how can i get a nice, relaxed canter out of my horse?
my horse has been trained before, but when i start leasing him in june, im going to be doing a LOT of flat work with him. But he has a problem going slow in general. the problem starts when asking for the canter. I ask and he just takes off. About two laps around the ring he getts to the pace i want. I have been using a half-halt to slow him down but then he breaks gait, so then i apply leg pressure. I feel like im giving him mixed, confusing signals.
Whats the best way to get him into the canter?
When his in the canter, am i asking him correctly? if not, how should i slow him down without breaking gait?
Two things to look at when you ride or ask for the canter.
Fist a bad trot produces a bad canter. If the horse is unbalanced in the trot, rushing it or not packaged right then no matter how correct your "request".
Second even if you got a nice canter the half halts are useless if given at the wrong time. The half halt is applied on the upbeat of the canter, not the downbeat.
You might want to try the trot-canter-trot game. This accomplishes a few things. It establishes who's calling the shots, rebalances the horse over and over again in both gaits, and improves your use of cues and work out some of the confusion you're experiencing. Pick up a nice energetic trot. Half halt to signal that a transition is coming, ask for canter. Canter just long enough to establish that it's what you wanted, and half halt and apply a downward transition back to trot. Don't let him fall onto his forehand. Best way to apply a downward half halt is to still your seat and close your hand on the inside rein during the moment of suspension. You want to come down into the same energetic trot you had before. Trot until you're both in sync about the fact that you're trotting again. (some horses will try to anticipate and jump back into canter) As soon as you have a good trot going again, half halt, sit tall and ask for canter again. With each transition, the quality of both gaits should improve. Don't let him anticipate and decide for himself when it's time to transition again, and never transition in the same place twice. Good luck.
Thanks Puck!! That makes plenty of sense!!! this will also teach him to not just die out on me, so to speak.
Puck, I always find your advice incredibly useful and easy to understand! You're like, the ants-pants of flatwork! Kudos!
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