I went through this with my first horse, he had never been taught to canter.
Trying to push him into canter under saddle was a nightmare for both of us. he was so uncordinated it was almost impossible to stay on. let alone give any sort of consistant cue.
I discovered work him on the lunge or roundyard, the second he was cantering I would say the word 'canter ' with each successful stride and tell him what a good boy he was. until he understood the word meant the gait.
He would then strike off into a beautiful canter on command, it took him months to develop the muscling and rytham to maintain the canter for a full circle then continue more circles without losing rytham and balance, then and only then did I ride him and ask for 'canter' the result was pure delight.
It really is a case of make haste slowly. The rewards are well worth it.
I forget where to find it now. but someone has discovered the gene is linked to the awkwardness you see in transitions of gaited horses, they need much more practice to get it right and stay in coordiation during transitions so easier on you and the horse to get that practice without the rider struggling to stay in rytham while getting the hang of it first.
Last edited by mindari; 03-10-2013 at 05:45 AM.