The flying change when the horse changes the canter lead, from left to right, or vice versa. He does this in the moment of suspension when all four legs are in the air between strides.
When the horse can maintain a relaxed, straight, and sufficient collection in the canter, then the flying change can be taught. During the moment of suspension the former inside hind leg becomes the new outside hind leg which is the first one to touch down and to start the new canter stride. It is followed by the diagonal pair: the new outside foreleg and the new inside hind leg touch down, followed by the new inside foreleg.
There are various ways to teach the flying change.
Counter canter on a large circle at one end of the arena and when returning to X, changing to the other circle.
Riding counter canter on a large circle and then changing to true canter on that same circle.
Riding a small half circle out of the corner (teardrop to my students), riding back to the track you have just left and asking a stride or two travers before applying the aid.
Short diagonals, straighten the horse and change.
On the inside track going large, ride counter canter and ask for the change a stride before the corner.
Aids for the flying change. (from left to right)
Count 3 strides when you are going to do a change
1Prepare with a half halt. Prepare your horse with the half halt so he is listening to the leg and hand, and that he knows something is going to happen.
2Move the legs( in the middle of the stride so that the horse does not anticipate) move the Right leg slightly back. At the same time the Left leg moves forward to the girth. The Left leg keeps the horse straight.
3Change. Use the Right leg to give the aid to change. Use the right rein to keep the rhythm and tempo. Give on the Left rein and support the forward motion with the Left leg. Keep the weight to the Right until the horse has fully completed the change before moving to the left.
Steady position and feel is needed for this movement. Do not move the leg to far back and being on the bit is not necessary whilst leaning the technique.