How Do I Get My Horse To Canter On the Correct Lead? (Student Lesson)

Hey Dressage Superstars! Today’s question is, “How Do I Get My Horse To Canter On the Correct Lead? (Student Lesson)”

I had such a fantastic response from my canter series in March that I wanted to give you another canter video on getting the correct canter lead with the help of one of my superstar clients whose horse tends to fall in on a circle and has a challenge around straightness, meaning that he finds it difficult to transition from trot to canter on the correct canter lead – instead he picks up the outside canter lead (instead of the correct inside canter lead).

Thanks very much to Lori who kindly agreed to be filmed so that we could show you the steps to correct your horse when he likes to pick up the incorrect canter lead.

To watch video 1 on how to canter your horse – click here

To watch video 2 on how to do a clean trot-canter transition – click here

To watch video 3 on how to get the correct canter lead – click here

To watch video 4 on how to choose which canter lead you want – click here

If you enjoyed today’s episode and it gave you huge value, I would love to invite you to a free class I’ve created for you to help you look and feel like a Grand Prix dressage rider in as little as three rides per week.

Don’t worry if you don’t have good enough horse – in secret number one, I’ll tell you why that doesn’t even matter.

I’ll tell you how to do it in only three rides per week, and I’ll also tell you the secret you need to know to make sure you’re doing in your riding to accelerate your results and get you to the next level. I can’t wait to have you in the class. It’s completely free. My gift to you, click on the button below to sign up now.

I’d love to hear from you how you go and what strategies you use to get a clean trot canter transition.

Offer as much details as possible in your reply – your story might just help someone else have a breakthrough in their riding journey!

Important: Links to other posts, videos etc. will be removed.

Thank so so much for reading, watching and sharing your story!

To Your Success,

Natasha Althoff

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

So Lori’s been coming for a couple of lessons and especially when she first came, she really really struggled to get the correct lead on her gorgeous horse.

What’s your horse’s name again?

Jet, and Jet raced?

No, so he’s a thoroughbred but he’s not an ex-racehorse but he did not quite know how to get the correct canter lead and that’s because he wasn’t straight.

So he was either falling in on the circle or bulging out of the circle, which meant that yes, he didn’t have his weight where he needed it to be because he was either falling in like a motorbike or drifting out like this and especially when they’re that… you know… doing this, the correct canter lead can be really really hard.

They’re going to go on the incorrect canter lead when there’s more weight on their inside shoulder. So, when they’re falling in, they’re going to then canter that way. So we had to make sure and stop him from falling in and make sure that he drifted out.

So again, as we always do with these videos, don’t work with children and animals! is the thing you hear all the time, so we’re going to ask Lori to do a canter.

So, when you’re ready, trot Lori. So, you can do one circle trot and then I’m going to ask you to canter at A.

And because that’s a lot of pressure to canter at a letter, and to canter basically on a straight because A is not on the circle corner, I’m hoping we might get the incorrect canter lead and then I can show you how we fix it. Otherwise, I’ll get the incorrect canter lead another way, it’s all good.

So, don’t think too much Lori, just when you’re ready, outside leg back and canter.

Perfectly incorrect, good job, and trot.

So, Lori, I’m guessing you didn’t do much, like you weren’t thinking, and did you feel, could you feel yet that there was more weight on the inside shoulder?

Yes, you could feel there was more weight on the inside shoulder, cool.

So, circle again and trot. And what we’re going to do is ask the horse to push his hind legs to the outside. So, push his hind legs to the outside, good, and bring his head to me, perfect.

And he doesn’t like that, he puts his head up, he gets a bit tense around that and says “oh that’s a bit scary”. Hind legs to the outside, yes, and then when you’re ready, you can ask for the canter again but keep the outside rein, don’t put his head too much to the inside.

Yes, yes, that’s okay. And you can see Lori touched him with the whip, she asked for canter I’m assuming, did you ask for canter?

– No, just asking for forward.

Or just asking for forward, yeah.

So sometimes, when you put a horse that likes the incorrect canter lead, you put him in a position where he has to go in the correct canter lead, he doesn’t canter because he goes oh, that would mean I have to canter lead correctly and I don’t want to do that and so that’s what he’s doing a bit, he’s kind of sucking back.

So, just ride him forward again Lori, ride him forward and straight and get him between the two reins even, so he’s not falling in on the inside, feel when it’s right and I’m not going to make you do it at A.

So, when you feel it’s correct, when you feel you’ve got both sides of him, I don’t care if it takes 10 circles, make sure he’s balanced, trot. And so Lori just did that perfectly.

She felt the right spot, she said canter. What did he do, he said “no chance in hell” and she went “ooh, I haven’t had an answer when I asked immediately”, she used the whip and he said don’t whip me, he had an attitude about it. So, that’s fine, when you’re ready, trot again, find both sides of him, get him set up perfectly and you’ll get the canter now because he’s been told.

Whoops, trot. Yeah, so that was you Lori, wasn’t it?

Did you almost have him straight or did you have him straight?

– Almost.

Yeah, so Lori said I almost had him straight and that’s what we as riders do, we go ah, it almost feels good, it feels good enough, let’s give it a go, but as I said, I don’t care if we sit here for 10 circles, 20 circles, 30 circles, I don’t care if Lori doesn’t canter today, all I care about is that she feels when the right moment is to ask and that she can balance the horse on its two shoulders. So, he’s getting tense, no worries, we just go back to trot.

Trot, trot, trot, trot, trot, trot, rounder, he’s not through, he’s not soft, kick, kick, kick. Yeah, he’s got to accept it, that’s right, good boy, good boy, yeah. So now he’s coming a little bit rounder but he was bulging out.

So we got to control both shoulders, rounder, softer, looser, rounder, softer, looser, there’s no rush.

Don’t feel, if you’re practicing this at home, just like what Lori’s doing, ah, I trotted two circles, I should have it by now, I should canter now. Cantering when it’s not correct, is only going to reinforce and practice the incorrect lead.

If you circle for 10 weeks in trot, never asking for canter but feeling when the right moment is, you’re gonna do a lot better work for you and the horse because he’s learning how to ride the horse straight.

Good job, Lori, it’s all good, yes.

Watch out, where’s his shoulder going? Yes, where’s it going? Got to be straight and through, straight and trough.

And whenever you feel you’ve got it, yeah, doesn’t matter, ah-ah-ah, kick-kick, yeah, he’s got to accept it, that’s right. Better riding, better riding. Good job, good job. Ah, so you asked again, you had him set up and what’d he do, he ignored you again.

This is so normal, it’s all good. Kick-kick, kick-kick, forward into the bridle.

Yes, forward, forward, bend to the inside and allow. Yes, but watch him, you bent to the inside, where’d his shoulders go? Yeah, so you need to bend but control the shoulder. Yeah, yeah, bend him to the outside and make him fall into me, good, good.

Yep, fall into me, fall into me, yeah, kick him more, he’s got to accept it.

Yes, I know, good boy, yeah, and then straighten him out.

Now you’ve got, oops, lost the outside of him, put him back to the outside. Kick him to me. Yep, put his hind legs to me and put his head to the outside, that’s right and then straighten again and as long as when you’re straighten, he doesn’t go and pop that outside shoulder.

Good job. Good job. Good job, yeah, that’s alright. So Lori had it, she had it perfect but then she forgot to use her whip and he’s going ah I’ve had enough. And too bad, you’re gonna canter when we ask, when it’s correct, when we’ve got you and you’re gonna do it beautifully. Good job, good job, good job. Watch his shoulder, watch his shoulder.

Yes, there you go. And this is the fun and the patience that you need when you train a horse. You can’t make him be straight, you can’t make him do it.

All we can do is put him in a position, especially when we’re learning, well done, good job.

So – no preparation, ask for the canter and hope to get it, means you normally get the incorrect canter lead and it’s a bit of a disaster. Yeah, and when you’re ready to trot, when you think about it, when you train.

So that was Lori’s I think fourth beautiful, good trot transition, good job and walk and drop him. Was that your fourth attempt?

No, no, no, so we got the incorrect canter lead, you asked once, there was one there where he said don’t whip me, there was one– it was either your third or your fourth attempt but did you see Lori’s disciplined enough now, she wasn’t when she first started working with me, but if she doesn’t, if she asks in the correct moment when it feels good and she doesn’t get it, she doesn’t then just rush him into it and again hope, she knows she has to wait, she has to get the balance back, she has to get the straightness back and only ask when it’s perfect and then you get the correct canter lead.

So thank you so much Lori because I think everyone at home is going surely it’s not meant to take that long, surely it’s like that’s a lot of circles just working on straightness, surely there’s something, and I used to be like surely if I can’t get it after one circle then there’s something wrong with me, it shouldn’t take me 10 circles to get the horse straight or four attempts to get the correct canter lead, but the honest to God truth is it does, doesn’t it?

Awesome, so thank you so much. I hope you guys got heaps of value from that and enjoy and thanks to Lori and I’ll see you soon.

I would love to invite you to a free class I’ve created for you to help you look and feel like a Grand Prix Dressage Rider in as little as three rides per week.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a good enough horse, in secret number one, I’ll tell you why that doesn’t even matter. I’ll tell you how to do it in less than, in only three rides and I’ll also tell you the secret you need to know to make sure you’re doing in your riding, to accelerate your results and get you to the next level.

I can’t wait to have you on the class, its completely free, my gift to you.

Click on the link to sign up.