Canter Transitions

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • lauren989 Original Poster lauren989
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 9

    I have been leasing my horse almost a year and up until this point I have had a very small riding space. It was so narrow and the long side was maybe 6 strides. Recently, I was able to start riding in a normal sized arena. Oden, the horse has gotten much better in the larger arena. His trot is smoother and his jumps are less rushed and we are able to jump a little higher. The only problem is his canter transitions, he rarely had issues with leads until now. It takes me 3-4 tries just to get the correct lead. I was wondering if anyone had any exercises to try and help us pick up the correct lead?

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    Have you tried picking up the canter in a corner, and going deep into the corner with the horse well bent to the inside? The horse normally picks up the correct canter lead for the circle he is working on, so if you can go deep in a corner, with the horse correctly bent to the inside, he may find it easier to “feel” which canter lead he needs to pick up for that quarter of a circle. Or try picking the canter up on a circle, but again the horse must be correctly bent to the inside. If you are holding the horse on the rail by bending his/her head and neck to the outside, you are effectively telling him to pick up the wrong lead.

    freyamae freyamae
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 5

    definitely try doing circle exercises with him, this will make it easier for him to pick up the right leg, also just be patient with him, and keep trying! I’m sure you’ll get there, good luck 🙂

    lauren989 Original Poster lauren989
    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 9

    I tried picking up the canter on a circle when he was well bent to the inside. My position was proper and he still managed to get the wrong lead.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Every horse, like people, favors one lead over the other. Is he properly collecting himself? Have you tried doing straight line work, changing leads in the center? Does he pick up the correct lead while on a longe line? Generally, the fault is with the rider – either the horse doesn’t quite understand, the balance is wrong, or some other factor (and some horses, like one of mine, are just brats about it). Try riding while someone else longes him, and also try riding without reins or irons. This will help you feel better what he is doing, and which foot is about to hit the ground (there is some complicated way to do feel this, which I cannot manage), as that is when you should ask for the gait or lead change. Will he canter from a walk or halt, or do you always trot him into it? Does he automatically land on the correct lead after a fence when he will be changing direction? These are all questions to ask yourself (and getting someone to video you could be a great help), not questions to which I want answers. It is very difficult to find the answer, when none of us have seen the horse. There is a lot of good advice here, but you will have to use a trial and error method to find the one method that works for you and your horse. If he does it correctly on the longe (consistently), I would assume he is familiar with the word “canter” – perhaps you could start telling him “canter left” or “canter right” – once he learns what you mean him to do, it might be easier to get him to do it under saddle. I got my horse to understand short sentences, and the things he likes to do, he does perfectly. If he doesn’t want to, he makes that very clear with a lot of head tossing and looking for something scary so he can misbehave. Part of it could also be that there is so much more space now – your last place sounds as if you were riding in a stall or something.

    It is never the horse's fault

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