Any tips/advice for riding this movement correctly? My horse is confirmed with the simple changes leading to the movement, but picking up the counter canter isn't...I have a feeling I am not sitting/asking correctly.
I have a feeling I am not sitting/asking correctly.
I think you answered your own question. How do you set up for a lead? You must do it some to be able to always get the correct lead at a simple change, or do you only do a chance and never do a canter/walk/canter onto the same lead you were on?
It's one of those things which may vary by person as to how to explain what's wrong vs. how I would explain to someone who didn't know. For me to get it correct, I have to feel my horse's rib cage shift, sit on the inside (for the lead) seatbone and pretend I'm going to circle through the rail. All exaggerated in the explanation, but I have to exaggerate the aids right now because my horse is convinced I'm a complete and utter moron for asking for the wrong lead.
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
Can you pick up either lead consistently and quietly in either direction off of the rail? I had to get past the mental hump of psyching myself out thinking, "OMG, we don't have room between us and the wall to pick up a counter canter and stay balanced!" The most beneficial exercise for me was to canter across the short diagonal and transition to a walk somewhere near the quarterline as if doing a simple change, but then canter off again maintaining the same lead and complete a 20m circle in counter canter. You'll be in a far better position for "takeoff" having already come up to your change with the same angle/bend/seat that you'll need to establish the correct lead, so you're just picking up from your last stride.
Last edited by melody1; Apr. 18, 2013 at 08:14 PM.
Counter canter is all about balance. So for me, the two main things to remember are:
- Make sure you are sitting correctly, aka in the center of the saddle (most people tend to drop to the outside)
- Make sure your horse is doing an active canter, using his hind end. If he is running or on his shoulders he won't be able to balance.
For the first couple of times, it helps if you open your outside rein as well as your inside. It may seem silly but helps them stay in between the two reins and this is the best way to keep them from loosing balance... Just a trick I picked up from a 5y.o who was a pro on flying changes!
try canter walk alt canter out in space, a field is great, or a big arena. When teaching a die hard "this lead, dam*it" horse I put them in renvers at the walk and then ask. they pick it up, and the gears start to turn. with time you can just adjust the flexion to ensure the correct lead.
Some things to think about: don't look around the circle when picking up the counter-canter - look in a direction that seems like picking up the true canter and then put your horse in the half-circle. The subtle shift in your own weight by tricking your self can help. Also, if your horse is confirmed with the simple changes, now is the time to start doing them on all kinds of lines. For example, do them across the diagonal. There's no rail, the horse has to listen to you, and you're already looking ahead towards tempi's (where the horse really can't anticipate although they all want to). Also, try practicing a nice shallow canter loop where you change to the counter canter for each part of the loop. I just love the counter canter as an exercise!
Inside seatbone, outside leg back, outside shoulder back and maintain that position for counter canter. So on the left rein but the right lead you will have your left shoulder back, you will be sitting on your right seatbone, your left leg will be back. Maintain. On the right rein but the left lead, you will be sitting on your left seatbone, right shoulder back, right leg back. Maintain.
I hope it is helpful to you.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
― Albert Einstein
When you ride the first part of Cc to the 1/4 line , you will ride it in true canter, the second part, riding back to the wall, maintaining your position, and the horse's flexion, using your inside knee and thigh, without turning your head and shoulders to the wall, will give you the feel of counter canter. After that is easy, try going to X and back to the wall, going to X is true canter, back to wall gives you a better feel for counter canter, and how to move the horse in a direction away from his bend.
Do not be surprised if you find this more difficult on one rein than the other. Make sure you can do both reins easily before you try Cc in 1/2 of a 20m circle around the short side. It is a kindness to both horse and rider to finish your early starts at this to come back to true canter by coming across the diagonal.
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.
Don't overthink it. When I ride this movement, I visualize myself in an open field and let the "barrier" of the arena wall dissolve from my mind - this helps me get over the fact that I'm picking up the "wrong" lead for the direction I'm going. Once I pick up the counter canter and proceed to the half circle, I just focus on keeping the canter balanced and rhythmic (sometimes mare likes to speed up a bit in this particular movement) and before you know it, you're back to the wall and going the "right" way.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.