[Flying] Changes a comin’!

It’s been a mostly uneventful week in the world of horses, since the husband and I went down to visit my parents over the weekend, leaving Foster to eat to his heart’s content and work on bulking up a bit. In that department, luckily you can’t see his ribs anymore, but he still needs more poundage.

Not *as* ribby, but still a bit skinny

Not *as* ribby, but still a bit skinny

My great buddy A has offered to ride Foster while I travel once again, and after I complained to her that we are a cross cantering mess in the jumper ring, she decided to give me a mini lesson on flying changes.

Let me start by admitting, I have never done a flying change on purpose. Somehow it just hasn’t happened yet in my riding career, and simple changes have sufficed. But how many times do we land on the wrong lead/cross canter in this video? A lot.

With that in mind, we set up a relatively simple exercise of a figure 8 at the canter, with a 1′ cavaletti at the center. So, canter a 15 meter circle left, and ‘jump’ the cavaletti, ideally landing right, then reverse, rinse, and repeat. I understood the concept of shifting your weight midair in order to encourage the change, but I felt like some sort of monkey cowboy throwing my body around over the cavaletti.

After several attempts though, we did get our first change! It appears the name of the game for the moment is a way over exaggerated open rein and using my new outside leg as we go over the jump. Also, I must come in to the fence at an angle and correctly bent- every time I came in straight, or with his neck cocked to the side, we didn’t get it.

No pictures unfortunately!

No pictures unfortunately!

While at the end of the session we still weren’t getting them every time, it was much more consistent as I began to get the feel of changing my rein over the fence. Ideally, we will turn the fence into a pole, and then remove the pole and voila! Changes.

Looking forward to working on this fun new skill, and putting it in practice over real fences! Yay!

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3 thoughts on “[Flying] Changes a comin’!

  1. Changes are the bane of my existence but totally necessary in the hunters. While my horse doesn’t naturally do them, we are getting much better at a flying change as well as over the fence. Just take time and don’t rush them and I’m sure Foster will have it mastered in no time!

    • I would love to eventually have a nice, relaxed hunter change! I can see why changes are a selling point in hunter jumpers- they are definitely not something learned in a day! Any advice you have on them- I am all ears!

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