Rocky Says: Transition Takes Motivation

I heard the humans were talking about transitions this week. Horses do lots of transitions, from standing to walking, or walking to trotting, or trotting to cantering. Sometimes we do transitions slowly, from one gait to another. We take our time getting into the new gait because we aren’t in a hurry. Of course, something has to motivate us to move, whether it is some discomfort like a bug annoying us, or whether it is something interesting like a person holding a carrot.

Then there are times where are transitions are really fast! We might go from standing still to galloping off. This happens when we get really excited or really surprised. When we get really excited we let everyone know it because it’s amazing to feel that way and we want to share it with everyone around us! When we get surprised, we also want everyone to know it because it might be something they need to know about in order to stay safe. Or, it may be that we are the only one who is surprised and if we tell everyone about it, they might have some information we can use to calm ourselves back down. For instance, sometimes I get scared of a toy ball blowing around the pasture. I transition and snort, running away! But then I realize that Boden is walking up to it and pushing it with his nose and I know that he wouldn’t do anything too dangerous, so it allows me to get curious instead of scared.

When we do transitions, we also need to have some balance. Sometimes we have all of our weight on one foot for a moment while we strike off into a new gait. We can’t do this for long, but we can do it in the moment of power when we push off into a faster gate. If we weren’t balanced we would just fall over.

We also need motivation. We have to want to protect ourselves, be curious, want to be more comfortable, or want to get somewhere else. This is what gives us the drive to do any transition.

I’ve heard that humans have transitions, too. I hope that when you hear about our transitions as horses, maybe it will help the humans figure out how to get through their transitions just a little better.

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About the Author : Holly Jedlicka

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