Struggling to with your upward transitions to canter?

Using the Leg Yield to help with Canter Transition

CanterTransitionrightleadUsing the Leg Yield to help with Canter Transition

Use the full arena to get your horse warmed up and moving forward in the working trot.

The Aids:

The hand aids; as you ride full arena use an indirect rein with a supporting outside rein. Use your inside rein or indirect rein to position his/her poll so you can see your horses inside eye through the corners. At the same time use your outside rein to support the neck so that you do not create too much bend to the inside.

The leg aids; position the inside leg at the girth, and the outside leg slightly behind the girth.

The seat aids; your weight distributed on both seat bones with a little more weight to the outside.

The eyes; your eyes need to be looking across the arena towards your destination.

When you are ready, transition down to a walk and turn-down the quarter-line to begin your first leg yield. Ride straight for a few steps and look where you are going. Then prepare your body for the cues for the leg yield. When you are ready, ask for a few good steps over towards your focal point. If you get stuck or, things get weird ride forward. Continue around the full arena and try again. Practice the leg yield several times working up to turning down centerline for a longer leg yield.

You can also add the 20-meter circle after each of your leg yields to regain your tempo and balance. Once you have figured out the spatial relationship of where to turn and how to apply your aids, transition to trot. Then turn down the quarter-line and begin your first leg yield at the trot at the end of the leg yield and circle. This first part of the exercise might be enough for the day. If you feel good about your work, then stop. If you want to continue to the canter work, then follow these suggestions.

You need to be balanced before you ask for the canter depart when leg yielding you are pushing your horse towards the wall, and creating energy, when you reach the wall ask for the canter depart making sure your horse is balanced, and you have some canter in your trot before the transition.

The moment your horse steps up into the canter allow your seat-bone to give forward so your horse’s back can come up and carry you. When you are cantering, continue riding forward in a nice large 20m circle to stay balanced. If you don’t succeed in the upward transition, don’t allow your horse to run away with you at the trot, regain control by setting up and circling get balanced at the trot then start over.

Notes for success:

  • Keep your eyes up and look where you are going.
  • Slow everything down if you need to start in the walk then transition for a good walk to a good trot then from a good trot to a good canter.
  • Use your half halts to rebalance your horse
  • If you are struggling with the shoulder-in, then don’t try the canter.
  • Leave out any element of this exercise that is too advanced for you and your horse.
  • Quit before you, and your horse gets tired (both physically and mentally!)

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