View Full Version : Independent parts

Jan. 16, 2011, 08:32 PM
Somewhat frustrating lesson this morning. My gelding is definitely weaker in his left lead lead canter and we were attempting to work on it on a 20m circle. Trainer has me asking for the left lead with only my left leg and the right leg quiet. I'm having a devil of a time not using my right leg when asking. Before I would have my right leg back behind the girth and now trainer wants me to just have it quiet like I'm in sitting trot. So I'm having to retrain myself and him.. Any thoughts on getting the legs to work independently from each other?

Jan. 16, 2011, 09:16 PM
The lead done the way your instructor is telling you is designed to work better in the left lead direction on a circle than the method will work for the right lead canter on a circle. This is because of the horse's crookedness.

What you are trying to do as you ask for the lead on the inside like she is having you do, is to encourage the horse to bend a bit more deeply toward its inside in order to help fix the crookedness. With the canter, you generally want to weight your outside stirrup more as you ask for transition. However, if the horse is crooked (hollow right) as most horses are, you will not easily get more weight onto your right stirrup.

What you need to do to take the canter from the inside is rather like a scooping motion from your inside seatbone. There needs to be a slight twist toward the inside to the motion. The twist must include your upper torso rotating just a bit more inward. I think of the motion as: scoop down, twist up. Just a little bit of twist up.

This method of trying to fix a crooked canter on the left lead will work better on a straight line than on a circle. It is not a method I would recommend for asking for the canter right because in this instance, the scoop/twist movement would actually make the right lead canter more crooked. When I train a horse, my goal is to have the horse take the canter from my weighted outside stirrup ... both leads... because later on a good pirouette will depend on it. Hope that helps.

Jan. 16, 2011, 09:26 PM
If you weight your outside stirrup more, you will lighten your inside seat bone, which would be counter-productive.

You definitely want to encourage that inside bend. However, there are many instances where neither horse nor rider is strong enough to maintain that bend with out support from the outside leg. That doesn't mean kicking with the outside leg, just there quietly supporting. Think of it as asking for a canter transition from S/I. The inside leg is active, the outside quietly supporting the quarters.