The flying change is an important exercise across all equestrian disciplines. It is part of dressage tests from level 3 onward and an essential exercise for every show jumper.
But teaching horses the flying change can turn into a real challenge. Especially amateurs often struggle with it. However, certain exercises target all the basics you need to ride a correct flying change. So, keep reading and find out how you should structure your training to reach your goal!
The HorseAnalytics App offers more than 200 exercises for jumping, dressage and cross country to help you find inspiration for efficient and fun training sessions. So, don’t just trust the process, make it happen!
The flying change is all about the quality of the canter and straightness of the horse. Another important aspect when teaching the flying change is to avoid your horse getting flighty and stressed. Therefore, you shouldn’t ask for it in every training, but try to include it about 2 times per week.
The following training plan will show you how to structure your weekly training correctly. All exercises that are shown can be found in the HorseAnalytics App. You can search, save and share the exercises and of course go through all the other exercises we prepared for you to improve your training further.
But now, let’s get straight into it!
Weekly Training Schedule:
„Straightness on the centerline“
In this exercise, you’ll have to switch quickly between bending and straightening your horse. By bending your horse, you’ll work both sides evenly and therefore improve strength. Being able to smoothly switch between bending to one side, straightening the horse, and then bending it to the other will give you a feeling for balance, straightness, and improve the quality of the gaits, if done correctly.
Exercise: „The Hourglass“
First, try to practice the flying change by riding over a single pole. With the grid shown in the picture, you can choose between a single pole and a grid of poles or fences.
But always keep in mind: Don’t hang on to the reigns to slow your horse down or turn. All your aids should primarily come from your lower leg and core. If your horse gets stressed and flighty step back and start over trying to regain balance, suppleness and straightness.
Exercise: „Exercise for balance“
Vary your training and don’t think of the flying change today. You’ll stay on track nevertheless by practicing balance and working on throughness with this exercise.
Dressage with flying change
Exercise: „Flexion and Bending“
Today, you will try to do the flying change without poles. By changing reigns and alternate bending and flexing your horse to both sides you’ll prepare for the flying change. Make sure that your horse canters calmly and easily and does not build up stress during the exercise.
Lunging with poles
As we all know, a rider has his weaknesses too and hinders the horse to move balanced and free from time to time. Therefore, lunging is important to make sure the horse doesn’t get distracted by the rider’s mistakes which could result in muscular imbalances. Keep in mind, that the horse has to bend constantly while lunging as you’re keeping it on a circle. Your task is to make sure the horse bends correctly and engages the inner hind leg.
Exercise: „B80T Course“
Ride a course with small fences and see if you’re able to keep rhythm and balance – get into a flow. Make sure you ride straight lines to every fence and don’t overwhelm your horse with flying changes.