Interesting what you said about your work with the trainer and working on making the leg light.
The fist thing that came to my mind, is that if you want to be able to have your horse have different levels of canter, then work on developing different levels of walk and trot. This being that leg on does't mean "change gait" but rather "add energy". IF you can get him expandable and contractable at walk and trot, you will get it at canter.
I do not recommend relying on verbal cues for a miriad of speeds/gaits. I do, however, use my breath a lot to encourage a downtransition of energy. I breath outward in rythm with my horse and add a solidifying of the core muscles to hold the energy. Just be sure to release either right at the point where you feel your horse restrain himself or even before. NOT late, early or on time.
well, the walk and trot I can vary, it's just the lope that I have trouble slowing down, but at the walk/trot he does not rest on my leg as much, but at the lope, he gets VERY heavy on my leg! But since I started this excersise all I have to do is move my leg back and lightly touch his side with my leg and up he goes into the canter. He's never been that light. Sooo, I am kinda wondering if that has anything to do with it.
You need to give clear aids when trying to teach your horse something new. Voice first, then seat, then legs, then hands. Before you begin to try and slow him down make sure he is completely balanced at a lope on both leads. Make sure he is using his hind end and not dragging himself along with his front legs. Often, when you teach horse to slow down his lope, they lose all that power and just pull themselves along. Could you post a video or some photos of him at a lope? :) Might help me a bit more.
I do have 2 videos, but niether of them are very good, one is at a show and very short but what happened was just before the clip was taken, I was standing in line up waiting and something went up his nose and he started panicking so he was on his best behaviour so not sure how good that clip will be and the other one is really dark and I was trying to work out some issues that we were having so my riding looks to not be up to par.but I am trying to get them up and goingso if I can then I will post them but other then that, here is a picture of him loping...and yes, I know, he is behind the vertical, my hands are too low...lol, and I have a horrible look on my face
I like to use the voice with training, using every aid I can. After using my body cues consistently for awhile my horses don't need the verbal cue anymore and I drop it. But I find it particularly helpful when you're teaching something on the lunge line first and then transitioning it over to under saddle. It is hard for many horses to balance a rider and lope slowly. If you work on building the proper muscles on the lunge first it becomes easier for the horse to carry a rider.
As for the extended trot: you teach that it's another gait in between trot and lope. You drive the horse forward but don't let them speed up more than a little and don't let them break gait (using whatever cue you have decided means extended trot). It's just like under saddle except the impulsion comes from your whip and body language. Making the circle smaller can help control the speed of it while making the horse reach more.
thanks for the tip, I will have to try it
and he definitely is much more balanced now. He was fairly unbalanced a while back and had trouble picking up his right lead and couldn't circle to the right at the lope...i had some time where I couldn't ride him due to issues with him and so I was working on his lunging because he was never really lunged before and I found it really helped to get him balanced. Now he is picking up both leads perfectly and he circles in both directions. I never thought to try it before this because we have a round pen and just thought it was an "undersaddle" issue because he never did these things in the round pen but I couldn't ride him and it was too cold to be outside round penning so I figured what the heck we'll work on lunging and all these issues came up that I was having trouble with undersaddle, when I got back on there wasn't much to fix in those areas
thanks for the tip on extending, I don't think i've ever seen anyone ask for extension on the lungeline.