Monday, November 22, 2010

Change is in the Air

Or maybe "Changes in the Air." We schooled the elusive flying changes in our lesson this week and have been slipping them into our schooling sessions as well.

Begin in a very balanced, collected canter, we'll say starting on the right lead. From the long side, turn down the center line in your regular right lead canter and half pass to B (or E) remembering to keep the canter balanced and uphill with half halts and by keeping the hindquarter moving toward the rail. Remember to keep the canter straight with very little bend to the right. At B (or E) still in right lead canter, move the haunches even more toward the wall and counter flex to the left by balancing the outside rein and raising the (new left) inside rein. Remaining on the wall, ask for the change by quickly changing your bending and weight aids to the new left direction with the new inside leg giving a decisive nudge into the left stirrup at the girth and at this early point in her training I remind Delphi to change behind at the same time by a bump with the outside (right) leg behind the girth and even a tap behind my right leg with the whip. All of the above aids for the change are given in a single moment.

The first few I had to just cowboy through as Delphi would either change late, or anticipate, or get strong (that's a nice way of saying bolt) so I had to bring her RIGHT BACK to a nice, polite, collected canter immediately, even when the change wasn't perfect.

The key is in the initial half pass to the wall-- her haunches must come over so that her hindquarter is underneath her, and I must ride her straight along the wall before, during, and after the change (don't change then immediately turn: that just allows the hindquarter to swing out and Delphi loses her balance) to keep her balanced behind.


Anonymous said...

Good for you and Delphi. We need a video of this to fully appreciate.


Anonymous said...

I'm envious of the process, but am also having fun with canter half-passes to flying changes. It's a different thing altogether, though, with a horse that already knows them.