TEMPI CHANGES today!
A few kind reminders here:
Before you think changes, when you just ask for canter, let the canter aid be the outside leg, not the inside leg. The inside leg only creates the correct bend and asks for the right amount of energy, it’s the outside leg that tells the horse to canter, and later to change canter, especially in the tempis.
Don’t start the tempi changes until your horse can calmly and confidently change both from counter canter to canter, and canter to counter canter. Ideally on both a straight line as well as a bent (large circle) but straight is the priority. Also to be able to keep the same degree of collection without loosing posture or cadence through the change into the new canter.
When you start to work with the changes or the tempis, don’t do them every time you’re in the arena. Practice the tempi changes towards the wall, so you get them straight, before you do them on the diagonal, like you will in a test.
Here’s how to start the tempi changes:
Start with two changes per long side. The first just after the corner, having plenty of cadence. Ask by putting your new outside leg and shoulder back and change. The second one just before the later corner (but not in the corner, as you easily teach the horse to fall in on the new inside shoulder there, rather then carrying himself straight through the change). When that works, ask the same thing on the next long side. When that works, ask for less strides in between the changes. Give that a couple weeks. Remember to keep it calm, straight and cadenced. Next step is to ask for two changes every fourth strides. Then increase that to four changes every fourth stride, and then six.
Voila, changes every fourth!
Photo of Aragon flying confidently at Springhill Dressage.