A change or passing from one gait to another or from one pace to another pace within a gait or from a gait to a halt.

Ava is getting more fit, so I’ve been asking her to collect/engage more each ride. Today, I forgot to grab my whip (which I normally ride with). At first, Ava was very unwilling to move forward. In fact, I had to two-leg boot her to get her to walk forward from a halt. I’m not a big fan of doing that. It was good though, it made me think more about how to motivate her without that false sense of power the whip gives me. I’m thinking I might set aside the whip altogether.

I’ve been stuck on the general concept of transitions. You know… you walk, you halt, you walk. Or you trot, halt, trot, etc.  Ava’s smart though, and I’m predictable, so the more I do those, the heavier Ava gets (and less responsive).  Today it felt like a little light bulb finally went off in my head. You know what? There are other gaits and variations within the gate! Why am I so narrowly focused on just 2 of those?  Doh.

I started her off with a bit of trot on big circles and lots of crisscrossing the arena and then immediately asked for the canter to get her thinking forward. And from there, we crossed the diagonal, asked for a trot, back into canter, back to trot, a lengthen down the long side, back to working trot, a few steps of energized walk to trot, canter, walk, trot, lengthen, etc. Within 5 minutes, Ava was attentive, forward, and very responsive to my seat.

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