Feel and Timing – what is it and how do you get it?

Joanna Fisher
Joanna Fisher


International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares her thoughts on……feel and timing.

I often get asked what exactly this means and how can one improve and work on it…?
Like with ANY sport or any habit, feel and timing can only be worked on and improved with consistent practise. Remember when you were learning to drive a car, having to coordinate the gears, clutch, brake, accelerator whilst looking in your mirrors and concentrating on the road ahead… well given enough hours in the drivers seat, it becomes a habit and you naturally coordinate everything. Same rules apply to riding.
Feel and timing can be practised best in transitions.
Feeling the moment when you are going to ask for a downward transition and adjusting your seat, rein aid and hand position – and the timing is coordinating this at a moment within the stride. The greatest example of this will be found in the canter to walk transition or even canter to halt.
It’s the timing of feeling the hind leg stepping under and closing the hand to bring the impulsion back and underneath.
I advise my riders to feel the horses legs, imagine where they are and which one hitting the ground and time the aid accordingly.
It is something one has to practise, and not necessarily be able to teach. It is part instinct and imagination that will help, which certainly applies to training horses.
Imagining success and instinctively working hard is certainly good ingredients for victory- no matter what you are aiming for!
Good luck!

For more advice from Joanna, why not visit her other blog posts here:


Do I need a dressage saddle to do dressage



How Can I make my Pony Stop Leaning on me?



Help My Dressage Circles are oval



What Age should I teach my horse flying changes?



How to turn a leg yield into a half pass



How can I teach my horse shoulder in?



How should I prepare for a dressage test?



Should I do Sitting Trot in My Dressage Test?



Swinging Quarters Are Ruining My Dressage Halt!



Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.

It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website: www.stablegossip.com. She also has a dressage website which can be found at http://www.joannafisherdressage.com/


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