Straightened Up

As I love using counter canter, I thought this was a useful post to revisit. In my dressage tests last weekend I had canter demi-voltes and shallow loops, so I’ve spent a lot of time recently with Otis ensuring he understands that my legs are still telling him to maintain that canter, even if I’ve asked him to change his bend. He’s getting there, and the subsequent marks reflected that. In my warm up, I cantered a serpentine on each canter lead, testing his balance and suppleness – I wonder how many horses can manage that?
Meanwhile, the little mare I’m schooling is much more comfortable cantering a figure of eight in counter canter, so I’m going to increase the pressure, and ride full circles, and smaller figures of eight to further help her canter.

The Rubber Curry Comb

As I rambled last week about counter flexion – here – I mentioned that I have been using counter canter to improve some horses and their canter.

Now to go back to basics – canter is a three beat gait, which to me suggests that it is likely to become one sided or crooked. Of course the uneven number of beats in the canter means that there is a left canter and a right canter, but that is neither here nor there at the moment. Imagine a set of scales with two beats on one side (maybe represented by a tennis ball) and one beat on the other side. Obviously, the scales are tipped in favour of the two beats. Taking this forwards can you see how a horse can become crooked in their canter?

One horse that I school has a lovely canter, but he tends to curl around…

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