Canter to walk help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 09-09-2012, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Canter to walk help?

On Friday we were working on canter to walk and walk to canter transitions. I found it quite difficult because at the beginning with canter to walk because there was a difficult, bouncy trot in-between but I got more assertive and on my last go I managed to do it without any trot I think. What I really struggled with was canter to walk though, I couldnít get to walk without a lot of trotting. I did what my instructor was saying (sit back and tall, heels down and pull on reins), but I couldnít get the horse I was riding to slow down at all without pulling hard at the reins, and even that took a while. My instructor demonstrated what she meant on the horse I was riding, and I think she was see sawing the reins and being quite harsh, but after a few goes the horse was much more responsive and was back to walk from canter almost immediately. Then I had another go and messed it up again with loads of trot in-between the transition. Do I just need to be more powerful with my aids to start with? I just really worry about the horseís mouth, and after when we are in walk he kept throwing his head in the air and I worry that Iíve hurt him.
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-09-2012, 09:31 PM
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Canter - walk should be ridden more through the seat, than by pulling on the reins. Pulling on the reins will dump the horse straight on the forehand, pulling them off balance and making the transition more difficult.
You want to imagine that the horse is 'sinking' the quarters into walk. The transition shouldn't be visable, the horse is cantering one moment and walking the next.

I ride canter-walks with seat only. The horse should be well balanced in canter, working in or towards collection. When you want to come back to walk, think of creating a 'canter pirouette' canter, almost bringing it on the spot. Imagine that you are nailing yourself to the ground in this moment, sit deep, engage your core and think halt. Your core should be burning!

If you get those god awful unbalanced, jack hammer trot strides in between, pick up canter again, refresh the quality of the pace, and try again.
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-10-2012, 01:09 PM
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I agree with Kayty. Your primary tool should be your seat. Make sure you're sitting tall when you ask too--if you're not balanced, you're going to get thrown forward onto your horse's neck, making the transition more difficult and not pretty.
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-10-2012, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll try using my seat more but sometimes it feels like the horse won't listen unless I'm using the reins.

I'm not too good at sitting trot anyway, so when I'm not expecting it and it is an awkward trot it makes it even worse, and I know I have bad balance.

I've never managed to do go down a transition without using the reins, the horse doesn't react and my instructor would think I'm ignoring her.
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-10-2012, 05:45 PM
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Try this in walk - halt transitions first and then build up to canter-walk. Take a deep breath in, and on your exhale, tighten your core, squeeze the reins, and stop your hips from moving with the horse. Every horse I have ever ridden at least hesitated when I started doing this. If they hesitate, ask them to whoa like normal and try again. Your lesson horse should pick it up, and will probably appreciate a student who isn't yanking on her face.

This is, of course, meant to tie in with the already wonderful advice you've been given. Good luck!
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