If your horse is ‘lazy’, ride a lot of transitions. Right?

Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase before:

If your horse is ‘lazy’, then you have to ride a lot of transitions within the gait.

Then he will react better to your leg aids and become more active. But is that really the case?

Transitions within the gait means riding forward and also taking back the pace.

If you take back pace, it is already a challenge to keep the hind leg active.

And if the hind leg is already not active, then you can be sure that your horse will fall apart completely.

The goal from riding transitions within the gait

Transitions within the gait are very effective when it comes to activating the hind legs and getting the hind legs to carry more weight.

But to do this the right way, there are a few principles that you should keep in mind, no matter at which level you’re riding.

The conditions for good transitions within the gait

Transitions within the gait only make sense:

  1. if you have the three basic conditions in place, especially forwardness
  2. if you have tempo control

#1 Have the three basic principles in place

Transitions within the gait only make sense if your horse is forward, relaxed and accepts the hand. If you have those three things confirmed, you can start to ride your transitions within the gait to improve your horse.

But don’t ride transitions to improve your principles, because:

if your horse isn’t forward enough, riding transitions won’t benefit him and he might even get lazier.

So by riding transitions within the gait, your horse won’t get more forward.

Riding transitions within the gait with a horse that lacks forwardness will ensure that your horse all the time thinks: “when can I slow down again? “

Please ensure that you have enough forwardness and impulsion before you ride a
transition with the aim to improve your horse.

And when we say forward, we don’t mean fast. It means the energy that’s in your horse that wants to go forward, or in other words, the impulsion or activity.

#2 Have speed control

To be able to ride transitions (within the gait), of course, you need to have control over the tempo. But, according to Rien, you have to pay attention to the following:

You don't make your horse forward with transitions within the gait

It’s important that you ride the transitions and changed of speed in the correct manner, because if you don’t… the exercise has no purpose and won’t benefit your horse. In other words, it won’t have a positive influence on the balance of your horse.

Riding tempo changes and transitions can therefore have a very positive influence on the balance of your horse. You can make your horse carry more weight on the hind legs.

But you have to make sure you meet all the conditions.

When you horse is not forward, first fix this by being consequent with you leg aids. And make sure you don’t ride your horse in a position by working back with your hand. 

You have to give your horse the possibility to go forward. By riding your horse in a position
where you are working back with your hand, you are actually giving a braking aid
with your hand.

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6 Responses

  1. Very good point! I think that changing tempo is easily misunderstood. To be honest, I also thought that changing tempo or pace was the way to keep your horse sharp, but too easily forgot the role that the horse’s hind legs play in doing transitions. If you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense! But it is so easy to fall into a faulty routine!
    I always read your e-mails, Conny, and take note of your tips and what you experience in riding your horses. I always feel encouraged to do better after reading both your and Rien van der Schaft’s lessons.
    Greetings, Marjan

  2. En stel, mijn rem werkt niet goed, en de verbinding naar het paard wordt “stug” bij het terugschakelen vanuit het verruimen zowel in draf als galop.

    Hoe los ik dit op zonder dr keihard in dr mond te trekken, daar wordt ze natuurlijk alleen maar ‘taaier’ van

    1. Mijn advies zou zijn om de verruimingen nog wat kleiner te rijden, zodat je het in je hand nog beter kan verwerken en ook in het terugschakelen een betere verbinding kunt behouden. Focus dus meer op de losgelatenheid en minder op de verruiming. Wanneer dit goed gaat kun je dit steeds meer uitbreiden.

  3. It’s good to be reminded to have the hind end active. I have a very forward horse and have used change of tempo a lot to encourage more roundness. I have also learned from people like Tristan to use The body and the mind to interact with the horse needing to use less rein contact. In fact teach the horse this with no rein contact and it will help later.

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