Author Topic: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?  (Read 4602 times)

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Offline Erin's mum

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Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« on: April 14, 2013, 11:05:55 PM »
I imagine the ideal answer to this question would be somewhere in the middle but i've been told both points of view in the past. Is it better to take the time to focus on getting a quality transition even if it means that you don't fit as many in or will the pure act of repeatedly doing lots of transitions be more beneficial in terms of strengthening and re balancing in the long run?

The reason I ask is that I think with Lily I probably need to increase the number of transitions we do in a session as they are always the weak point in her work but I tend to take a lot of time setting it up instead. She is also already very forward and get herself into a tizz quite easily so lots of transitions may not be beneficial for her sanity...or could they???

Cheers!
Emily+co in sunny(?) Scotland xx


Offline Erin's mum

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2013, 09:33:52 PM »
bump
Emily+co in sunny(?) Scotland xx


Offline Naiad

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 01:37:50 AM »
I too await the answer. I find that while I cannot long rein Amigo at trot too much due to the tough work for a human to run around in arena footing after a horse with a huge working trot, I can easily work on walk/trot transitions (ditto for inhand work). I don't want to "overdo" it, but I have no idea about the kinds of questions that you ask - I have no idea about how many transitions are too many or too few etc.

So we can both wait for answers to appear!! 

Offline Della

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 09:33:31 AM »
I would ask why would you want to repeat any movement of inferior quality?

On the basis that if you repeat (i.e. train) for transitions that are not correct, then that is what you will get.

Perhaps obtain a good transition, then immediately release the horse as a reward. It can be very easy to get greedy! And I would try not to set the horse up too much to achieve the transition - they have to do some of the work too.

As always, it is difficult to generalise. Every horse and rider combination is different ..... shades of grey!

Offline Harmony

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 12:57:49 PM »
Think about it logically - if you could only choose one which would it be? A few quality transitions or lots of bad ones? :D Surely the answer then is obvious - you start with a few good transitions then slowly work towards doing more good transitions. Lots of bad transitions just train the horse to do transitions badly...

Offline Erin's mum

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 01:59:35 PM »
Ok thanks guys. Sorry if it sounded like a stupid question to you but it really isn't unusual to be told to use sheer quantity of transitions to improve the horse's way of going. Yes obviously in an ideal world each one would be perfect but even if they aren't, i've often been told that they still help the horse to work from behind and move forward into the contact therefore improving the horses way of going... Carl Hester for example suggests doing upto 200  :o a session...I know he's not exactly your average rider but surely that is related to the act of the transition is doing good within itself?
Emily+co in sunny(?) Scotland xx


Offline Harmony

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2013, 02:20:11 PM »
Oh I see the point you are making Em - yup, if your horse is going around on the forehand or rushing, then a transition can/will help. Even one where the horse comes against the hand/bit, because at least it gives you an opportunity to rebalance the horse. It needn't therefore be a full transition, esp. if that involves the horse losing balance - a half halt would be preferable there. Certainly I have found that lots of transitions can help inject energy into backward thinking horses. But if your horse is fizzy, I suspect 200 in a session would cause it to explode! Carl would count half halts in his 200 I think in that event. As others have said, it depends on the horse.

Offline Cobstar

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2013, 06:17:36 PM »
My first response was quality. As Della says, why would you want to train a response you do not want.
Then I thought a bit more - and thought of some scenarios where I might go for quantity.

If I had a horse who was very forward and perhaps over reacted to aids, I might plan to do frequent transitions at various pre-determined points in school to get horse listening to me and engaged in listening and responding. Once horse was going up or down a gear when I wanted without over-reacting, I would start focusing on quality of transition. I'd almost be looking for this type of horse to start thinking upward transitions were boring so they didn't over react. (Obviously I'd use my judgement and look for another solution if I wasn't getting expected response).

For a horse at the other end of the spectrum, slow off leg, or switched off, frequent transitions would start to engage them, and I'd almost be wanted to get them over-anticipating. Say if I did a 20m circle with an upward transition on quarter point and downward at next etc, I'd hopefully get to the point where they were offering to go up a gear, or down. And again once I got the response I wanted I would look to improve quality of transitions.

Like Erin's Mum I had Carl Hester's ideas about quantity of transitions in my mind. And his transitions are always about moving forward the horse's training in a correct way.

Offline CarolineJ

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2013, 06:20:53 PM »
Feel free to tell me I'm wrong, because I quite probably am  :D - but would doing lots of transitions with a fizzy horse turn them into something 'normal' and lessen the fizz?  If you're doing lots of setting up she could be tensing/fizzing with anticipation and playing around with something like 4 strides trot, 6 strides walk, 2 strides trot, 4 strides walk, 8 strides trot (or whatever random numbers you like, but never more than a few strides at a time) might help her concentrate more on you.

Offline ros

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2013, 08:56:28 PM »
My simplistic view (and forgive me if I'm repeating anything that's already been said) is that numerous and fairly frequent transitions get a horse listening to you, and  encourage the self-carriage that allows them to carry out your next request. The better the self-carriage, the sharper & cleaner the transition: conversely, slow/sloppy transition - you know self-carriage needs improvement.

Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Offline Naiad

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 06:10:16 AM »
I totally understand the gist of the conversation and see what is being said. Correct me if I am wrong in any of the following. When training an untrained horse, I thought that sometimes we don't particularly worry about perfection of, for example, the trot, and don't expect the horse to carry itself in any way resembling a highly trained horse - it may not have the muscles to relax and carry the head nicely etc. But as long as the movement is forwards and reasonable (even if not stellar quality according to standards of a highly trained horse), muscle is being built that will let a more quality trot emerge with patience and time. Would it be the same training a horse in transitions? For the first while, the transitions may not be particularly effective nor pretty - head might be too high or such things - but with time, the horse will gain the muscle to go into the transitions with the head more relaxed etc. Should one avoid transitions altogether beyond that which is necessary to accomplish some trot work until the horse has conquered a lovely transition, or do you still work away at transitions that may not be high quality per se as long as you feel like the horse is gradually gaining muscle and improving transitions? 

Offline SueC

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 09:43:38 PM »
I do hundreds and work towards improving them.   I like transitions and rarely go a few strides before some kind of transition.  If the transition is of poor quality, then the work following it is likely to also be poor quality, so what's the point in going on without attempting another transition?  ;)  The more the merrier.  :D

Offline Cobstar

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2013, 09:56:46 PM »
I do hundreds and work towards improving them.   I like transitions and rarely go a few strides before some kind of transition.  If the transition is of poor quality, then the work following it is likely to also be poor quality, so what's the point in going on without attempting another transition?  ;)  The more the merrier.  :D

Sue that's a brilliant way of putting it - and making it understandable too. 'Do something' is my mantra in much of life - must remember to apply it to horse stuff too  :)

Offline Erin's mum

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2013, 10:23:46 PM »
 :db: thanks everyone this has really helped to clarify things in my head, particularly what Sue has said  :nod: I now definitely think i'm guilty of not doing enough AND also not actually ever improving the quality of the transition itself. Instead I am setting the horse up, doing the transition and then staying in that pace until the quality improves again, thus actually ignoring the transition itself- the thing i'm trying to improve. This is a true :doh: moment I think  :-[
Emily+co in sunny(?) Scotland xx


Offline Naiad

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Re: Transitions: Quality or Quantity?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2013, 06:01:22 AM »
Interesting thread. Great to get everyone's input.