Classical Dressage Tip From Portugal

In a good downwards transition your horse should move into the downwards gait fluently without loosing impulsion, keeping correct throughness and balance, and staying in front of the leg. In order to obtain this here is a little tip.

Instead of using your hands, or shoulders (that have a too strong effect on the movement and often create contractions in your horses back and mouth), ride the downwards transition by making yourself heavy in the saddle as you breath out strongly. Your horse will take a little training to listen to this new seat aid but you will be amazed how sensitive they get to it. If you want a slow, very gradual downwards transition make your aids slow and lighter. If you are looking for a faster transition (from collected trot to a halt for example) make your aids quicker and heavier.

In order to train your horse to listen to these new aids, start by asking various transitions on the circle. As you ask for the downwards transition, your first aid should be this new seat aid. If your horse ignores it then gradually work on to a more familiar aid and then back to this new soft aid. Don't forget: as soon as he cooperates congratulate him.

You will soon need to bring your hands forwards in the downwards transitions and will discover how nice, fluent and expressive your transitions become. And these aids cannot be seen from the outside!

Good luck for you and your horse!

Coralie Baldrey

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