The Never-Ending Quest To Develop The Canter
|A great Jumping Canter!|
Cantering is hard.
You'd think that after nearly 20 years of riding horses, I'd have this whole canter thing down by now. But the more I learn and grow as a rider, the more I realize that there's so much more to learn about the canter!
Lately in my flatwork I've really been working on developing more straightness and self-carriage in the canter. Those things go hand-in-hand: the straighter Dino is, the better he can carry himself, and the better he's carrying himself, the straighter he is. To get there, I've zeroed in on a couple tools that seem to be working for us:
Remembering to hold my outside rein and not flail my upper body around in the canter depart. This may seem like a basic concept, but my history of Crappy Canter Departs makes this a key 'tool' for me. When I sit up, hold my core, hold the outside rein, and stay centered, we start the canter out in a round and balanced manner, making it easier to use things like...
Counter-Canter. This has seriously been the magic bullet for Dino's canter lately! Having to work hard to balance himself in counter-canter really gets him to focus on where his hind legs are, stand upright, and helps prevent him from leaning to one side or the other. On Sunday we did some dressage work in my favorite field, and Dino was ON IT in the canter. I used a lot of counter-canter loops to capitalize on it, and the result was a light, self-sustaining canter that I could just sit without pushing. It was glorious!
|barely-contained dressage canter from that time we played hunters|
Going back and forth between these canters, and understanding which is needed in each individual situation, is such a learning process. I'm looking forward to developing and finessing it all after show season is over for the year!
What's helped you in the Quest for the Canter?