View Full Version : Talk to me about the counter canter

Dec. 29, 2009, 10:59 AM
Throughout my riding life, I have of course been told of the wonders of the counter canter, that it improves the horse's balance, his jump, the lead changes, etc.

It does everything but make you lose weight and give you thicker shinier hair. :lol:

Can anyone tell me why? From a training perspective, or a mechanical point of view, why will working on the counter canter help my goofball young horse become a better citizen?


Dec. 29, 2009, 12:03 PM
1. Counter canter will help create (or improve) clean lead changes
2. Counter canter will strengthen different muscles of the horse
3. Depending on the bend, counter canter can be great for stretching and suppleness
4. If you're showing in the eq, you'll need to know it
5. It will definitely help overall balance of the horse
6. Helps horses who anticipate changes and swap

This video has some interesting info on using counter canter to help lead changes

This pretty much sums it up

Dec. 29, 2009, 12:26 PM
CC improves balance (which in turn improves the other areas mentioned) because it teaches the horse to use different muscles to keep itself together, rather than switching leads to the more balanced option. It give the horse more options to keep itself together and balanced.

CC intentional shifts the body from it's naturally balanced preference to a inbalance. As the CC gets stronger (muscles learn how to account for the inbalance), it becomes more fluid and second nature.

I'm trying to think of a human analogy: maybe motor development...something like learning to juggle? It's all crazy hard and awkward and bad at first, but as the timing, motor control, muscle memory get better, everything improves, including your skills with tossing and catching something with your non-dominant hand. You've learned to juggle, but you've also improved skills. Not a perfect analogy, but maybe it helps to understand the situation?

Or maybe learning to snowboard or skateboard, etc with the your non-dominant foot (goofy foot vs. regular foot)? Learning the other improves your skill level all around.