Note: I am not a trainer and I am working with my first green horse, so I have very little experience with this, but I had a trainer working with me on cantering my colt and this is what he had me do.
We worked in a round pen with me riding the horse and practicing our trot. He would have me trot slow, then speed up, then slow down, then speed up, and at some point I would ride that trot so fast that we were on the cusp of cantering. Then just a little more encouragement and we went into a canter. We cantered a few strides then transitioned to a trot and repeated. Do it both directions. That is what we did and it worked well for us.
As a matter of fact I was riding out on the trail the other day and we were trotting out and we were right on the cusp of cantering and I didn't push him to do it.....he's a pretty green horse and I was riding alone and not really planning to ask for the canter, but something magical happened, he transitioned into this wonderful canter out on the trail. And he didn't try to get fast or anything. We just had a wonderful little canter and then I slowed him back to a trot. The same way we did in the round pen. I wasn't even planning to canter and it just came naturally. Perfect, smooth transition. I am sure our round pen work set us up for success. He was used to trotting into a smooth canter transition, cantering for a bit, and then slowing to a trot again. It was wonderful! First time cantering him out alone on the trail. :)
PS. I find my horses listen better riding alone. They get a lot more excited cantering with other horses. I would never canter the colt in a group, for instance, or even with one other horse. We will practice this for a long, long time I would imagine before we canter with other horses.
Last edited by trailhorserider; 12-03-2013 at 10:13 PM.