Schooling Plans

Improving the Transitions.

The aim of this schooling plan is to work through transitions and how to work on improving them. This a general plan and will need to be tweaked to the individual horse and rider.

1.Walk and trot to limber up. Meaning to have a loosening walk and trot to get the horse and rider easily into the session.

{Options: include canter}

2. Specific walk stretch, big walk and really draping him down whilst actively stepping forwards. Then have a period of trot stretch, keeping the rhythm, balance and stretch seeking into the hand. Especially in colder weather but in general it is not good to go into deep stretches straight away hence stage 1 above.

{Options: include canter stretch depending on level and balance of horse}

3. Start to put the horse together:

After the initial warm up and stretch work then take time, on a 20m circle, to check riderís position, equal weight on both seat bones, legs draped long and upper body tall without stiffening. Then after rider position is the acceptance of the forward driving aids. The loose lower leg encouraging the horse to step actively forwards and then take up the rein to receive this forward flow. To improve the quality of transitions the horse needs to be actively forwards to a soft receiving contact.

Work forwards to the trot, encouraging the horse to work actively forwards. I know it sounds odd but the more correct the forwards the better the downwards transitions.

Have a break on a loose rein.

4.Transition time!

Comment: The key to transitions, say from trot to walk to trot, is that the last stride of the previous gait should be active forwards and the first stride of the next gait the same energy and stride length as the 2nd, 3rd etc. as opposed to a gradual energy pick up.

Ride a working trot large around the whole school. Then aim to ride a trot to walk just before the corner at the end of the long side and walk the corner and short side, then an active transition through to trot at the beginning of the next long side. Change the rein and repeat for a couple of laps around the school the other way. Then ride working trot down the long side, trot to walk and walk the corner, trot on the short side, down to walk, walk the next corner and then trot. So in essence you are trotting large and walking each corner of the school. This should help the horse answer the aids for both the upwards and downwards transitions.

{Option: Ride canter large and then repeat this with canter to trot or walk at the end of the long side, trot or walk through the short side then pick up the canter again.}

Come onto a 20m circle and then stretch down in the trot as a breather.

5. Pick up to a medium walk and ride large around the school. Ride a leg yield head to wall going down the long side to encourage the hind quarters forwards and through. Then pick up the working trot onto a 20m circle, on the circle ask the horse to look to the outside and ride the haunches through to a basic leg yield head to wall and then ride the trot to walk in the leg yield position. So if the horse is on the right rein the rider asks the horse to look to the left, outside and ride the left hind forwards and under Ė then itís the right rein that asks for the downward transition. This gives the rider the advantage of riding the hindleg forwards and under through the transition which improves the quality of the transition. In walk straighten to the circle and ride an active forwards transition to the trot, settle and then repeat the downwards transition in the leg yield position.

Change the rein and repeat in the other direction.

{Option: Ride the same theme from canter to trot, depending on the level and stage of training of the horse.}

{Option: Repeat the exercise going large but using shoulder-in; shoulder-in along the long side and trot to walk, or trot walk halt in the shoulder-in angle and ride the the upwards transitions in the shoulder-in as well.}

Finish the session with a period of stretching down (warming down) in trot stretch. Walk the horse off and put away.