Sometimes the simplest exercises with our horse can be the most difficult. Often, it’s the seemingly simple exercises that provide the greatest benefit to perform more advanced skills.
Transition Your Way into Excellence
The following exercise has been handed down among horse professionals: walk 10 steps, trot 20 steps. Sounds simple, right? What happens if it takes you the entire 10 walking steps just to get your horse to trot? Or it takes your horse more than 20 steps to get him walking again? Well it means it's time to clean up your communication with your horse. But this is where the exercise becomes fun and challenging and can help you develop a good communication system with your horse. Set a goal of just two (or maybe even one) cueing step for the transition to a trot and back to a walk. Woo-hoo! Wouldn't that be awesome?
As you work on this exercise the process is reducing the amount of cueing steps it takes for your horse to transition. Keep in mind that some horses will start to anticipate your cue. If your horse starts to anticipate, change up the game by changing the amount of walk/trot steps. When you get a couple of good ones in a row, move on to something else to help prevent boredom and anticipation.
As you progress in the exercise you can advance the work with walk/canter transitions, trot/stop, or any combination you can think of. Get creative and have fun working and challenging yourself and your horse.
Kim Baker is a respected equine specialist, standing out in her field because she works with the whole horse (mind, body, & spirit) as an individual, developing customized solutions for horse and rider. Kim offers clinics, workshops and retreats in foundation training, trail training, problem solving, energy healing and more. www.kbnaturalhorsemanship.com