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Disunited Canter

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  • Disunited Canter

    I had some breakthroughs with my horse last week on my position, so much that I actually started asking for flying changes...and getting them! Half of them.

    I seemed to be doing something consistently incorrect (on about half of my patterns) and getting the change in front, but not behind.

    I THINK that I am dropping my upper body forward...but usually he just doesn't switch at all if I do that...so I am suspecting it is something else.

    I am asking this forum because the horse is better trained in Dressage than I am. For example, when I first got him, I would ask for a canter on the long side and get a perfect half pass along the arena diagonal. I was apparently asking for the canter in the way good riders would ask for a half pass.

    Any suggestions?
    Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior

  • #2
    What advice does your coach give you?
    Do you have mirrors in your arena?
    Or a friend with a video camera?


    • #3
      It sounds like your timing is off and you're asking the horse to change leads when the hindlegs are on the ground, he therefore can't do a correct back to front change and only swapps the front. How are your simple changes? Make sure they are perfect before you attempt a flying change and if possible have someone help from the ground until all your aids are figured out, you don't want to develope bad habits.
      Good luck! Sounds like you have a great horse!
      Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
      Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...

      Originally posted by mbm
      forward is like love - you can never have enough


      • #4
        Originally posted by rugbygirl View Post

        I am asking this forum because the horse is better trained in Dressage than I am. For example, when I first got him, I would ask for a canter on the long side and get a perfect half pass along the arena diagonal. I was apparently asking for the canter in the way good riders would ask for a half pass.

        Any suggestions?
        That's AWESOME! I want a horse that will do that!
        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


        • #5
          The weighting of your stirrups is not being done correctly. For canter, the outside stirrup with your leg slightly behind the girth is what should happen. This is also the weighting for the half-pass, though your pelvic rotation must change slightly to go from a straight line canter to the diagonal line canter of half-pass. What you are getting unexpectedly is probably from incorrect weight coupled with you slightly torqueing your torso off the horse's left side. Use your whip to get that outside hind under better. Definitely keep your torso erect, and not leaning forward.

          When you do the flying change, your weighting of the stirrups must change from one side to the other as the stride changes. Again, you are probably losing the horse's right hind, as that is the one most frequently strung out behind.

          I suggest that you go back to working on your canter, countercanter, as this will focus you on the stirrup weighting. (For countercanter, your inside stirrup must take a little more weight and the outside stirrup must give up a little of the weighting.) Remember that for your staight line canter work, the focus of the weighting is on the horse's outside hind, while for your countercanter work, the shift to greater weight on the inside is to effect the inside fore leg of the horse. Once you can readily keep your stirrups properly weighted, then try the flying change again, paying more attention to how your stirrup weighting must change.


          • #6
            I really agree with Reiter .

            Flying changes should be very easy (and much fun). But they are really hard to re-school so you want to be sure that the horse doeesn't get into the habit of not changing behind or changing late behind

            I have one horse who was worried about the changes. With her I warmed up with 100's of transitions. Canter trot counter canter (making the transition in the middle of the long side) than counter cnater trot canter (transiton in the middle of the next long side) Repeat until this was easy. the focus is on the transitions being straight and clear and that the hrase understands the aid for canter left and canter right. then on the other rein then canter walk countercanter. counter canter walk canter. Then when this was easy the changes were as well.

            Also, my aid for the change and for the canter transition is really simple - outside leg and allow the canter with my seat. The horse should be straight.

            Kyra Kyrklund's dvd "advanced canter movements volume 6" is fantastic. She really breaks down the flying change, the mechanics and timing of the aids. I can't recomend this dvd enough.

            Not sure what Angel is on about.....
            Last edited by caddym; Feb. 20, 2010, 10:17 AM.


            • #7
              All the advice is good, but also: Is this horse changing cleanly when someone else asks for a flying change (or when free lunged and asked to change directions at the canter)?

              A lot of schoolmasters can get sore while we are trying to get ourselves figured out! If he is stiff or sore in his back or hind end that may be exacerbating the problem.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the advice! Lots of interesting info, I think (after lesson earlier today) that the timing issue is the main one. Timing of the aids is starting to be near the top of my riding issues list.

                I sort of follow Angel, I am pretty sure that the reason I was getting the half-pass (well, it FELT like a half-pass) was because my inside hip was lifting. I couldn't get the half-pass now no matter how hard I tried (I am not up to half-passing in my riding yet) She has a point on the stirrup weighting too, but that specific explanation isn't the best hint for me for this issue at this time, because I know that I need to work on sitting deep and keeping my shoulders back...I mess that up if I think about weighting my stirrups. The timing/leaning forward issues make the most sense.

                Horse is what we would call "sticky" on his leads. He just prefers one side to the other. If a rider is not going to ask him correctly and confidently and really get after him, he will happily continue on the wrong lead. Not a bad horse by any stretch, that one lead swap is just his least favourite thing. He is improving with regular schooling (he is part-leased by a much more experienced Hunter/Jumper rider), but the disunited thing was new for me. He doesn't do that for her.

                Also, my aid for the change and for the canter transition is really simple - outside leg and allow the canter with my seat. The horse should be straight.
                Yes, this! That's why I was asking around, trying to figure out how I was "polluting" my aid. I knew that I must be doing it right sometimes and screwing it up other times, because when we got it, we GOT it, and it was fun

                purplnurpl, this horse has done all sorts of interesting things in response to my messed-up aids. He's a try-hard. Once when I was trying to get a shortened trot (not collected, just shortened) he started trotting in one spot, hardly moving forward. I wouldn't call it a piaffe or anything, but probably as close as I'm going to get to one. He just gathered all up in front, and got REALLY uphill, and I kept posting and we STOPPED MOVING FORWARD. Another "move" that I couldn't replicate no matter how hard I tried...
                Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior