Secret to a Winning Edge: The Execution of the Perfect Transition

June 5, 2017 4:27 am Published by Leave your thoughts



Secret to a Winning Edge: The Execution of the Perfect Transition


When describing transitions; to be stated correctly, we have two

disciplines that are similar in their basic travel gaits, yet different.

  • The gaits for an English/Dressage/Hunters are
  • Walk,Trot, Canter, & Hand Gallop.
  • For Western horses and their working events, the gaits differ. They are
  • Walk, Jog, Lope, Hand Gallop.

For reference purposes, the gaits of a western horse differ in their length., often a bit shorter or collected in stride and contact with the rein is less. Both English and Western are similar, but the demands and communication through legs and body rides with a different demand in the forward process. Not to say the Western horse does not move forward, it’s that the drive is more in motion on the English horse.

The gait I would like to reference in this blog would be that of the Trot/Jog. People always question me why is this gait so important? The reason it is more important is that this gait is one that shares a moment of suspension while simultaneously it contains a moment of support. You see each diagonal pair moves forward while always in balance of two diagonal pair on the ground. This gait is used most commonly for correction and balance to execute beautifully ridden transitions.

What are transitions exactly? For those who are new I will explain. For those that have a background in riding be patient with me. I want to offer everyone the chance to learn and know what it is that makes transitions work. I believe sometimes by hearing another take on things we also learn something new.

As I shared in the beginning, about the changing of gaits. English and Western gaits. These gaits are the changes whether up or down, which influence balance. Balance which brings forth the engagement between hindquarters and forehand. These strengthening exercises, with the use of our transitions and correction through the trot gaits, help our horses learn collection. Collection and well balanced transitions are the ultimate goal of each discipline in which we execute beautiful appeal and abilities that allow our horses to become athletes.

These athletes carry under themselves drive and impulsion. Lifting their back, allowing the rider to be placed in a better position, and ultimately allowing the horse to be more comfortable. Easily the natural position of the head set is vertical and the horse that is rode up in front of the leg and forward (by riding the horse from the back to the front) brings this collection- without holding the head and allowing the horse to self-correct, thus bringing self-carriage.

In my training, I share an analogy- just like in your car you have RPM’s. That is the speed in which is the perfect timing for a change in gears. I liken this to our transitions in horses as the speed and positioning onto the hindquarters brings forth the perfect timing to change gaits. This is very important in more defined disciplines such as Western and English Dressage, New Event to the U.S.Western Equitation, Reining, working cow horse, cutting, Pleasure classes, ECT. All these disciplines need the fine-tuned communication in changing of gaits, otherwise known as- transitions.

Transitions are what make the difference in the ring. You can and will see the difference between those horses that are fined tuned over those that are not yet balanced to that degree in their training.

I share with students that horses learn by your position and their self-correction, allowing them to find center and balance. If we are always finding it for them, we never really teach the horse to work off the aid. They will always be there looking for you to find the right moment and position for them. Transitions are an art within our ride and cannot fully be explained, except in a format that well suites this type of refinement. You will see that it can be written in great length, however, I hold to real application! The best results come by riding through these transitions and observing where and what happens between hand and body communication. Especially, to experience the real art of the ride in your transition work!

I invite you all to enjoy the training from another level. Video your ride TODAY and let’s find together the position and corrections that need to take place frame by frame.

This is a new way for you to refine your art of riding. Let Correction Connection WA help you with that refinement of your ride!.

Prices and scheduling on website. Scheduled today Your success is

waiting for you!

I wish you all the best in your success with your horses!


Linda Ketter; MasterTrainer/Instructor/coach 2017



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