Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
"Corporal" (1982-2009, RIP), was very left handed and preferred to counter canter rather than pick up the right lead. The best thing to do, IMHO, is to first focus on shoulders in and haunches in until he is REALLY obedient to cues for those. You will use a haunches in to ask for the lead bc it points the lead foot, or inside foot, forwards. Also, post the trot and STUDY your horse, so that YOU can tell what pair of feet are hitting the ground as you are riding him. Then, try to ask for the lead, while sitting the trot, and cue for the canter while the right hind foot is hitting the ground. That foot begins the canter, then LH & RF together, then the left front, the LEAD foot.
You will ask for the correct lead from the trot bc you want to make sure he has the momentum, at this preliminary stage, to canter, instead of giving you a "road trot."
There is no guarantee that he'll pick up the lead correctly the first few times since it's become a habit to always try to try to canter on the right lead. If he still picks up the wrong lead try circling tight, or drive him into a spiral. AS SOON AS he picks up the right lead, canter maybe 3 strides, than lay on the praise and try again.
ALSO, ask for the canter, haunches on, on the straight. It won't work asking on the turn. I've tried it...for YEARS. Julie Goodnight had a great program about this last year. Check out her site.
When he reliably takes cues for both leads, school for the canter from the walk. If you have any cavaletti, this sometimes helps to ask for the canter as you ride over the low setting.