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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have a 4 year old qh who has just come home from the breakers. he was bought him early because the trainers were questionable and did many things with him i did not like and treated him poorly :-( i happened to turn up one afternoon when he was "working" him and hit the roof. it was only the second time he had been under saddle so naturally he is very very fresh and knows little. i was having issues with things like him following his head, moving off my leg etc but i have managed to get those things under control.

my question is about teaching a canter aid. if i am riding him around the property at a trot i can get him into a canter by building up speed but obviously this is not ideal in the long term. so, seeing as ive been riding english for many years until now im a little sketchy on what the canter aid is for western and exactly how to teach a horse to recognise the canter aid.

im very capable with training and have dealt with horses with minimal knowledge but some grounding in their training. but this is new for me so im hoping everyone here can help me :)
 

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This is when lunging comes in handy. While lunging him, you can more or less chase him into the canter, giving him a verbal cue as he is picking it up to match the movement. He should learn that a kiss means to canter. Then when you're riding, give him a kiss noise and add the leg cue you want to use. I don't think there's a difference between the western aid and english aid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is when lunging comes in handy. While lunging him, you can more or less chase him into the canter, giving him a verbal cue as he is picking it up to match the movement. He should learn that a kiss means to canter. Then when you're riding, give him a kiss noise and add the leg cue you want to use. I don't think there's a difference between the western aid and english aid.
hahaha thanks for that. its funny because thats what i was thinking the other night but thought it couldnt be that easy lol he canters fine on the lunge by me just saying 'canter' so i guess im half way there :)

i just assumed the western aid was different cause the western horses i have ridden have been trained to canter by a different cue. ill stick with what i know then if it doesnt matter :)
 

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I have never ridden english, and don't know the cues for it. Since I ride western, I ride with a constant contact with my feet(calves most of the time) on the horse's ribs. The amount of pressure I use determines speed. Also, your body position will determine how the horse moves too. I prepare my body to trot before cueing with my feet, then I prepare my body for canter before cueing with my feet. I release all leg pressure and push my feet out, sit deep in my seat, and "Whoa" to stop. In the long run, your horse will learn to read your body language and thereby need less cueing. Also, if you associate the stop with a complete release of leg pressure, if anything were to happen and you fall off, your horse will be less likely to run off.

I like to stay out of my horse's mouth, for plenty obvious reason, so I like to keep my horses on more of a leg cue. Later on, I can get the horse to stop with little or no pick up of the reins at all.

I was riding a broke, but pastured for 2 years, customer horse, and within the hour of my first ride with him, he was responding to my body language first, with only a couple "bumps" on the ribs for a reminder when he got bored with circles. (I don't ride with spurs unless I absolutely have to, then only when working cattle in case I need to get out of the way.)

Also, something to keep in mind that my husband has really been on me about, when making a turn, use your outside foot to operate the shoulder, and your inside foot to push the hip away for more of a spin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for that. i got all that stuff sorted. thats mainly what ive been working on with him so far. moving off my leg, leg aids etc is something we have been focusing on a lot as when he came home he knew none of this. i have been working very hard on making him super responsive to my legs. he has a super soft mouth so i need to make him very responsive to my legs especially being so green. thankfully we had perfected 'whoa' on the lunge so he responds very well to that without any mouth contact :) thanks again :)
 

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Leg cues for western and english are essentially the same. For the left lead, move your right leg back on his flank to move his hind end in towards the center of the arena and ask for the canter (lope). For a young horse, you might also want to lift the inside (left) rein to help your horse get lift in his left shoulder to promote taking the correct lead. As your horse becomes more proficient at taking the correct lead, you can begin to work on the urgency of picking it up from the walk, jog, or standing still rather than picking it up by increasing speed at the trot.
 
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