How To Ride A Downwards Transition
When we first learn to ride, we are taught to take our leg off, pull back, and open our hip angle to slow our horse down. That certainly has a place in the basics, and can be useful for cueing a full stop, but it isn’t helpful when going for balanced transitions.
The best way to approach downwards transitions is to ride it like an upwards transition. This means you’re going to ADD leg, rather than taking it away. This encourages your horse to continue with his energy rather than simply collapsing out from under you.
In order to get them to slow down, think about going “still” in your upper body. Rather than adding energy as you would to transition upwards, you’re going to thing about becoming tall and still in the saddle. Don’t simply pull back, as this blocks the energy of the hind feed, which counteracts what you’re doing with your leg.
It may take a few steps for your horse to respond, but don’t panic. You’re going for lots of impulsion and confidence through the transition, so he’s trying to work out what that feels like. Over time, if you’re riding it correctly, his response time will begin to shorten. Eventually you’ll simply close your leg and still your body, and your horse will transition down. Do you struggle with good transitions? Are you going to give this a try? Comment below!