Exercise 1 - Flatwork Transitions



  • When a horse rushes into fences you need to address the basics of flat work.

  • They need to be ridden in a rhythm and listen to your aids.

  • Rhythm being the first scale of Training.

  • The first element to address is transitions, circles, turns.

  • If you are unable to do this in a rhythm you are unlikely to be able to ride to a fence in a rhythm, so sort the flat work first.

  • Transitions are demonstrated in the video on a young horse, backed earlier this year.

  • At times he is unbalanced and he is still weak but with repetition of this example of work will benefit him and he will become more consistent in flatwork and jumping.

  • Depending where your horse is at will depend what transitions you do. Don’t try canter to halt if they haven’t mastered trot to walk.



Examples of transitions:

Walk to trot,

trot to walk

Trot walk halt

Halt walk trot

walk Halt

Trot canter

Canter trot walk halt




  • Include circles, turns and if you find your horse rushing then ride a transition. If necessary halt, let the horse relax and then start again. Your aim is RHYTHM.

  • Remember to work the horse the same on each rein so that you work them evenly on each side and therefore developing them equally.





    You can change the rein in many ways here are some examples:

  • Riding a long or short diagonal across the school.

  • Riding down the centre or ¾ line in an arena.

  • Riding a tear drop back to the side of the arena.

  • Riding one or 2 loops of a serpentine or if you have a large arena a 4 loop serpentine.





  • Whilst teaching your horse to have a rhythm you should keep your horse relaxed. Give them periods of walking on a long rein so they can stretch over their body, this can be in walk or trot. Make sure you keep the contact.

  • To relax your horse you must relax yourself so take a few deep breaths, and think through your body as to where your tension is and relax as much as possible.

  • With this work your horse will become more balanced and rhythmical, therefore becoming more intune with your body. This will reduce the need to pull on the reins against the bit to have control.

  • The more you pull against the bit the more your horse will lean against it and then the tug of war begins.

  • As a rider you need to keep your legs on and have a good balance in the centre of the saddle. Keep your elbows elastic and follow the movement of the horse.