Tempo is very important in our work. It is easy to ride too fast, or too slow. Paces have to be active but not rushed so that the “bridge” or back of our horse, which joins the back to the front, is able to swing. The better the tempo with rhythm, the more elastic the paces are.

The first point to understand is that the horse moves forward from the leg aid. In previous blogs, I have talked about applying the leg and then releasing the pressure. Pressure is a punishment, so is only applied very quickly after an aid is given if, there was not an answer from the horse. The leg is quick and sharp and instantly taken off. This requires skill from the rider as it important that the leg comes off instantly. When the horse is responsive and moving “in front of the leg” then you should be able to trot around and about your arena without having to put your leg back on.

Have your hands at home base, which is just in front of the wither. They quietly and steadily offer support and a balance when the horse seeks for a connection to your hand. We call this contact.

EXERCISE

Ride transitions around the area.

At A trot. At M walk. At C trot. At E walk. At K trot etc. Choose your own places to ride the transitions but they need to vary in length in between each transition and slowly become closer so that they come up faster.

Walk and trot to start with and then you can add the halt.