Flying changes, taking time to make exercise work.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Monday, September 3, 2007 09:57 PM
Usually I work on flying changes very little because he gets very excited and starts running and pulling. Today I decided to try a different approach. After some counter-canter and leg-yields at the canter I did diagonals with flying changes. Immediately his whole demeanor changed, he wanted to run and pull. I decided to make transitions to walk at the end of a diagonal, walk a short end, ask for canter at the corner, ask for flying change in the middle and ask for walk again. And I decided to be very calm and just ride that pattern until he gets used to it. At first he was very nervous, anticipating changes, running. I watched him, observing his reactions. I let him stretch and round his neck at the walk and wait for my signal to canter. It took me some time, before he started to get organized and to listen instead of taking over from me. I don't think I want to do that kind of work every day. However, I felt that it was very beneficial to both of us. It is hard to stay calm and encouraging when he feels like a boiling kettle and wants to shut down on me. By now, I know from experience, if I start to get upset with him about his emotional reactions he will get even more upset. I will create a "catch 22".
I made it sound much better and smoother than it was in reality. He was really excited and couple times I went over the edge and yanked him with the bridle. It was very hard to stay calm. Yanking brought me back and I started focusing on his canter, making him straighter, with better rhythm. I tried to ask for a change with as little aids as possible because he already new what was coming. I wanted to quit couple times thinking that I'm wrong and I'm just pushing my horse over the edge. I'm glad I stayed with the exercise, I have finished with nice balanced clean flying changes both directions and even though he was still excited he was much more manageable.
Happy riding...
 
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