Young Horse Exercises: Trot Poles for Transitions

Having shown mostly Young Horses in the dressage ring, you can say I am very seasoned in Training Level.  I’ve taken many horses down centerline for their first time and received scores in the high 60’s and 70’s.

The key to high scores in Training Level?  Transitions.  Transitions.  Transitions.  Sure, a steady ride will help, but solid transitions prove that your horse is truly balanced and on the aids.

Even if your horse is not a Dressage horse, practicing proper transitions can help build balance and strength in the hind end – a necessity for any sport horse.

This video shows how I use trot poles to keep the hind end engaged in between transitions to get the most out this exercise.

On the downward part of the transition, a green horse may fall on it’s forehand and run to catch it’s balance.  The trot poles will reactivate the hind end and help regain balance.

On the up side of the transition, your horse may run a few steps to gain momentum instead of bringing the hind end underneath and pushing upwards into the canter.  The trot poles will act as training wheels during the push.

You will need to give your horse enough time and room to figure out the exercise.  As you practice, make your transition closer and closer to the trot poles.  Ideally, one canter step before the poles, and a transition into canter immediately following the poles is your goal, but be patient and work up to this.

Practicing this exercise regularly will help you get those 8’s  on your transitions in the dressage ring, and give your horse the strength he needs to improve his jump.


Questions?  Comments?  Share your experience trying this exercise!

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