Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
• Horses: 0
I usually school the canter on a thirty meter (plus or minus) circle. The constant bend gives a better idea of which lead he may need than being driven into a corner, IMO. The corner may do more to unbalance a green horse who probably already has balance issues.
I use the outside leg behind the girth, but it only holds the haunches. I do not ask for forward movement with this leg. The inside leg is at the girth and does two things. First, it pushes at the girth to encourage the horse to move into the outside shoulder/rein to encourage a correct bend and, secondly, it asks the horse to energize and go forward. One should always ask for forward with the leg at the girth. Leg behind the girth is more effective in placing the haunch where you want it. Too much pressure with the leg behind the girth may swing the haunch to the inside of the circle, making him crooked and unbalanced.
I ask for the canter using these aids. If the horse picks up the incorrect lead, I quickly bring him back to trot and quickly ask for canter again. If the horse simply tries to trot faster I bring him back to a much shorter stride and ask again quickly. The longer you take asking for the canter again, the more likely the horse picks up the same incorrect lead. Eventually, the horse will pick up the correct lead. I praise him and the big reward is allowing him to canter on without any interruption.
The two things that do the most to sabotage a canter is lack of the proper bend and heaviness of the forehand (keep the trot stride short and energetic as a long stride is difficult for the horse to balance with).
Persistence and praise is what will help the horse understand what you are wanting.
I hope this makes sense to you and offers some help.