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How to have better and smoother speed transitions

Hi Franklin, I love your articles,

I have recently bought a 6 year old Thoroughbred gelding, We get on brilliantly. But every now and then when riding and going on into a canter from a trot, he sometimes gets "jumpy" and doesn't ride smoothly. Someone told me he does that because he is trying too hard to please me, could this be true? I would really appreciate your reply.

Love and Light, Kaylee
kwa zulu natal
South Africa

Good Morning from Colorado Kaylee....

Thank you for your kind words on my articles.

Horses do often simply just want to 'please' and can get either excited and /or frustrated depending on the skill of the human making the request. It is important to make certain you are not overdoing the cue for the horse to make the transition (too much pressure). Perhaps he needs more slow schooling on speed transitions and leg yields. Consider thoughtfully working on legs yields for a little while to get the horse more used to them (how you provide them) and to increase your skill level as well. As this is a new horse for you, you should be on a voyage of discovery. At this early stage in your relationship, I suggest going extremely slowly and thoughtfully. Remember less is more with horses. It is so easy to over input them and, therefore, confuse them. Also, please do not neglect the ground playing as this is where your bond of trust is really formed, not from the saddle. Become his trusted, great leader from the ground first. This allows the horse to get to know you as his great parent/leader and you getting to know him, before he is having to deal with you on his back. Some horses are more leg sensitive than others as well and you would need to adjust your riding to this. Do not expect your horse to always make the adjustment to your style. You must be willing to modify or change what you do to make things better and easier for your horse.

Check his back for any soreness. Palpate his back. If he has sensitive spots, that could be the culprit as well. If he is sore, consider a good equine chiropractor for a session with him. Also, make certain your saddle, or any of the tack you use, fits well and is appropriate (including the bit). Your hands are important also. If you are unaware that when you ask for a canter that you perhaps give a pull on either rein, this will impact the horse too. He responds to anything and everything that you do, whether you are conscious of doing something or not. Good Luck and thank you for your question.....

Sincerest regards, Franklin

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