Cracking the Canter

Those of you who follow mine and Scottie’s progress, will likely know that we have always struggled with getting our right canter lead. However, a few intense sessions we managed to get it consistently and got it at our first ridden show and in our first ever attempt at Prelim in April.

At the time, although we were getting the right canter, both canters were weak and needed a lot of work.However, since then I have already started to see a huge improvement in our canter.

Yesterday I did a schooling session where we cantered for most of the session. We had canter poles to make him reach a bit more. Despite being a big horse, Scottie insists in taking small strides. We also did a lot of work cantering down the long side, trotting, then picking up the other leg. Scottie did this very well! I think we only got it wrong once, and that was from me messing up!

Interestingly, despite our right rein being our weaker rein, in canter we look more to the outside on the left rein and fall in. I think this is largely due to weakness and unbalance and will improve with time.

I have started cantering him in his pessoa and will be doing a lot more canter work with transitions and change in bend to encourage Scottie to stop hollowing in canter and work through his back onto a contact. Although I am aware that hollowing in canter is a sign of back pain, in Scottie’s case I think it is more of a case of being weak and never being asked to work round in canter. He had his back checked just last weekend and there was no obvious problem, in fact the back lady was impressed with how much muscle he had built up in his hind end since she last saw him. So I do not believe there is a problem there. We just need to put some more work in.

Due to moving and lacking a shoe and other busy things going on this month, we didn’t do another prelim for May E-Dressage. However, this month is Prelim 12 and I think it might be a good test for Scottie. Since we are consistently getting both canter leads asking in different places in the school, I am not worried about the canter work any more as such. We just now need to improve our circles and outline!

More updates soon! INcluding our results from this months E-Dressage. Now I’m home from university I’m hoping to go back to my regular posting!

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