hey! i bought a mare recently and have discovered an odd thing...she has been trained in first level dressage. But when i ask for the canter. lets say im going around the arena in a circle of left, i cue for the canter with inside leg at girth and outside leg behind girth, she picks up the outside lead, when we go in the other direction she does the same thing but oppositely. So basically when i am cantering i have to ask with the inside leg to get the inside lead. I mentioned this to my trainer and she thinks its really weird for someone to train a horse like that. But i told this to another trainer and she says that is the way of british training???? Does anyone have an explanation for this?
Honestly, that's how I ask/train for the canter depart.
Inside leg slightly forward (basically ask for a little shoulder-fore) and then I use my inside seat bone. If the horse is very green or lacks strength to maintain the straightness through the transition I'll use my outside leg a little as a reminder, but I don't cue with my outside leg.
I have heard of that as well in dressage, it's just a different method of training. Not sure what the advantage is supposed to be though, if any.
I don't know if it's a British way of training. I'm thinking it might be as albertaeventer suggests - a dressage thing. It's called a counter-canter, and dressage horses are indeed trained to do it. I don't know why. It's more difficult for a horse to counter-canter, because it requires more strength and balance. However, your horse should be able to do both.
The cuing you're describing is odd, though. The cuing you're describing is correct for the regular canter. A horse will typically pick up the lead on the leg where their shoulder is slightly forward. So if you want the right lead, your right leg is at the girth or slightly forward and you close the left rein slightly, both of which move the right shoulder forward so that the right lead is picked up. I, like you, also move my left leg slightly back. For a counter-canter, I do everything backwards. But it sounds like you're getting a counter-canter when cuing for a standard lead, is that correct? It should be difficult for a horse to pick up the left lead if their right shoulder is forward, and visa-versa. I know many horses that always pick up the same lead no matter what, but yours sounds truly backwards.
Someone once told me that you can train any cue to mean anything with a horse, as long as you ask consistently and release/praise once they get it right repetitively. Which maks a LOT of sense.
So perhaps the previous owner decided to teach her horse to canter this way so it was less noticeable?
Eitherway if you don't like it, because it *may* interfere with any other aids at higher levels, then you may want to think about retraining the cues for canter on each lead.
Eitherway if it doesn't bother you then no worries :-)
Canter cues... I think I've kind of forgotten since learning to ride at a riding school 10+ years ago.
Personally I hate the outside leg back, it's always made me feel unbalanced so I just stopped using it. Which now that I think about it is pretty stupid of me. All my horses have cantered from inside leg only. And I do something else, not sure what it is, bit of seat, bit of twist, leg but in like an up way rather than a forwards way. And teach them that to canter. They never confuse it. I'd probably have problems if I pursued high level dressage, the instructor would tell me to do something with the "traditional" command and it just wouldn't be practical! But you can train to any cue really. I don't even think about it. I just ride how I ride and if a horse doesn't do it that way I teach them.
Now, 6 years on, I am thinking I should have told this to the buyers of two riding horses I sold :?
I think a lot of horses have these strange "buttons", just sometimes you don't discover them! Shouldn't be too tricky to retrain.
First there are cues (which can be anything...voice/leg/seat/cluck/etc) and then there are aids, and reasonings for them.
Generally the reasoning for leg behind the girth is to keep the horse straighter, but it sustained for many steps will cause the horse to become crooked. Most trainerss I know keep the outside leg behind the girth passively, but actively touch the inside (nearer the girth) as the actual strike off. It is not at all unusual. Interesting the srs uses the former, but many people who use it end up with the quarters moving when they are doing tempi changes (really all in the duration rather than the placement).
Inside leg remains neutral by the girth. Outside leg drives the hip inward and forward so it's behind the girth. Move your outside shoulder back a little and get your chin up. Many make the mistake of lowering the chin to watch the ground in front of the horse. The horse sees that, you don't need to so chin up. You also need to learn to feel the placement of the hind legs. As the outside leg is rising off the ground that is when ask for a canter. It follows the natural sequence of stride and is easier for the horse. Barely tip the horse's nose to the outside for balance.
So horses are taught to pick up a lead/change the lead, based on pressure of the inside leg at the girth (outside leg is back to block haunches from moving out but not "squeeze" to ask for a canter/lead change).
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