When you ask for an upwards transition do you go with your horse and stay in your frame or do you get left behind a little and have to catch up?
Do you still ride forwards into your downwards transitions or do you collapse?
The quality of your transitions can have a huge impact on the quality of the pace you are travelling into. For example if you hollow and lose your frame going into canter you are more than likely going to transition your horse into a hollow canter.
If you are a Dressage rider your transitions can gain or lose your marks that could make all the difference on the score sheet.
For Showjumping, Endurance or just pleasure riding smooth transitions help to support your horse and make your paces smoother and more consistent.
So, how do you do this?
In simple terms you need to continue to hold your frame, keeping yourself in self carriage throughout the upward and downward transitions.
In order to do this you need to be able to withstand the forces of acceleration for upward transitions and deceleration for downwards transitions.
Now as I am firm believer in there being more than one way to get fit for riding here’s a couple of things you could consider trying.
For your riding pointers:
- Focus on maintaining neutral so equal length front to back as you transition.
- As you come down a transition you should aim to still feel light in the seat, instead of thinking heavy to slow down stead think still. Slow you seat bones, take a deep breath and slow your body but remain in self carriage. You should still be riding forwards into your next pace.
- If you get left behind on an upward transition focus on keeping your front short-bottom rib to hip as you go up.
- If you have a tendency to lean forward focus on keeping both seat bones in the saddle and pointing them down.
For your off horse training:
- Bouncing on a gym ball helps with force absorption, and of you want to up the ante you could add in some balance work by taking your feet off the floor, or throw and catch a ball against a wall.
- I love Kettlebell work, an exercise such as the kettlebell swing encourages you to maintain a stable core whilst accelerating to swing, then control the stop at the top so there’s your deceleration.
- Sprint and stop training. Set out a short distance, accelerate as fast as you can then stop dead at the marker into a squat-so stop with bent knees. Then you could add in another acceleration from that position.
I’d also suggest taking up trampolining but apparently there are more accidents seen in A&E from this than horse riding so best not……..