EXERCISE: 1. TRANSITIONS
Frank (the horse in our pictures) is a big mover and produces lots of power from his hindlegs so he can sometimes find it difficult to balance and be secure in the connection to the mouth. Then he’ll drop or lift his head or try to go behind the vertical. Transitions are useful in this instance, especially trot, walk, trot – do this exercise every session after warming up and stretching. Ride them on a straight line then move on to a circle, which is more challenging as inside rein and outside leg comes into play. These transitions increase the energy and engagement from behind and encourage him to work with suppleness over his back to the contact. Common problems include an abrupt downwards transition and resisting the forwards aid back into trot, resulting in hollowing and shortening of the neck. Allow the trot by controlling the amount you give with the reins as you ask so that he can go forwards into the transition. On the downward transition, check you weren’t too enthusiastic with the rein aids. Concentrate on getting your horse in front of your leg into a steady contact and repeat the exercise until you horse feels level in your hands and active from behind.
Getting it right
Frank struggles with the trot transition