Improve the Canter


Sometimes your horse may start to flatten out in his canter stride and you feel that you need more jump. A simple and effective excercise is to ride a 20 meter circle after several warm up stretches in each gait.

On the 20 meter circle you will trot half of it and canter half and repeat until the transitions are smooth. Remember that the aid from canter to trot is to sit down, outside heel down, outside shoulder slightly back, half halt outside rein and soften. This will shift the balance of your horse into the trot. Feel the horse when he starts to trot and give the rein at that moment to reward him for understanding. Always think of a soft neck. Take your time and breathe. The goal is for the trot to be forward.

To add difficulty to this excercise, try to canter/trot at each quarter of the 20 meter circle. Count the strides to determine if you are symmetrical. Once mastered, you can decrease the size of the circle to 15 meters and go back to only 2 transitions at the half way point. Finally for the most difficult test, try a 10 meter circle and ride a transition at each half way point.

Take care that the rhythm does not change, your horse is straight, balanced and forward thinking. Always finish with another stretch down to reward your horse. Remember, never rush, ride with integrity and focus. Your horse will improve his canter stride and strengthen his muscles.