FWLR to med walk trans help needed

daydreamer

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hi,

I wondered if anyone had an advice about the FLWR to med walk transition? Whenever I pick up my reins after a free walk my horse sort of lifts and twists his head and is resistant. As a result I never seem to get my reins short enough and the next movement in a dressage test is always rubbish :-( I've tried (though probably not as consitently as I could) inside bend/outside bend/more rein/less rein etc but can't seem to improve this. I asked my instructor yesterday who has taught my horse for a long time with his previous rider and she said that he had always done it and they could never figure it out! (The horse is an intelligent if slightly angsty 21 year old TB!!)

Any exercises/advice much appreciated thanks!!
 

JillA

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Bit? Teeth? And are you asking more with hand than leg? And is he relaxed in his jaw? How about flexions - can he do them without resistance? Get another classical dressage instructor to take a look and have some input, it could be any of the things I mentioned - or more.
 

be positive

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If at 21 he has always done it and the instructor gave up then a session with a different instructor who may be able to figure it out would probably be worthwhile, often a fresh approach works wonders.

Other than that keep at it at home, allow a short period of FW and pick up onto a 10m circle going back to FW just before the end, do short FW then pick up again onto the 10m and repeat. When and if he does this ok start to trot a 10m after walking the first half so you start to ride more forward into the FW/ Med transition.
It is a movement that many find difficult to do well often because it has not been clearly established in early training and horses often become evasive so it is then missed out, or the opposite worked on too much with little improvement, so the rider just ends up fiddling their way through in a test and so it never becomes properly established.

You can also try asking him to pick up MW after a few strides of leg yield in FW, try coming into halt picking him up then walking on gradually making the halt a half halt, make sure you are not using too much leg and pushing him out of balance, sit up keep the leg soft rather than pushing him too firmly so he tries to brace against your hand, without seeing him it is hard to think of much more that hasn't already been tried by you although you do need to be consistent if you want to get results.
 

daydreamer

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Bit? Teeth? And are you asking more with hand than leg? And is he relaxed in his jaw? How about flexions - can he do them without resistance? Get another classical dressage instructor to take a look and have some input, it could be any of the things I mentioned - or more.
Thanks for the reply. Seems happy with the bit, when physio saw him 3 months ago she said he was relaxed under the jaw and commented he must be happy with the bit. teeth checked regularly and I haven't noticed any difference with his way of going before/after teeth done. Usually relaxed in his jaw, I'll make a note to monitor it more. Occassionaly some resistance in flexions at start but can do them softly. Someone is arranging a clinic with another instructor at the yard so I may give that a go and ask. (Current instructor said she told ex-rider to try someone else and the new inctructor couldn't work it out either!)
 

JillA

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Relaxed jaw means he yields softly to the contact when you take it - you can do it from the ground, and you need to remember to give the instant he responds to the pressure. Stand beside him, take a rein in each hand and gently apply pressure towards where your hands would be if you were in the saddle. The instant you feel him yield and soften, release the pressure. If you feel him brace as you do that, there's your problem, and you need to do more to encourage him to soften - as an older horse it takes longer to unlearn an established habit
 
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