...But in a show ring, judges prefer cues to be invisible, thus the preference for subtlety....
I never took a LOT of lessons, although I took SOME a variety of times. I also watch and read advice to beginning riders. What follows is a pet peeve but I also think it is kind of important:
When we teach math, we don't start with algebra. We start with very simple adding. Even multiplying comes later. We accept people cannot dive into math at algebra or geometry.
When we teach new riders - "we" being what I've seen others do - we insist on trying to "teach them right" from the beginning. I took a package of lessons in the 70s. The instructor emphasized "toes front". I'm not sure she KNEW any other riding principle. Toes front HAS a purpose for some types of riding. I don't do it even now, but I understand for some riding it seems to be important.
But for a beginning rider?
I've had instructors tell me a "long leg" was good. I bounced back and forth between the "Baby Bear", "Momma Bear" and Pappa Bear" setting for a long time, with Momma Bear being my most common. Over some years, my most common drifted to the Poppa Bear setting, and I recently dropped them another inch - and LIKE it. The "Grandpa Bear" setting.
But a beginner, depending on their flexibility, may NEED the "Baby Bear" setting. What I am doing now is not wrong. Bandit & I like it so it is right enough for us
. But a beginning rider doesn't need it, and trying to stretch their leg while riding means they lose focus on more important things - balance, the rhythm of the horse, their horse's attitude, how to feel at one with their horse.
I agree many riders SHOULD learn to cue a canter to a specific lead. Doesn't interest me much, but it is pretty important in some types of riding. When Bandit takes the wrong lead for a circle in the arena...a counter-canter isn't my favorite thing to ride! Good practice for us both, in a way, but not very enjoyable. That is OK for me because cantering IS a way to go farther faster for Bandit & I, and the rocky terrain here means we will never canter a mile. Probably not a half-mile. That might change if we move to Utah.
So learning how to cue your horse to canter on a given lead - and how to teach that cue to a horse - really IS a part of good equitation. It is just one Bandit & I don't need right now. And a LOT of beginning riders don't need it either.
If someone feels uncomfortable with a canter transition done ANY way, then they need to learn the feel of the horse's transition and the feel of a horse cantering before worrying about how to cue for a right lead canter. Learn to ride the transition with a smile and have FUN cantering with their horse. THEN take their riding up a notch. If they want. I may. Someday.