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Flatwork February #9: The Simple Change

Yesterday, we looked at the walk-to-canter transition, and today, we add to that by combining it into a simple change. A simple change is a change of canter lead with a few steps of walk between periods of canter.
The simple change is the beginning of teaching your horse to do a correct flying change; this is why you will find it in early dressage tests.
Simple changes are also a good way to improve your horse’s reactivity to aids, improve the coordination of your aids as a rider, ensure your horse is in a true frame and develop self-carriage.
If your simple changes are straight, balanced, and relaxed, there is a greater chance of your flying changes being the same.
It is easier to execute a simple change by breaking it into two sections: the walk to canter and the canter to walk. We looked at the walk to canter in exercise #8 of #FlatworkFebruary. Now, we here we look at the canter to walk section.
For a good canter to walk transition you need a good collected canter. A good collected canter is balanced, uphill, and engaged. Like with the walk to canter you must ask at a specific time i.e. when your horse’s forehand lifts, he is more on his haunches and can bring his front feet down in walk.

How to ride the canter to walk transition

1. Sit deeply into your saddle at the correct time (forehand up).
2. Exhale deeply.
3. Incline your body very slightly backward.
4. To ensure you don’t go into the walk and instantly lose momentum, wrap your legs down and around your horse to ‘hold’ them in the transition.
5. Ease your hand slightly forward to prevent your horse from leaning on you.