i've started riding a horse in lessons that i'm really enjoying now that i've figured him out, but we're having some issues finding that happy medium between being slow with a teeny tiny step, or lengthening and going mach 5 around course. ideally, i'd like him to lengthen his step but not get strong and flat and charge the fences. just looking to get some ideas or different views on how to ride this horse better, as i'm really loving him and want to help him go his best!
on the flat i can get fantastic walk/trot work out of him, nice and round and pushing from behind, but in the canter as soon as i take contact he scrunches up into this teeny little up-and-down canter with no impulsion, so i've just been relaxing my hand and pushing him into a longer step when he gets 'scrunched,' but i haven't really been able to ride him on contact in the canter. over fences we're either bombing around on a big gallop stride, or if i ask him to sit back and settle all of a sudden we're down to some scrunched up, carousel horse 8ft lope step. conversely if i ask for more length of stride, we end up strung out and galloping.
any brilliant brainstorms on this one? also please remember he's a schoolie that i ride in group lessons, so i have no say in tack/training/etc., just looking for new techniques or ways of riding him.
That canter is probably part of his defense system from lots of different types of riders. If you were the only rider, you'd probably have the canter nicer in a few months doing what you're doing. He may have a sore hock,back, etc, as well, but it's not easy to be a schoolie. Can you talk to Teacher or whoever owns Horsie? Maybe try a private flat lesson with Horsie on bute to see if it's a pain thing? Just keep riding softly, and if the opportunity to lease or even 1/2 lease comes up, take it. When he gets "scrunchy" you keep breathing deeply and keep your seat relaxed.