How Do I Keep My Horse from An­tic­i­pat­ing the Fly­ing Change?

Dressage Today - - Ask The Experts -

Q My horse an­tic­i­pates the fly­ing change ev­ery time I cross the di­ag­o­nal. While I first thought it was a great thing, I now find it more an­noy­ing, as my horse doesn’t change from my aids. How can I solve this prob­lem? Name with­held by re­quest


Con­grat­u­la­tions on hav­ing such a clever horse! Your prob­lem is common, as many horses de­light in ex­e­cut­ing this newly learned ex­er­cise even when you don’t ask for it. The solution is sim­ple and re­quires go­ing back a few steps be­fore mov­ing for­ward again. This will help you find the un­der­ly­ing cause of the prob­lem and will clar­ify your aids and teach your horse to wait and lis­ten.

It is im­por­tant that for now you re­frain from rid­ing fly­ing changes for a bit un­til you have re-es­tab­lished the se­cu­rity of your ba­sic work, which led up to teach­ing your horse the fly­ing changes ini­tially. When you can per­form the ex­er­cises that fol­low smoothly and with­out re­sis­tance, you may be­gin to in­tro­duce the fly­ing changes again.

Be­fore you be­gin, be sure that you have a high-qual­ity can­ter. This means that your horse is col­lected with good ac­tiv­ity of the hindquar­ters, re­li­able straight­ness and is free from ten­sion or re­sis­tance. He should be in a good self-car­riage and should not lean on the reins for sup­port. Your half halts must be well-es­tab­lished and the tran­si­tions within the can­ter and be­tween can­ter and walk/trot should be smooth and free from re­sis­tance.

Spend a few days (or weeks, de­pend­ing on your progress) mak­ing sure you can calmly and

The goal is not to take away the horse’s de­sire to per­form a change, but only to ask him to wait for your aid.

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