Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
Improving the canter
With winter upon us and our nice large field iced over, we're back in the arena for riding. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this has highlighted how much my gelding's canter is not really any good at all. Our indoor is probably 50x100ft.
We ride limited distance endurance and he is a good willing boy. Nice sensible gelding in good shape, w/t/c/whoa, sidepass, etc. He responds well to leg pressure at a walk and a trot, and while cantering straight or down a trail. Or even on (very) large circles. He knows how to take the correct lead, though sometimes must be 'reminded' to take the right lead if that is the one you asked for on the straight as it is his less favored lead.
However, ask him to move from a circle at a trot to canter and everything falls apart- he starts getting rushy, ignoring leg pressure and tries to imitate a motorcycle. Just off balance and wonky. I don't know how to train/retrain/help him as most of the lesson horses I've ridden are so far past this stage of training that it's a different matter entirely. I would love to do the large circles he is good on and spiral down, but the indoor is rather small and won't allow for that and the outdoor is a soupy, icy mess that is frankly dangerous. We can trot our small circles and do figure 8 and trot serpentines comfortably and relaxed.
So, good HF folks, what exercises, drills and trailing do you suggest I do in order to improve things? I would love to be able to do a nice, controlled, balanced circle each direction in the indoor, and I have all winter to get there. :)