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Riding Transitions

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Transitions, transitions, transitions. Yes, your trainer is right – you can never ride too many transitions and they form the basis of all training. However, nailing perfect transitions isn’t easy and takes time, patience, repetition and careful preparation to master.


Transition means change. Whether upward, downward, direct, progressive, between or within the pace. An ideal smooth transition requires balance, suppleness and a willing response to your aids and this needs to happen without any loss of stability, rhythm or undesired change in posture. Phew – is it any wonder transitions can be tricky to get right?


Riding correct transitions is something we should all be striving for because they are so beneficial. They also form an integral part of all horses training whatever their age and level of education. Having the ability to ride correct transitions is a key skill for improving the horse's balance, suppleness, obedience to the aids, and ultimately collection.


Understanding transitions

Part of the puzzle of riding correct transitions is understanding how the horse makes transitions from a biomechanical point of view.


This is covered in our online presentation:


In this webinar Gillian will explain and illustrate, with her signature anatomically painted horses in high-definition slow-motion video, the biomechanics of the limb sequence and balance transfer that are both key to achieving a quality transition. She will also address causes of problems within transitions and how to solve them.


Performed well with the position of the withers in relation to the croup remaining constant, they are a good strengthening exercise, particularly for the carrying, controlling and sitting ability of the hindlimb.



The Benefits of Riding a Good Transition


There are so many things to get right when riding a transition, they require concentration, good preparation, correct timing of the aids. An effortless harmonious transition is the key to improving engagement, strength, balance, body control and posture.

Also, remember transitions aren’t just between paces, there’s also transitions within the pace and the ‘nearly’ transition – the half halt to consider.


Transitions within the gait are useful for conditioning the gluteal and biceps femoris muscles, helping to develop expression and power, as well as sharpening up your horse’s response to your aids.


A well-executed half halt is fundamental for developing hindlimb strength and recruits and shortens the iliopsoas muscle group as the lumbosacral junction flexes and the hindquarters carry more weight.


In this webinar – The Biomechanics of Transitions - Gillian will give you the knowledge and skills you need to ride effortless harmonious transitions that will improve engagement, strength, balance, body control and posture.


You’ll also learn in-hand and ridden exercises, massage and mobilisation techniques as well as Pilates exercises, that will all help you improve transitions whether you’re a trainer, rider or therapist.


You can also learn more about transitions in the book Posture and Performance and the video course Anatomy in Action:





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