Improving canter-work on the lunge
I've been encountering some issues whilst training my horse to canter on the lunge. To be honest we really haven't worked too much on the canter, as I have been trying to improve her head carriage, hindquarter engagement, accuracy to cues and transitions in walk, trot, and halt. It has been difficult to get her body supple and to achieve a bend throughout her body, but just this week I noticed a great improvement...we have stepped up the suppling exercises using groundwork and poles. I have a trainer but I am interested in hearing your opinions as well.
Frida seems to think canter means balls to the wall, let's go. Case in point, if I am lungeing and I notify someone else in the ring saying "Head's up, I am going to ask her to canter" she immediately speeds up the tempo of her trot. If she is at a walk, and I think to myself "I am going to ask for a transition to canter from this trot I am about to ask, the trot she picks up will even be noticeably more forward. She is a bit sluggish at times to pick up the trot, but NEVER so with the canter, I only ever have to ask once. In the beginning, she would buck a bit, try and pull me out of the circle, and break often when I would bump the line to ask her to be responsible for her own bends around the circle. The circle is quite large, she even brushes up against the wall, she's finally getting the point that bigger circle = better. Now that we hae been working on this gait for a solid week, she rarely breaks the gait or bucks. She responds really well when I ask for the bend by bumping the line. She is definitely assuming more responsibility for her own body.
Problem is, I can't seem to get her to relax enough, or to maintain the canter without rocketing around. I watch all these quarterhorses at the barn where I board, and their lope seems like a relaxed rocking horse bunny hop type gait. I know she is part arab, so I'm not expecting her to be the same as them, but I would like her not to act as if there is a pack of wolves chasing her each time she canters for me.
I know that some horses can propel themselves forward in attempts to achieve balance, but how can I help correct this?
P.S. All her tack fits, and she is not in pain. I lunge her in a lungeing caveson and brushing boots. Thanks!