Canter Walk Transitions

Learn how you can improve your canter walk transitions

Preparation is everything when it comes to riding good canter walk transitions. Understanding the horse’s age and ability in those transitions is critical too.

In her online masterclass program, Vanessa Way runs us through how she likes to set her horses up for success. Using these walk canter transitions and how you can practice these at home.

How To Improve Your Canter Walk Transitions

Why train canter walk transitions?

In the official ESNZ New Zealand dressage tests 2019 we start to see canter walk transitions appear from Elementary level.

These are called simple changes when used within the test movements. They are the building blocks for helping to teach the horse to sit more and preparation for flying changes.

What does a good canter-walk transition looks like?

According to the directive of each simple change, the judge is marking you on clear, balanced, straight transitions; regularity and quality of the paces.

The goal is that the horse at elementary level demonstrates correct basics. It accepts more weight on its hindquarters through more collection and moves in a more uphill tendency.

There is a greater degree of straightness, suppleness and balance, so when performing the canter walk transition the judge is going to be marking on these areas.

There should be no trot steps through the transition and the horse should remain relaxed and forward-thinking. All while the hind leg steps underneath and the horse remains in an uphill tendency.

Common mistakes in simple changes

The biggest mistakes often shown in these transitions is the horse not carring enough weight on its hindleg, so lacks balance. This then creates an unbalanced transition and the horse falls onto it’s forehand or has trots steps in the transition.

When practising your canter walk transitions at home, its important to teach the horse to slow the canter down. In doing so they learn to carry more weight behind.

When simple changes are taught correctly you are laying the foundations for your flying changes later on in your training journey.

Building the walk/collected canter relationship

In order to build a good transition in your walk/canter you first must be able to slow your horses canter down to walking speed. While all at the same time keeping the energy and uphill nature of the canter.

Once you have established this slow canter your horse will find it relatively natural to move to a walk when at this speed.

Vanessa has a unique way of developing this canter. She shares her insights on how you can get the timing just right for the transition that will set you up later on for your flying changes and sequences.

Using the correct aids for canter

When working on your walk to canter transitions it’s not just about applying the leg aids. It’s equally about how well-positioned the horse and rider are so the horse understands the movement and can perform correctly.

Setting the horse up in a position that allows for clear transitions to happen. Vanessa teaches when to use shoulder-fore, counter canter and straight lines. Also what to expect when teaching young horses these movements for the first time.

Mastering your canter-walk transitions with Vanessa Way

In this video of Vanessa Ways series ‘Mastering Your Dressage Movements’ she runs you through step by step how she introduces canter walk transitions with her 5 year old 18h warmblood gelding.

She breaks it all down step by step on how to ride the movement and the feeling you should have at each stage of the horses development.

Here is a wee snippet from the video and to access her entire series join us here and take your Dressage Training to a new level by learning from the best.

We hope you find this useful. Get access to the full video plus over 4 hours of Vanessa’s teaching with her online training program ‘Mastering Your Dressage Movements.’

Want to learn more? Check out these articles.

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