How to create a supple canter

Canter circle.jpg

Rhythm and suppleness are vital for improving your horse's way of going. Here dressage star Anna Ross has a simple exercise to help with these areas so that you can achieve a better connection. 

Spend a few minutes warming up in walk, trot and canter before you start.

Creating a supple canter

When you're in canter on a circle, you should just be able to see your horse's inside nostril - this means you've got the correct flexion. If you use too much inside rein, your circle will get smaller. Too much outside rein and your horse will be in the wrong bend and will fall in through his shoulder. Before you canter, your trot needs to be forward and active, with you riding from the inside leg to create the correct bend. 

To ride an accurate circle in canter, Anna suggests focusing on the following:

1. On a 20m circle in trot on the left rein, make sure you have enough flexion to the inside (left). 

2. Go into sitting trot for half a circle before making a transition to canter.

3. Repeat the canter aid every three to four strides to remind your horse to keep cantering.

4. if you feel your horse falling in, use your inside leg to move your horse out onto the correct line of the circle. 

It may seem quite a simple exercise but can prove a little tricky so, if you are struggling a little, ride regular transitions to trot and then canter again and it will start coming together.  Stop before your horse is too tired to do the exercise properly.  

To read the full feature about consistency from Anna, simply get your hands on the September issue of Your Horse magazine - on sale now. See what else you can find inside here