you are soft with your hands — do not restrict him down the rein as this gives a mixed message to your horse.

    1. Don’t think backwards when riding a downward transition. Instead push your horse forwards so that his hind-leg comes underneath him. This also helps to prevent your horse dropping through the transition and coming behind your leg. You shouldn’t need to be strong in your rein — use your bodyweight to make the transition.

    Now that you’ve mastered perfect transitions why not enter a dressage event to show off your moves? www.equoevents.co.uk has a wide range of upcoming events available to enter quickly and easily online.

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

    You may like...