There are loads of really good reasons why you should spend time working on your pony’s canter. It’ll help improve his balance and rhythm, which are important for dressage, showjumping and eventing, plus it’ll make him more comfortable to ride, too!
For some great tips to improve your pony’s walk and trot, see the October and November issues of PONY.
Your position can affect the quality of your pony’s canter. So, before you even think about asking him for a transition, make sure you…
- sit up tall and pull your shoulders back, to help keep your body strong and upright
- push your heels down and wrap your legs around his sides, to help maintain his impulsion and straightness
- have an even, steady contact with his mouth, to help contain his energy
Exercise: Getting the right canter lead
If you’re still struggling to get your pony to pick up the correct lead every time, try this easy exercise.
Set it up
You need four poles, one in each corner of your arena.
How to ride it
- Trot large around the arena, making sure your pony’s moving with lots of energy.
- Approach one of the poles and ask for canter as you ride over it. The pole should encourage him to strike off on the correct leg.
- If he does pick up the correct lead, continue around the arena, then make a downward transition to trot. Change the rein and have a go the other way. If he picks up the wrong lead, come back to trot and try again at the next pole.
There are loads of great canter exercises, in December PONY. Get your copy from the PONY shop, on sale 23 October.