First canters with Cooper – a bit like riding an armored combat tank. A frightened-very straight-and-then-suddenly-stopping type of a combat tank.
He was a bit intense… To make it easier, did some lunging with voice transitions, then used them under saddle.
First, the canter was unbalanced. Scrambling. He couldn’t even keep one full 20 m circle at the canter. It took a few full laps in trot to come back into it again.
Showed you this already:
We stayed that way for a while, then getting to where he could willingly hop into the canter at various places in the arena, as well as canter two full circles. Although pretty unbalanced.
Next he could canter a circle to the right, trot across the diagonal and a full lap of trot to the left on the new circle there before coming into left lead canter. A figure 8 “trot half halt”.
We stayed here for weeks, since he’d get worked up very easily and it was hard for him. Also didn’t drill this very often at all. Our work is pretty short.
Eventually we got to where the “rebalancing trot part” could be shortened – left lead canter immediately after the trot on the diagonal. SO proud of him!
If this wasn’t part of The Lone Riders Club, there’d be a picture showing some improvement here. All you get is my little horse statue.
Should be trying the serpentine sometimes now. The arena is really too short to accommodate a comfortable 3 loop canter serpentine at this stage. We try a bit.
Starting out with trotting the serpentine to set him up.
Then a 20 m trot circle at the short end (which would be A if this was a real arena and not a make-believe dust bowl), picking up the canter at A and riding it through the first serpentine loop.
Trotting when straightening at the centerline, then changing leads into the next loop.
Not scrambling is the goal.
(We scramble haha.)
This is super challenging for him, he has to bend, balance, and stay level-headed, and not rush away in the trot part. And 3 loops in this short little thing is too much. But so much fun that we’ve made it to here to sometimes try!
If we master this, he’s ready for half halts within the canter. Let you know how it goes! Hmm, could be next year.
As always, I’d love to hear your own story of teaching green horses to canter.