January Training Task

Over the Christmas break I had this idea to put together little challenges or tasks for 2021. Something to get us thinking about the different aspects of our training, keep us motivated, help with current issues or just something we haven’t thought about before. It is not something competitive to see who can do something ‘better’!

This month for January I wanted to do a ‘transitions’ task.

Now this training task will focus on:

Transitions within the gait

  • Trot– focusing on the horse to wait and to be able to come back on our aids then to be able to go back into a working trot again.
  • Canter – If you have a few more miles under your belt to be able to play around with the canter more, it’s a great exercise to start to work with.
Things to think about:
  • Keeping balance – not letting them want to pick up the lateral pair. They must keep the diagonal pair.
  • Connection in the bridle- keep a consistent contact and connection with the frame. We don’t want the frame/posture to change only the tempo.
  • Not to bring them back too far and getting stuck.
    • The idea is to keep the balance throughout the exercise being adjustable within the trot or canter work.
  • Finding that area where they might want to break into a pace. When you find that area and build on from it, you’ll know where your limits are.
  • If they are wanting to break into a pace while doing this exercise. Start to troubleshoot.
    • Bring it onto a 20m circle.
    • While in working trot, connecting your inside leg to your outside rein. This is helping to connect the horses inside hind leg to the outside shoulder.
    • Make sure you have a good connection through the reins and into the bridle.
    • Ride a shoulder fore on the circle before starting to play around with the transitions.


Benefits of this task:
  • Great exercise when you’re warming up if they are behind your leg
  • Finding more gears within your work
  • Getting the horse to use their hind quarters more
  • Will improve transitions in and out


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Any questions please ask away in the Facebook group or contact me directly I’m more than happy to help!


I’ll be popping up my video over the next few days!


Just remember we are all on this training train together 🙂


Lesson Recap: The Diagonal Pair

It’s no secret I love getting lesson from Brett Parbery, I was fortunate to meet Brett when he hosted his first Intelligent Riding Retreat back in 2016. (umm, wow, where has the time gone!) Which has been one of the biggest game changes for my training to date.

I had my first actual lesson from Brett early in 2018 through Sydney Dressage Club, which I haven’t really looked back since! I always try to get a spot on these super popular clinics, if you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend. You won’t regret it 🙂

Lesson Diagonal Pair

I thought I would do a mini re cap on our lesson, as I hope it would also shed some light for other Standardbred riders out there whom are experiencing the same training bumps as myself.

If you are a dedicated reader and have viewed over some of my other posts, you will know my history with Standardbreds and how I am a firm believer that they are born to pace. Meaning they are a 5 gaited breed, not a 4 gaited breed like most other riding horses. If you haven’t checked out my mini-series on the Standardbred Myths, sit down with a coffee and have a read! Part 1 and Part 2.

Out of all the Standardbreds I could have chosen on the property; I chose Arnie to re-educate and ride. His always had a lovely temperament and loves going places and being centre of attention. However, he is probably the one horse on the property that literally paces the most! At the end of the day it is natural for them to do it! We as riders just have to show them when and where to do so.

I was super pumped for our lesson last weekend, because we didn’t have the most positive week prior. You see, I entered a protocol day the week before our dressage competition, which was a week before the clinic. I went to the protocol day with lots and lots to work on for our competition the weekend following.

As I was riding during that week, I couldn’t paste it all together properly and I felt like I wasn’t riding well at all. I didn’t want to drive all the way down to the competition after a bad week and knowing I wasn’t giving my horse the best possible chance of doing well.  I decided to scratch and then re-focus on the lesson the following weekend.

There were two areas of our lesson that we focused on, the first one, which was the main point from my struggles the week prior. Nailing the canter transition in the 2B, coming from the free walk, quickly gathering him trot then canter. I find him a bit difficult to gather! We worked on leg yields and cutting the corner slightly and leg yielding him over and then canter transition. Which really helped! Can’t wait to ride the test next!

The second area, which I really want to share with you is the transitions. You see, because Arnie likes to pace, he doesn’t pick up the diagonal pair quickly he puts in this little thing then goes into the diagonal pair. It worked hand in hand with the previous exercises. We focused on gathering him in the halt, by this we just let him soften and yield with the rein contact. Not to be pulling forward and against the rein aid. The aim was to see the upper part of his neck to relax. It’s a simple exercise to do whilst warming up or even during your training to help re gather and to start listening and waiting  a little more, especially if they get a little longer and become a little sticky/against the rein in the contact.

While working on these little improvements, we decided to try and get his stride in between the walk and trot happening a little quicker.

Here is a clip of this part of our lesson, there is some background noise but you can hear some of Brett’s commentary. I think his training system, horsemanship and philosophy is amazing, it is well worth a watch and listen to if you can hear!