Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Alfredo's flying changes exercise

During the clinic with Alfredo, I got to watch one lady with a 2nd level horse do her first ever flying changes. Her other horse is going either PSG or I1, so she knows how to ride changes, but this horse hadn't done them before.

Alfredo had her start on a 20 m circle at the walk, then had her pick up a counter-canter. After about half a circle, he had her walk, then pick up a true canter for another half a circle. Then walk, counter-canter, walk, true canter.

After perhaps half a dozen repetitions of this, he added a haunches in/haunches out element. So, walk with haunches out, transition to counter-canter. Counter-canter with haunches out. Walk, haunches in, transition to true canter with haunches in. Walk, haunches out, counter-canter... 

As she was able to ride the exercise better, he started asking for more precision with the haunches in and out. Walk with haunches out, transition to counter-canter keeping the haunches out through the transition and during the counter-canter. Transition to walk and IMMEDIATELY haunches in at the walk, transition to true canter with haunches in through the transition and the canter. Etc. Again, these movement were repeated again and again.

Eventually the movements were coming very, very quickly, with the horse easily moving his haunches in and out. And then, during one counter-canter-haunches-out, instead of asking for a walk transition, Alfredo yelled "Haunches IN!". And the rider switched her aids for a haunches in, and the horse did a perfect change right on the aids.

I think part of what worked here is that she didn't quite know what was coming, so there was no anticipation on either the part of the horse or the rider. Plus, the horse was so in tune with moving his haunches over that the change was easier than the transition. And of course, he was changing from counter-canter to true canter, so that was easier too.

They did several more changes, and although the horse got a bit leapy in the changes, he DID them, every time. The set up was great and you could see he had no problem with it. The rider was smiling ear to ear too (in between gasping for air... she was working HARD and I was really glad it wasn't me!). 

So... do you have any secrets for teaching changes?

No media of other rider, but here's another pic of Taran from the clinic. 

23 comments:

  1. OMG I LOVE THIS AND I AM GOING TO USE IT ON PENN.

    Not right now of course. Later.

    It goes along with how German Riding Master teaches tempi changes to horses- he has the horse walk/trot on a quarterline and change from haunches out to haunches in and back and forth. The horse and rider get practice making the changes without screwing over the canter. I also like Megan's way of introducing multiple changes, and I think I'll use both on Penn when he's ready. But Alfredo's very simple exercise sounds exhausting and oh so natural to introduce the changes in a low key way! No hurried kicking on a diagonal or anything. I'll just add that to my toolbox of tricks that I'm storing for Penn!

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    1. Yeah, I've only ever seen changes done on a figure 8, where you walk and change lead. I'd never seen anything like this one before and thought it was really cool. I hope it works for Penn ... when you get to that, of course. ;)

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  2. Love this! Sounds pretty similar to some ways I've been taught, which basically go "practice doing simple changes and just decrease the time until you just ask for the change". Though, we finally got through to Pig about changes by getting him more in tune with my inside/outside leg cues, which this would help a lot with. Half pass - straight - change is also super helpful for the same reason. Basically, as long as you can control the haunches and bend of the horse, you have a reliable chance at them. I might give this a try in regular schooling, just because we seem to be losing our ability to bend after the change, which needs some serious work.

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    1. Yeah, it seemed to be about controlling the haunches - as long as you can put them where you want, you've got a good chance of making it happen. I hope it helps!

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  3. I saw him use this last weekend!

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    1. Cool! Did they work for the rider you saw???

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  4. Thanks for sharing this! I'm a ways away from introducing flying changes with my mare but this makes so much more sense than the way I was previously taught and you explained it well in a way where I can totally visualize myself doing this exercise in the future.

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    1. Yeah, it really clicked for me too. I hope that when you get to changes this helps!

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  5. My secret is I apparently don't teach them? ;)

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  6. At this point, I would settle for cantering without wondering if we're going to bolt. ;-) Super cool exercise though.

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  7. This is an awesome exercise! I'm going to experiment with it this weekend on a horse with one unclean change. Not that there are mirrors there to really make sure that he's doing it right, but at least it will be fun to play with!

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    1. Oooh you'll have to blog about how it goes!

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  8. This seems so cool, and also like a lot to think about. I don't know if I could process that many things, but perhaps on a horse that is nicely off the aids, this isn't quite as complex.

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    1. It's definitely a lot to think about, and you need a lot of pieces solidly in place to do this. I think it goes to show how important those walk/canter/walk transitions are at 2nd, not to mention the shoulder in/haunches in movements. They really all build on each other!

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  9. What a great exercise! I have a second level student whose horse is about to work on his changes for the first time, and we are definitely going to incorporate this exercise!

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    1. Cool, please blog about how it goes!

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  10. Very cool. Makes a lot of sense.

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    1. It definitely worked in my head!

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  11. Much better than the figure 8!

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    1. Oh I've seen the figure 8 work well too... I think it just depends on the horse and rider.

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  12. If i ever get good enough to ride these transitions I'll be back to this post.
    #bookmarked

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