As a rider, whether you are just beginning, are advanced, ride rails or trails, the effective transition of speed is essential to the development of horsemanship. Smooth and control changes of gait increases the time spent riding, not only for you but also your horse as there is less confusion and misunderstood cues. For those that compete, this is even more so important, and we will explain why so that you can work on your transitions, so they eventually become effortless.
The first thing you need to do is use a bit that you know the horse responds well to. To maintain the best control, you should keep both hands on the reins and initially, use clear, precise cues. As you begin to develop, then you can advance to one handed riding, but not before your horse has gained an understanding to the transition cues.
Make sure to warm up your horse so that he is prepared to listen for ongoing and random speed cues. This will require you to put in more effort as you progress and require an increased physical effort in the saddle from the continual transitions, so bear that in mind.
The first step towards effect speed transitions is to be at a jog. You need to pay close attention to the cadence of the horse to make sure his gait is balanced. Ensure you maintain contact with the bit as you drive your horse forward with your seat to ensure a consistent pace and stride. Make sure you keep your torso straight as the better your position while riding will see you being more effective.
The next step is to begin extending your horses jog. By this, we do not mean go faster but mean to extend the horses stride. Give your horse its forward cue by tapping your heels, then position your hands forward as this will encourage his extension, and in the process, hiss or cluck. The upward transition should only take a few strides, but if it takes longer, then be firm with the cues you are giving your horse. You should also confirm that you are not positioned in a way that is preventing forward motion, which can result if the reins are too tight. If the horse goes into a lope, then you need to back off somewhat as you are using too much cue.
Once mastering step two, the natural progression will see you going back to a jog but without walking. To reduce his stride to a job, sit back further in the saddle, and if the horse f accustomed to voice commands, then use those but maintain your legs to keep a two-beat gait. After achieving the transition, you can release the pressure of your legs against the horses’ body. Remember, it is important to know your horse and how much cueing it needs and doing so will take time, patience and trial and error to determine the right pressure.
The fourth step requires you once again transition to the lope. This should be with three beats, and to do so, you should maintain soft contact with the horse’s mouth and push him from behind, so his lope is even. As with a jog, it is important you maintain the correct saddle position for effective riding, and you should pay attention to the footfalls of your horse so as to monitor the extension, so he is prepared for the next step when commanded.
This step will see you extending the lope through the use of applying pressure with your legs. You should use soft gait contact so as to allow the horse to go faster. As with the second step, this should only take a few strides, but regardless of the gait, if additional strides are needed, then take them, as doing so in less is not an achievement if the transition is lacking control.
The final step will see you returning to a reduced lope by reducing your saddle motion. Sit deep in the saddle and reduce the pressure in your legs. While doing so, you will need to apply a slight increase in pressure in the outside leg to ensure the horse remains in a lope and return to a jog. To achieve this, you should not be giving the horse to many hand cues as this could confuse him. It may make the horse think you want to walk or jog, and even possibly come to a complete stop.
To master effective speed transitions, you should practise these steps each time you go riding with your horse. This will help you determine how many cues your horse needs for each step and in time, you and your horse will work in unison. Many horse breeders practise these steps in the early stages of horse training, and it helps as they transition to horse racing as seen and offers with the bet365 mobile app (*thanks Betenemy). It is a natural progression and experience horse punters who are interested in placing bets for their favourite horses will enjoy not only the success of its trainers but their methods.