The Ups and Downs
Why am I having trouble paying attention through my transitions [Show Report: Heathermoor]? Because they have never mattered before. Dressage is all about transitions. I have never been all about dressage. Hunter flat classes are judged on the quality of the horse’s gaits, not on the getting from one to the other.
Mostly, when I showed, I jumped.
A jumping trip has no relevant transitions. Be it hunter, jumper, or cross-country, the goal is to get a canter and keep it. At the start, you are given a long run-in to set up for the first fence. At the end, you are done. It does you no harm to collapse into a heap.
Sure, I’ve done thousands of transitions over the years, perhaps hundreds of thousands. Has each one been the best possible transition I could make at the time? No. Maybe you ride as precisely at home as you do in shows. Not I.
Last week, I had a lesson on transitions. Upward is all about the preceding gait. Downward is about reminding the horse to stay balanced. Bump, sit, release (or take-and-give in dressage terms). The horse downshifts on the release. It works. This is the virtue of a well-schooled lesson horse. When I did it right, Sam rewarded me by doing it right.
Gratuitous Cat Pic