Cueing the Canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Cueing the Canter

Hi everyone,

I'm interesting to hear the "correct" way to cue a canter. That is, if there is one. I know many people have different training styles and what not...So how do YOU cue your horse into a canter.

My new mare Rumor is at the trainer right now and her way of cueing for the canter is different then the way I've been riding. Granted, I haven't had lessons in years and even though I'm a pretty good rider, I'm by no means an expert. I do well in my field, barrel racing and speed events, but, I'm not really a "technical" rider. But I want to ride the best that I can for my horses.

Her way of cueing for the canter on a left lead was...
1. Get the horse into a good solid trot and sit down (if posting) before asking for the canter.

2. Put left heel into horses side by the girth.

3. Take right leg and slide it back towards the horses hind end.

4. Kiss and squeeze.

Cueing for the right lead would be opposite feet. Right heel by girth and left leg sliding back towards hind quarters.

Now, the way that I have been cueing for the past 8 years for canter is...

Left Lead:
1. Push horses hind quarters to the inside tract.
2. Tip horses nose to the outside (so I can see the eyeball)
3. Put right leg onto them
4. Kiss

My way seems so much simpler. LoL. And ^^^ is when I have a new horse. On my well trained horses I don't have to tip their head out, I only have to put my leg on them and kiss and they pop right into a canter.

So...How do you get your horses to canter on the correct lead.

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post #2 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 08:24 PM
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I've basically always done the same as you've done, except bent a bit to the inside. Then only kiss if necessary.

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post #3 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 08:30 PM
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Hahaha with Lacey, that's a great question.

When I initially got her, I had always been trained to cue for the canter by moving your outside leg back, keeping your inside leg lightly "on", and squeezing with your outside leg. So, I used that method on her.
She would constantly pick up the wrong lead so I started experimenting and by the time I figured out her cue (inside leg back+squeezing, outside leg solid+"on"), after yearrrrs of doing it wrong, I had unfortunately pretty much ruined her knowledge of leads.

Now, since we just trail ride and leads aren't "vital", I just kiss and squeeze with both legs, letting her pick up whatever lead feels "right" to her. She does a pretty good job at picking up the lead that's the best for wherever we're riding so I guess it's ok. If I want her to pick up a particular lead, I try to do it her way (now that I know what "her way" is!!) but even then it's not a sure thing she'll get the lead I want. If I bring her down and start again, she'll usually try the other lead on the second try.

Moral of this story: talk to your horse's seller about his/her cues before buying! Haha
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Last edited by Wallaby; 08-30-2012 at 08:32 PM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 08:32 PM
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well when I was teaching them I did the same as you...now I just shift my weight to the inside stirrup a little kiss and off they go

*Insert something witty*
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 08:33 PM
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I ask for canter leads the same way your trainer does. I also have have my horse bend through the body in the direction I will be asking for the lead.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 08:34 PM
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The way you cue puts the horse crooked and forces them onto the lead. Ok if you just want to play around in the arena at home and out on trails, but if you need to be judged on your canter transition you will get canned for that.

There are different ways to cue for canter. I tend to cue with my inside leg and hip, using my outside leg only to support the outside hind from swinging out. I find that being able to 'lift' my inside hip to cue to canter is a great help when teaching laterals in the canter work, and flying changes, as the horse stays much straighter, than cuing with the outside leg.
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 08:37 PM
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^^its a good way to teach youngins...at least imo but that's just me...i tought all my guys to go off of weight distribution and leg. So right leg pressure, with left stirrup having more weight for the left lead etc. so they go into it....small movements that a judge wont see in the show ring haha

It sounds wrong....especially as I read it...its hard to explain haha

*Insert something witty*
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
The way you cue puts the horse crooked and forces them onto the lead. Ok if you just want to play around in the arena at home and out on trails, but if you need to be judged on your canter transition you will get canned for that.

There are different ways to cue for canter. I tend to cue with my inside leg and hip, using my outside leg only to support the outside hind from swinging out. I find that being able to 'lift' my inside hip to cue to canter is a great help when teaching laterals in the canter work, and flying changes, as the horse stays much straighter, than cuing with the outside leg.
*sigh* This just confused the crap out of me. LoL.

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him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too."

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post #9 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 09:03 PM
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My instructor has been teaching me the same way you currently do it

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post #10 of 21 Old 08-30-2012, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CLaPorte432 View Post
*sigh* This just confused the crap out of me. LoL.
Do you ride Western or English?
I'm a dressage 'queen' and in dressage, there is an enormous focus on keeping the horse straight, and the aids as quiet as possible. In many of the tests that we ride, we are required to pick up canter on a straight line, from walk, down the middle of the arena. Or, ride simple changes down the middle of the arena, right in front of the judge. The horse shoulder appear symmetrical to the judge. So you definitely do not want to be pulling their head one way and swinging their quarters the other while trying to ride 3 simple changes down the centre line. It would earn you maybe a 4 for the movement if you were lucky and the judge had a stiff drink
We also place a heavy reliance on the seat as an aid. The seat is used before any other aid, if you train your horse well enough, you *should* be able to pick up canter simply by lifting your inside seat bone and a touch of inside leg.
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