Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Riley canter work

We get the canter; we hold the canter! The downward transitions? Well. Oh well.

He has been good, but you can see the quality of the walk suffers as I keep nudging him to keep him gathered to pick up a canter. Last week I tried cantering him at the start of my ride -- it was a bit wild and woolly, but not dangerous.  I still feel a little unsafe at the canter in the outdoor arena with no fencing around it. I like to start with canter-walk-canter transitions before "going large."

The left lead canter is harder, because he tends to "lean and careen." In the walk-canter-walk transitions he seemed to be getting tense as we negotiated straightness at at the walk. I walked him on a long rein for a bit and went back to trot-canter-trot work.


  1. Sometimes, lifting the inside rein will help that careen...he tilts his his head...nose to the outside, but poll to the inside. Getting his head straight may help you get the shoulder a little more to the inside so you'll feel less like he's "motorcyling" on the left rein.

    He's dropping his shoulder in to the left or falling out on the outside shoulder, so getting him a bit more on the outside rein might help. But it's no biggie. Horses are right and left hoofed just as we are and your goal as a trainer is to make them even. The fun part is that we, as riders, are also right or left handed and have to overcome our own tendencies so we can get our horses straight. (I am convinced it's a lifetime effort. *G*)

    But, all that being said, a lot of practice at the canter is what helps most. The more you canter, the more you both will find the balance. Eventually, counter canter will also help get him straighter too.

    There is nothing really wrong going on. It's just green horse issues that need time to resolve. He really is doing well.

    And, in the first video, you did some strong trot on the long side that certainly promises he is going to have a nice extension. It was just on the edge and looked as easy a pie for him.

  2. My first observation is that both of you seem a lot steadier than just a couple short months ago. Keep up the great work.

    Secondly I love your term "lean and careen!" That should become a technical dressage term, I've experienced it far more times than I care to admit! :)

  3. what the heck do you bribe your husband with to come out and video in the heat (and bugs)?

  4. I envy your horse's canter-walk transitions. I love these videos!

  5. Nice work. You shouldn't have to work so hard though--in the first clip, you can see that you're nagging with the leg and letting the whip just sit there. The whip is there so you can keep your leg aids refined. Ask nicely, then tell. Otherwise you'll work harder and harder to get less and less. I have this problem, too, so I know how hard it is to break the nag-mode!

    Riley and you overall look great! I also love the videos.

  6. Louise McGillivrayJuly 7, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    I envy your canter walk transitions too.

  7. I agree with Jean on the inside rein lift. My Friesian x is notorious for the lean and careen at the canter. We have perfected the inside rein lift. I think you are doing the right thing. Riley is still very young. My horse is 12 ... beyond excuses.

    He appears a little stiff to the left. Just an observation. Like he's compensating for something.

  8. I agree Garden -- I've seen him stiffer than he appears in this video, not sure if it is just weakness or something else. It kind of comes and goes.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.