So, I have a 12 year old VERY intelligent and somewhat belligerent guy.....new situations don't frighten him, instead he will go over and check it out. When left in the arena he will drag out all the "scary" training barrels, noodles, tarps....etc. He also is disrespectful to most people who try and ride him and he will refuse to budge....in other words he can be very lazy as well.
So, knowing the background about his personality will probably help you to understand or maybe provide insight into why he is balking at the canter.
He has a very large bouncy trot and for the last month or so I have been working with him on collection and coming into more of a WP trot with figure 8's and walk/trot transitions. Well, we finally got there and so I figured that I could move up to asking for some collection at the canter.....but he is stubborn and is hard to get into the canter and when he does he only goes a few paces before dropping back into a sickening gut wrenching trot. I haven't really asked for a canter in all of the time that we had been working on walk/trot transitions....did I make him forget??
Anyways, When he breaks the gait I will bring him to a walk and ask him to go up into a canter again. I am currently riding with a crop...dont want to try spurs at all! I can almost see the wheels turning and he is thinking of ways to avoid expending energy.
Then I read on another thread here that it would be good to practice transitions on the lunge line. He is reluctant to canter on the lunge but when I show him the whip he realizes he has to listen and gets pissed and starts bucking and kicking (which I can handle) and then finally after doing several loops where he is MAD and kicking and farting and rearing...he will finally give up and do a nice canter.
The lunge line sessions always start hard, he doesnt seem to be more compliant with repeated exposure and when ridden he still isn't willing to go up into a canter, we hadn't had THIS particular problem before. I don't think it is soreness or any kind of issue of him being sound.
PS- He will do a canter without any urging or cue when we are doing barrels. Have to share some photos of the big guy :)