27 August 2008 15:55
My 16.2hh loan mare is really sweet, except that when I ask her to go from walk to trot she goes into canter. I’ve tried using draw reins, and she’s perfect on the lunge. She was an army trumpet horse, could that be the cause of the problem?
By Your Horse
Dressage Rider and Trainer Claire Lilley replies:
Her army training has very likely affected her response to the aids, so go back to basics. Before you ride, lunge her for 15 to 20 minutes, getting her familiar with your voice aids, particularly the ‘trot’ command, and praise her when she understands. Always finish on a good note.
Repeat the same routine you used on the lunge under saddle. Draw reins aren’t the answer as they can encourage the horse to use the wrong muscles. Try lunging her with no side reins, over single poles placed randomly on the ground around the school. A chambon will help her back muscles develop and improve her paces, and riding over poles will help.
Make sure she’s straight when you ask for trot and, if she does canter, walk or halt and repeat the transition until she trots quietly forward.
Are your leg aids too strong? If so, she’ll canter. It can also help if you ask for canter on a 20m circle but trot down the long sides, so she understands the difference.