Improve engagement with simple changes

Riding good quality simple changes in canter (canter, walk a few steps, canter again) will encourage your horse to collect and improve his engagement.

Maintain your position as you ride your downward transition from canter to walk

Maintain your position as you ride your downward transition from canter to walk

There are three parts to a simple change. Here’s how to ride them:

1. The canter to walk transition
This needs to be sharp and balanced, so make sure you maintain your position and ride from your legs into a steady contact. When you feel your horse walk relax your fingers and allow him forwards.

Take care to keep the walk steps active

Take care to keep the walk steps active

2. The walk steps
After your transition from canter to walk, walk for four or five steps. Don’t hurry the walk steps, but do make sure the walk has a purpose to it.

3. The walk to canter transition
Quietly ask for a transition back into canter being careful not to have too much bend. You want your transition to be as straight as possible so that your horse stays in balance.

Riding this exercise will help to bring more of your horse’s weight onto his hindquarters,
lift his shoulders and make his canter look
much lighter and rounder.

 

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