Dressage training advice for riders basic through Grand Prix from proven GP competitor/trainer Nikki Alvin-Smith of Willowview Hill Farm, http://www.WillowviewHillFarm.com, Stamford, NY. Horse breeding advice and training of young warmblood and Iberian horses, plus how to successfully shop for horses in the USA and Europe from an experienced importer and USA producer of performance sport horses and ponies.
Well it's been a mad time dashing about downstate to ride some of the Willowview Hill International 2012 Elite Collection and I have had plenty of time not just riding but watching to think about what kinds of problems folks have training flying changes. One of the mares in the collection is a Rohdiamont/Donnerhall Prix St George horse and sitting on her changes were to die for. I can't claim to have put the flying changes in to this particular horse but I can tell you from years of training including from the mare's trainer and mine, Greta Kemmer, that when a horse is properly trained I sure know it. I think flying changes are one of my favorite things of all to do and there is nothing to compare to the joy of having your horse succeed in passing this test of canter quality with flying colors.
Do you have trouble with flying changes? Don't despair. Here's a few hints to get you on the right track ( pardon the pun).
The quality of any movement in dressage is always…
Over the years many students have come to us stuck on that huge plateau that is 2nd level dressage. Their horses have excelled ( they say) at all the 2nd level tests and have a counter canter to die for - so why they ask, can't my horse master the change.
We've all seen it. The rider jumping left to right on the saddle with the horse's rear swinging anxiously with no semblance of straightness, the weird and wonderful contortions of both horse and rider. The rider's lower leg bouncing up toward the hip or stifle, their holding hands dragging the horse to the new inside, hands lifted to their chins, and all the other maladies that await you when you are learning the changes and how to school them.
First rule. It is very helpful, though not absolutely necessary, to have ridden the flying change (s) on a schoolmaster with a ground person that knows of what they speak. When you yourself have no idea of the 'feel' and the subtle change in balance of the horse beneath…