From Endurance to Dressage
Right Lead Canter, Right On!
I took a moment during Monday's lesson to appreciate the fact that we were schooling the quality of Sydney's right lead canter and not simply working to get one. I had a big grin on my face as JL instructed me to ask for rounder and then stretch him out.
That's what we schooled: rounding and collecting and then stretching the canter before he could drop down to a trot. I didn't catch him every time, but by the end, I was starting to get a feel for how much collection I could get before he lost his oomph and fell back into the trot.
This is gigantic. Huge. Colossal. Simply amazing. Although, we would have had it a year or more ago had I achieved control of my outside rein sooner. That's where Sydney's right lead canter comes from, control of the outside rein. As long as I am there supporting him, he can roll right into it without the need to whirl, bolt, or spaz out.
For this lesson, JL took advantage of the warm weather, and Sydney's ho hum attitude, to school some go forward … and now collect … go forward … and now collect. It's a simple exercise: slide your hands forward and ask for a bigger canter. Allow the horse to canter big for several strides, but then bring him back as quickly as possible to a rounder, more collected canter. Just before he drops into a trot, send him forward into a more extended canter. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
After several rounds of this, Sydney came back to the more collected canter with one request. It was a fun exercise, and I know Captain Awesome enjoyed the opportunity to really go forward. JL explained that this is a helpful exercise to master because when we're off the property and he's anxious, he'll be in a more forward frame of mind already, but he should remember the come back and collect exercise.
This is definitely one that I'll be practicing!
4/10/2014 12:00:26 pm
I use a lot of walk to trot and trot to canter transitions, but extending and collecting a gait is a new exercise for me.
4/10/2014 12:01:09 pm
I think so. And it's not like I haven't cantered a million horses, but Sydney is just so stinkin' hard! :0)
4/9/2014 10:19:48 pm
That is a terrific exercise - definitely one I am writing down for future reference once I really start working in the trot and canter. Sounds like you made great progress!
4/10/2014 12:01:41 pm
I am excited about suing it. Every new exercise just enriches your program.
4/10/2014 12:02:00 pm
ME TOO!!!!! :0)
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
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