Q: How can you stop a horse from breaking into downward transitions?

A: All too often riders experience that feeling of the horse collapsing into the downward transition instead of gracefully changing from one gait to the other while maintaining impulsion. Riders tend to focus so much on the preparation and quality of their upward transitions and pay little attention to the preparation of the downward transition, resulting in the horse losing balance and breaking into his downward transition. The key is to prepare the horse correctly for the movement. Think of your half-halt as an alert to the horse that you are about to ask for something. A downward transition from canter to trot requires you to half-halt, breathe out, close your seat, and think forward into the trot. If your horse breaks before you’ve asked, ask him to canter again and keep asking for the smooth downward transition until he offers it. Think of a place in the arena that you want to change from canter to trot and prepare in advance for the change. Don’t ask in the exact spot because it can take a moment for the brain to talk to the feet. Keep in mind that a horse can also break due to lack of fitness, so be patient with this exercise.

Answered by Hayley Kruger