When I first started the flying changes with Batialo I was very worried that I would stuff them up! I was convinced that if I began them in the wrong way I would ruin him and he would never be able to do them properly.
The trick was to begin step by step, and the most important thing was to never forget the walk canter canter walk transitions. These transitions are the building blocks of the flying change.
The second thing I learnt was to feel for the “flying change” canter. This canter may not be your most engaged canter, or the most collected, it is the canter that you know your horse can more easily find his balance for the change. It may be that you have to push a bit more forward, or slow a little bit, allow the horse to come more out in front etc, whatever it is that makes it that bit easier for him to perform the new task that you are asking.
It is important then, even when you have established the change, to always go back to the canter walk transition to check. There are some days where if I can’t get the good canter walk walk canter transition, I don’t even attempt the flying changes. It would be like going for a sprint when you feel like you are not really jogging that well to begin with.
This week, after feeling confident in the two times changes I began my first attempts at a one one. Again I thought I would muck it up, but I realised that if I just thought about getting him in “flying change” canter, which for Batialo is slightly more long in front and with a slower less active canter, I could ask for the one one, and within two days, he had pretty much got the hang of it.
By the Friday I could ask for a one one one, and for now I’ll leave it there, taking my time now to go back to that canter walk walk canter transition, to remind me and B what it’s all about 😉