Common Mistakes in Trot Canter Transitions
So make sure she’s really, really round, really nice and connected on that outside rein, and you can feel weight on that outside rein. She’s soft to the inside. That’s really important in a canter transition, that there is weight on the outside shoulder and the inside shoulder is free because that will mean that you will get the right canter lead.
So, I guess the biggest mistakes I see riders do is, one, they don’t prepare the horse enough. Two, they accept whatever canter transition they’re offered. So, if the horse runs before every canter transition, and you allow it.
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Natasha: If you’ve seen any of my videos before, you will know that I always say the success of the transition is in the success of the gait that you’re in. So, right now, this trot’s too forward. She’s running a little bit on the forehand, so you need to half-halt, keep her round, and she needs to be rounder. Because if a horse is only 20% round before a transition, I guarantee you it’ll throw its head and not be round in a transition. Yeah. So make sure she’s really, really round, really nice and connected on that outside rein, and you can feel weight on that outside rein. She’s soft to the inside. That’s really important in a canter transition, that there is weight on the outside shoulder and the inside shoulder is free because that will mean that you will get the right canter lead.
Natasha: And then, all you have to do is half-halt, tell the horse something to happen. Scoop with your inside seat bone. Yeah, beautiful. Give her a pat. That was really, really nice. Yeah, and back to trot. Now, let’s show one more on the open side of the circle. So, prepare, and again, it might take 10 strides to prepare. Ah, horse is running, rounder, half-halt, half-halt, outside rein, rounder, rounder, rounder, seat. Good. Beautiful.
Natasha: So, you might look at Montana and go, “Oh well, that was really easy. She just did that.” But, like I said, she’s worked for half a circle to make sure the horse is right where it needs to be, so that transition does look effortless. And that’s what you need to do. You can trot, Montana. That’s what you need to do in a dressage test. You don’t start working on the transition when you get to the marker and go, “Ah, I have to do a transition.” No, you prepare. You use your corner, and you take as much time as you need to make sure the horse is round through, connected, listening to your outside rein, half-halt.
Natasha: So, then you can use a light aid, and the light aid is obviously just the scoop with your seat. And if your horse isn’t doing trot canter transitions from your light aid, that’s what you need to practice at home, and practice in your training. So, Giana’s always been pretty good listening to light aids. But, let’s say Montana had sat scooped with her inside seat bone and told the horse to canter, and the horse had ignored her, we would have brought the horse back to trot because the horse may have trotted faster instead of cantered. So, a lot of riders accept whatever canter transition they’re offered, even though it’s not going to be of a good enough quality. So, Montana, just keep trotting, and I want you not to prepare for a canter transition. So, just tell the horse to canter, now.
Natasha: Yeah, perfect. Perfectly shown. So, did you see the horse ran … Yeah, just trot and walk. Did you see the horse ran in the transition? So you go, “Oh, is it the rider or is it the horse?” And, you can see the rider, by preparing the horse, can make the horse look like it canters effortlessly, but the horse doesn’t actually. There’s a lot that has to go on. So, I guess the biggest mistakes I see riders do is, one, they don’t prepare the horse enough. Two, they accept whatever canter transition they’re offered. So, if the horse runs before every canter transition, and you allow it … Montana, go again. Tell the horse to canter and if it trots faster, bring her back to a collected trot. So, don’t do the transition.
Montana: So, do the same thing before but don’t do transition?
Natasha: Yeah. So, don’t prepare. And then when you feel her run into the transition, bring her back to trot. Yeah. Okay, back to trot. Yeah. Just no set-up at all. Yeah. Beautiful. So, bring her back to trot more. So that’s how you would train if the horse runs. Try and get her to run into a canter transition again. Yeah. Trot. Trot, trot, trot. Yeah. So, same thing. Or the horse is doing the canter transition not round enough. I have a criteria in my head of what the horse has to do. The horse has to listen to my aids and react immediately. The horse has to keep the same contact and not move its head at all. And the horse has to be forward. If any of those three criteria aren’t met, and the horse does something different to those three criteria, I will straight away come back into trot and tell the horse I’m not accepting that canter transition.
Natasha: But if you accept it, and allow the horse to run faster before it canters, the horse then believes that is how it does a trot canter transition. The horse believes to canter, you have to trot, trot faster, trot faster than canter. So, you, as the rider, or you, as the trainer, you, as the leader, have to explain to the horse that that is not how you do a transition, and that it has to come in a different way. You know, with the criteria. It has to be from a collected trot. It has to just go straight into canter. The contact has to stay the same, the head has to stay the same, and you have to stay forward. You can have a walk, Montana.
Natasha: So, trust that helps. If you have any questions, or you would like to know more about transitions, I do have a dressage mastery course that might be perfect for you, if you’re ready to take your riding to the next level. So, check out dressagemastery.com, and you can join for just $1, and I would love to see you and support you in the program. Have a great week. Enjoy your riding, and I can’t wait to show you Tyler and be back on a horse next week. Bye.