Absolutely NO sign of lameness in that canter.
His conformation is actually very nice. I like the way he's built, seriously.
I don't think you were doing ANYTHING wrong. I don't use Word cues much at all. I kind of think that the horse mostly understands our tone of voice anyway. There's only two choices ;up transition or down transition. So, I tend to use a rising tone with up transitions and a falling for downs.
What I meant by having his eye turn back would be, for example walk along your inner circle (oh, that's another thing we might do different; I don't stand in the middle. I walk a smaller circle so that I am always with my body front facing the horse, in line with his cinch area.) Sometimes , if you are walking with the horse and you get a bit more behind them than in line with there cinch, and you slow down a tiny bit, you can kind of check to see if they are connected. If they are connected, then they will roll an ear back, bend a little at the head and look back at you, maybe even slow and turn back toward you. You are "drawing" them but not enought to stop. If you did, you could slow your feet, then actaully back up and your hrose should curl around and draw toward you. Or, just begin that process of drawing , only to the point of having him look more at you, then don't let him stop, but move him on forward. for a minute there you will have your horse moving on a really nice inward bend, which is beneficial to him. You are just checking in to see if he's paying attention to you.
I would also work on varying the speed of the gait within the gait. See if you can get a faster walk, then slower, then faster, slower, then trot, etc. Trot can vary a lot between really slow and almost a canter. That really keeps your horse engage. With a nervous horse, do it very, very lightly and not a lot and if you are asking for a speed up, if he give it to you, maybe just take all the pressure off and let him coast , then come in and get a pet.
let him rest regularly and walk over and pet him or get him to walk ALMOST all the way. I mean up to the place where he is near but not invading your personal space. a couple of easy pets or a shoulder scratch and then move him off to the rail and on again.
it's the process of moving him off and drawing him back, and changing the gait that keeps it interesting.
My old instructor said all learning takes place during the "change". so make lots of changes.
Last edited by tinyliny; 03-18-2011 at 12:06 AM.