Starting the Canter
So my lil boy (not so little haha) is starting to CANTER! So excited!
We're going slow and thorough, because this is going to be my mom's perfect trail horse with absolutely NO holes to slip through. Just as some quick background, Cloud was started under saddle Aug 2012, by me. He walks, trots, backs, halts, turns, leg yields, pivots, side passes, yields the haunches, (yields shoulder still a bit touchy), seeks the contact, and is extremely good about staying in a low frame and he actually comes 'on the bit' more and more often during dressage lessons.
Questions and Discussions about starting the canter;
1) Do you teach the canter que, then work on which lead is which, or teach leads first?
2) Is demanding that low frame at the canter (since it's already very established at the trot) too much to ask right now? Get the gait and and ask for frame or frame and ask for gait?
3) How long, and how often should we canter? Fitness is not an issue at the moment- only balance in the new gait with a rider- he canters on the lunge.
4) What are some beginner exercises to take a look at to get him balanced and confident at the canter? (besides circles)
I always started my horse cantering in a corner so they were automatically on the correct lead. I used the same cues (outside leg behind the girth, inside leg on the girth, sitting up straight with a little bit more weight on the outside seat bone and the horse bent so I could barely see the inside eye just as I was entering the turn ask for the canter.
Oh it could be pretty rough looking with a green horse.. and I NEVER ran the horse into the canter.. but was very clear and firm with my request. Balance came with time. You have been doing a lot so you may find balance easier right away.
Because we were in the bend, the correct lead would be picked up naturally. I think it is important to use correct leads when training the canter. No need to fix it later. JMO.
I'm going to work on maintaining the same bend through the trot/canter transition, so it will be easier to direct him into the correct lead, still going straight.
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