Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Beautiful Pacific Northwest
• Horses: 0
I don't know if it's a British way of training. I'm thinking it might be as albertaeventer suggests - a dressage thing. It's called a counter-canter, and dressage horses are indeed trained to do it. I don't know why. It's more difficult for a horse to counter-canter, because it requires more strength and balance. However, your horse should be able to do both.
The cuing you're describing is odd, though. The cuing you're describing is correct for the regular canter. A horse will typically pick up the lead on the leg where their shoulder is slightly forward. So if you want the right lead, your right leg is at the girth or slightly forward and you close the left rein slightly, both of which move the right shoulder forward so that the right lead is picked up. I, like you, also move my left leg slightly back. For a counter-canter, I do everything backwards. But it sounds like you're getting a counter-canter when cuing for a standard lead, is that correct? It should be difficult for a horse to pick up the left lead if their right shoulder is forward, and visa-versa. I know many horses that always pick up the same lead no matter what, but yours sounds truly backwards.