Improving canter work

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Improving canter work

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  • Improving canter work

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    11-25-2013, 05:09 PM
Improving canter work

Hi all

My friend has unfortunately fallen off and seriously damaged her knee. She won't be able to ride for a few months, so I have offered to help her out and ride him a couple of times a week. You may remember me posting a while ago about him, having trouble with his canter leads. This issue is now solved

Now I would like to imrpove his canter. In walk he is fine, nice and soft and accepts the contact, walks forward in a good rhythm. Trot is okay too, still working on the contact but he has a good rhythm. Now, the canter...

The transition into the canter isn't the best but I am trying to work on that. Once you are in the canter, he has a real tendency to rush. When you try and slow him down he just breaks into trot. He does this just with flat work but the problem is exaggerated when jumping. I am not too worried about the jumping yet, as I want to get it sorted on the flat first.

So, how can I teach him to canter properly? Lol
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    11-25-2013, 06:55 PM
There are many ways to skin a cat, but this sounds like a balance/confidence issue. I would get up off his back (2 point) and just allow him to canter under you. A big circle or laps around a full size arena is ideal. Keep a steady contact, and every few strides give him a little check with the rein and hold through your back.
This gives him a chance to find his own balance in canter, and gradually he will become more comfortable to come back and begin to carry through his hind legs.

This is the first thing I would do, before starting smaller figures and transitions which will improve the quality of the canter and fine tune the balance. Allowing the horse to find its own balance has always worked well for me, once they are confidently staying in canter and allowing me to check their tempo and rebalance them lightly, I will start coming back onto a 20m circle and play with my favourite canter improving exercises - rapid trot-canter-trot transitions, and transitions within the canter.
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