Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
Have a specific cue to canter. Typically, it's the outside leg back and the inside leg at the girth, perhaps a "kissing" sound. Whatever you want to do, the cue to canter needs to be different. You may have to lunge him to teach him how to respond to a kiss if he doesn't already know. Once you know your cue and have established any vocal cue with him on the ground, now it's time to apply it. Trot him around at a nice, steady trot. Then ask him to canter. If he trots fast, slow him down the nice, steady trot you had going before. It may take a while. Then ask him to canter again. Repeat the process until he just picks up the canter. When he does, it is VERY important that you bring him back down to a trot and DON'T LET HIM BREAK his gait. If he breaks into the trot before you ask him, you'll have to have the trot to canter "talk" again. If you aren't experienced enough to feel him starting to think about breaking, it would be best to have him canter a few strides and then ask him trot and call it a day. Make sure when you do this, he is in good enough shape to go for awhile, and you have enough to keep at it. Just don't let him run into the canter, and don't chase him into the canter if you get frustrated.
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."