Trot to Canter Transition Help Please
I have an OTTB which I ride dressage. He has been doing very well. However, recently he has been giving me trouble when I que him to canter from the trot. He will trot, trot, trot, trot, and the finally canter. He is extremely sensitive and I am not sure how to approach correcting this issue. He never does this when my trainer is riding; just lucky me! Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
What I have done with horses in the past is -
With Horses who KNOW, but don't feel like it -
Squeeze. If you get this crazy trot, KICK. If they buck, kick again...
If that doesn't work -
Squeeze. If you get crazy trot, stop and back, quickly. Then try again. Do this untill you get it :)
Is this horse well-trained enough to bring his hind quarter to the inside (toward the direction of the lead you are asking for)?
If he is, then do it this way:
sit a very collected trot and DO NOT let him extend it
use inside spur at the girth to keep him traveling straight
use outside spur behind the girth to bring his hind quarters toward the inside
use a harder and harder spur without letting him go faster - until he departs in a canter.
Your reins keep him from speeding up. That is what you are missing now or he would not trot crazy fast. You bring his nose SLIGHTLY to the inside to maintain form and position but you DO NOT let him 'follow his nose' to the inside. You HAVE to keep him traveling straight.
Your inside leg keeps direction.
Your outside leg puts his quarters in so he has to 'push' off into the canter and cannot run into it or hop up in front into the canter.
You have to maintain control and form and put enough 'controlled' pressure on him for him to decide to be obedient to your leg. That is why I do not 'kick' or turn a horse's head loose. I stay away from the dressage whip also IF I CAN. I use it only as a last resort to get the canter.
The key to the whole thing is to get the horse trained enough to bring his hind quarters in. In Dressage, it a maneuver called the 'Travers'. A horse should be able to yield its hind quarter to the inside whenever the rider asks. Once the horse understands it and does it, he is then asked to depart on a straight line.
The Travers' maneuver is also invaluable in teaching a proper half pass and flying lead changes.
A crop to back up your leg doesn't hurt ;) OP
This might not be the problem but I figure I might as well mention it anyway. I just watched an episode of Julie Goodnight who had a lady on there that had problems with the trot to canter transition. The horse would always toss its head uncontrollably. Julie noticed that everytime the horse went into the canter the lady accidentally popped her in the mouth just from the added forward force. So she became scared of it.
So you say it happens just to you and not when your trainer is riding. You may be doing it while your trainer might not be. Maybe this is the problem? Have someone watch you. Or if you are by yourself you can over exaggerate putting your hands really far forward. He might just be anticipating getting bumped.
Okay I didn't really give you much of an answer.
I trained my horse how to canter. He is green, and now he picks it up without the god awful out of control trotting.
What helped him was half halt before, get legs into position, cue with inside leg and slide outside leg back where it should. And say "Can-ter!" and if he didn't listen I'd give both legs a squeeze and kiss and he would go.
We practiced a lot of this on the lungeline. I'm not sure if this is your horse or a school horse but the best thing to do is prepare. If he gets into the out of control trot, slow him down, prepare and ask again.
OP my horse isn't fond of whips either. A dressage whip will only tickle not smack. As long as you desensitize the horse to the whip, he should be fine.
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