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MyBoyPuck 08-10-2012 05:44 PM

Trying to stay a step ahead...
Our last horse trial of the year is coming up. The dressage part will be on grass which means lots of extra gas in the tank for horsey. Every time we do our test on grass, he jumps the gun during his trot circle to his right lead canter circle. It's a beautiful transition, but ultimately wrong since I didn't ask for it. My question is, does anyone have any suggestions on how to catch it and prevent it? I'm taking a dressage lesson to try clean up my cues, but he's got a real sense of humor about this particular thing and is bound to try it no matter how well I'm riding. We've been scoring steady 7s and 8s lately, so I really want to nail it this time.

I've already started taking him into every field, ring and bald spot I can find and riding trot/canter transitions making sure they are on my terms and not his. He's been a bit pissy about maintaining the trot and not breaking into the canter, but eventually he settles down and does what I want. Problem is, we only have one shot during the test. I doubt the judge would appreciate all the bucking and head tossing before behaving part.

I guess ultimately my question is, if I do sense that hind leg is about to push off, what cue would I do to prevent it, if any? It is easy as blocking the inside shoulder? I know easy & dressage do not go together. :-)

Amir 08-12-2012 06:11 AM

Half halt. When you feel him as he's about to break to canter, half halt.
Maybe try for a few sessions doing only walk/trot on grass. Take out the canter all together so then he doesn't anticipate the canter on the grass arena.

Kayty 08-12-2012 09:48 PM

Yep Amir is right.
You will need to dictate the pace more so than what you usually would. I need to do the same when I'm out on grass, also when I ask the trot to come bigger and more connected, he will try to break into canter as he finds it easier than trot work.
I have been working more on walk and canter lately than trot, to build up his strength, and then putting some trot work in once I'm happy with the w/c work I'm getting.
Its been a matter of repetitive halt halts, and REALLY riding TROT with your seat. The seat will dictate the pace, so if your seat is not up to scratch - work on it ;)

Valentina 08-13-2012 02:51 PM

HH is the correct response to the problem. Also - make certain you do not practice the exact "pattern" of the test or horse will anticipate.

MyBoyPuck 08-15-2012 08:21 PM

Thanks ladies. I've taken him out into the fields the last few days and trotted circles wherever we find a good area to work. I've been adjusting the tempo of the trot and been correcting him whenever he tries to jump into canter. He's already better at maintaining his balance at the trot instead of trying to canter. Watch, I'll ask for canter on Sunday and he'll keep trotting!! He does have a sense of humor that way.

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