Counter canter correctly.....
I've avoided CC like the plague, it feels awkward and I just don't like it! However, break through, my horse is very good at CC, I just don't like it.
Today I sucked it up and CC a few circles in each direction and included lead changes and it wasn't that bad. Now what I'm wondering, is because I find it so awkward, can someone offer me some seat and hand tips for the CC and correct body position for my horse. What should I be aiming for in a good CC?
I know it's important to do to help with balance etc....I've just been putting it off!
Don't think about it as a counter canter. It is simply a left lead canter to the right, or a right lead canter to the left.
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Yup. Just like training a horse to do a CC you have to retrain your mind and body to move as it would on the lead your on. You can't move your seat as you do on the right lead when the horse is on the left. It takes some practice.
I ride with a slightly more exaggerated bend, and keep my inside leg slightly back to encourage keeping the lead. Other then that, I ride as normal.
Keep straight and even, and I find if I keep my inside leg a little further back around a corner, it discourages the horse from wanting to flip back into the other lead. I love CC, won me a ton of chocolate bars and some money at a fun Halloween show during a big command class.
I love the counter canter too!
It does feel weird at first, for both horse and rider, but it is a great exercise.
For reiners it is great for helping with lead changes, anticipating stops at the end of arena, those who just want rush and get strung out or getting a good feel where one might be stiff/stuck out someplace if your unsure.
That is why you probably don't like it.
Most people over bend the horse thinking they need to show an over exaggerated bend. This leads to the horse falling to the outside ( which would be on the inside of the track) and the horse loses balance.
The CC should be almost straight with a very slight bend at the poll.
I used to hate CC as well. It felt wrong. I would avoid it as much as possible. Only now, I do it every day.
Don't think of it as a completely new gait. You're still riding at the lope, your body position should be the same. Just keep your inside leg talking to them, and soften them to the outside with your hand. It takes some getting used to. I am fortunate enough now to have a mare who will pick up any lead from even the most awkward positions, and refuse to change unless I tell her to. I did CC a lot before but she really taught me how to be comfortable with it.
However, do think, there should be slight bend. This is a part of my cue for the flying change. When on the counter canter and I am about to change leads,I change my bend, take my inside leg off, put my outside leg on. Makes it more distinct to tell them which lead to be on.
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