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You are in... Forums > Riding and Training > Schooling > Correct canter lead

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mandybabes

Joined:

Apr 11

Posts: 6

mandybabes says:

Correct canter lead

Hi there, this is my third post as I have been a lurker for a while but I am after some much needed advice and help.
I have had my boy for about 4 months now and am struggling to get him to canter on the correct lead on the left rein.
He is a ten year old cob who is a bit over weight and quite unfit. Before I bought him he had just been used for beach rides and pleasure rides so didn't matter which leg he cantered on and has been lightly schooled. He was only ridden about once a week during the summer and not rode during the winter and he has just been brought back into work when I bought him hence the poor fitness levels. He is getting fitter and losing weight due to his gradually increasing work load and diet.
Ever since I bought him I have not been able to get him to canter on the left lead even my instructors struggle and can only manage about 1 time out of 15.
I have had numerous lessons and tried all sorts. Flexing to the outside, flexed to the inside, in a corner, on a circle, over a pole, letting him pick up right and and turning him tighter hoping he will change ( he usually changes at the back and becomes disunited) these don't work he constantly gets the wrong lead. He will occasionally do it over a raised pole in the corner and in the middle of the school but it definitely not consistent maybe about 25% and we both run out of energy. I am a novice rider but I don't think that it is all me as he rarely does it on the lunge however this is slowly getting better but yesterday he wouldn't do it at all constantly on the wrong lead and I tried for about 20 minutes (he had been warmed up on both reins walk and trot and was in a pessoa). He is very lazy and lacks impulsion as some times I can't even get him to canter on the left rein over a pole he just trots. Right rein he is perfect every time. I know he can canter left as sometimes he will land on the left lead after a jump or a canter in a field he will strike off on the left. He has a new saddle which fits well, it does occasionally slip to the right but my instructor says it's because he is pushing me that way. His back has been checked twice and there was nothing wrong.
I need advice on where to go from here. To be honest I probably haven't been practising as much as I should and have been working more on walk and trot schooling and hacking for fitness, I have been lunging once a week in a pessoa but not sure whether I should be teaching him left canter in it as I need to have him on quite a tight circle for him to pick up left otherwise he will either go on the right lead or if he does get left he will change to the right.
Sorry for the essay and thanks in advance for any advice.

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mandybabes

Joined:

Apr 11

Posts: 6

mandybabes says:

Re: Correct canter lead

 Small update. I hacked him last night and he was lovely and forward. Then lunged him tonight without the pessoa in just a bridle and lunge line. We started with his bad side (left rein) as I usually start with the good. We manage left lead about a third of the time and when he managed I let him canter round a couple of circles. When he picked up the wrong one I stopped him as soon as possible. We ended on a good note on the correct lead and then changed rein but only for a couple of minutes.

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dollymix

Joined:

Oct 07

Posts: 1604

dollymix says:

Re: Correct canter lead

I think it sounds like you're doing the right sort of thing...the pessoa really helped all of my horses.

 

It might be worth doing some balance work with no stirrups in walk and trot if you think he'll behave. I know that I out more weight through my right hand side, and I am also heavier in my right hand and so this sometimes 'blocks' my horses from picking u pthe correct canter lead. If you think about it....to strike off on the right rein, the horse has to lift through his inside shoulder and he can't do that if your weight is there! One tip given to me was to take a quick glance over my OUTSIDE shoulder as I asked for the strike off...it places your weight more accuratley in the correct place. Worked for me!

 

Sounds to me though that one of your biggest problems is getting him forward....It's really important to make sure he is forward and responds immediately to your aids,otherwise you have this to contend with too...if you have to kick kick kick to get him to canter, you are much more likely to get the wrong lead as you'll both be off balance!  You say he is overweight and unfit - it might just take him a bit longer to fitten up andthen maybe he will improve.

 

When you work him on the pessoa, give him a definite 'and canter' in an authoriative voice.... If he doesn't go IMMEDIATELY, get after him with the lunge whip!! Keep it short and sweet though as lunging is hard work for them! When he canters from this, you can transfer this spoken aid to your riding.

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DarlingHorse

Joined:

Jan 12

Posts: 11

DarlingHorse says:

Re: Correct canter lead

My boy was always a bit funny about going on the right leg, especially on the left rein!! We used to practise going into canter from a rising trot, but on the wrong diagonal. It knocked him onto the right leg and now he is able to go into canter on the correct leg without too much fuss. Hope this is at all any help :) x

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