Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
I think you're on top of it. Don't let her keep cantering when she switches. Bring her back to a trot, and I mean a good, steady, balanced, collected trot. Don't trot and then pick up the canter again, she needs to transition correctly.
I also think your instructor is right on, too. She is more comfortable on one lead than the other. The only way to fix this problem is work on getting her balanced and collected. Lots of circles and serpentines at the walk and trot, lots of transitions. It's also important not to push her too hard. Don't canter her on her uncomfortable lead for hours. If she is giving you a good canter on her off lead, one lap is fine the first few times, and then increasing the amount of time you spend on it. I forgot who or where on this forum said it, but they said the canter is where you see all the skills your horse has in its walk and trot, and that horses canter the way they do because that's the canter they can give you at that time. Or something like that, I could have totally butchered it, and if I did, I'm so sorry. I need to pay more attention.
I find with my mare that her canter is soooo much better when we have a good long walk and trot warm up. We don't start trotting until she is transitioning from walk to halt to walk beautifully, she is leg yeilding and sidepassing, and giving me a real bend. When we trot, she has to get her rear underneath her and drive from behind, and also has to be bending and circling and transitioning down to a walk and back up before we canter. It's done amazing things to our riding, not just our canter.
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."