Cantering on the wrong leg

stressy

New Member
Apr 22, 2009
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sunderland
I cant seem to get my horse cantering on the right leg on the right rein, I really have to turn her head to the right, open my inside hand and shift my body to the right side and move my inside leg really far back-not very pretty! Are there any exercises I can do to help with this? The right rein isnt her best one! I am thinking of getting her back checked to get this ruled out.
 

Claire1605

Active Member
Apr 25, 2008
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Are you asking in the corner of the school or down the longside?

Perhaps your horse is stiff on this rein and finds it hard to bend. It will be difficult to get the correct lead if she is not bending round your leg to the inside slightly.

Try some flexion in walk to help loosen her up. Firstly to the ouside then to the inside etc. Make sure you keep your inside leg on to stop her falling in etc. You have to encourage her to bend round your inside leg with her body not just turn her head to the inside.

Make sure you have a nice relaxed trot before you ask for canter. Is she rushing in the trot?

Have you tried raising your inside rein just before and while you ask for the canter.

You also say you have your inside leg back. Your inside leg should be on the girth and your outside leg slightly behind to ask for correct strike off. Your inside leg might be confusing her.

I hope this helps.
 

stressy

New Member
Apr 22, 2009
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Are you asking in the corner of the school or down the longside?

Perhaps your horse is stiff on this rein and finds it hard to bend. It will be difficult to get the correct lead if she is not bending round your leg to the inside slightly.

Try some flexion in walk to help loosen her up. Firstly to the ouside then to the inside etc. Make sure you keep your inside leg on to stop her falling in etc. You have to encourage her to bend round your inside leg with her body not just turn her head to the inside.

Make sure you have a nice relaxed trot before you ask for canter. Is she rushing in the trot?

Have you tried raising your inside rein just before and while you ask for the canter.

You also say you have your inside leg back. Your inside leg should be on the girth and your outside leg slightly behind to ask for correct strike off. Your inside leg might be confusing her.

I hope this helps.

I always ask in the corner, her trot is lovely- she really works into the contact and offers an outline in walk and trot, its just canter lead thats the problem, she really fights with me about it. I think she is stiff on this rein though so will try the flexion in walk. Thanks :)
 

eml

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Apr 29, 2002
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www.ivanhoeequestrian.net
The last horse I bought for the RS could not canter in the arena to start with and changed legs behind after a few strides if you rode a corner. The person selling her said she only ever cantered on one leg when out.

When you watched her trot on circles you could see that she did not really move her inside hind legs across under her body so we did lots of leg yeilding on the straight and on circles in walk and trot and serpentines to try to balance her on both reins. It took about 2 months of consistant work before we tried canter work and it came almost immediately,taking only a few further sessions to get circles, walk to canter transitions etc.

Sometimes it is worth looking at the problem from another angle rather than worrying about the obvious symptom.
 

Sarah_Sayers

New Member
Nov 15, 2006
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I have heard of lots of people with this problem, Willow and I struggled with our left lead. We tried lots of things, what worked quite well for us, was actually turning her head slightly to the outside. I think this is supposed to adjust their balance encouraging them to strike off on the correct lead. Then once going we established the correct bend.

Lot's and lots of practice, and now we are almost always right, without bending to the outside.

Good luck!
 
some great advice here -- one thing you can do to help her is to get her moving nicely on the lunge at the full extent of the rein - then slowly shorten the lunge rein so she is cantering a smaller circle -- when she has to break gait let her, then lengthen the lunge rein and ask her ot canter again...

over time, this will build up her muscles so she can canter smaller circles on the lunge -- and this will improve her canter lead when ridden..

good luck

Cathy
 

poppy 99

Member
Jul 8, 2006
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If there is nothing physicall y wrong with her, put a pole in the corner of the school and ask for canter just as you go over it
 

nani

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Nov 20, 2007
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Avon
I cant seem to get my horse cantering on the right leg on the right rein, I really have to turn her head to the right, open my inside hand and shift my body to the right side and move my inside leg really far back-not very pretty!

Just read this about 5 times and trying to imagine what you're doing....

You turn her head into the canter, so when she strikes with the off-hind, she can't follow through.

Then you open the hand and assume let go of any contact and support so will fall onto her inside fore but then breaks the movement coming from behind again.

Plus your weight and leg is so far to the inside she can't shift your balance to let her strike off.

I would get a nice steady straight trot, ask with inside leg on girth, outside leg behind to ask for the off-hind to step into the first beat of the canter. Keep sitting straight up and look far ahead, don't lean, keep the contact.

You could try a pole in the corner but I think this will encourage you to lean into her movement when you really need to be allowing it through.
 

Doogie

Member
May 7, 2009
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In a bubble
I have heard of lots of people with this problem, Willow and I struggled with our left lead. We tried lots of things, what worked quite well for us, was actually turning her head slightly to the outside. I think this is supposed to adjust their balance encouraging them to strike off on the correct lead. Then once going we established the correct bend.

Lot's and lots of practice, and now we are almost always right, without bending to the outside.

Good luck!

I have also been given advice to this end and it makes sense as the issue is balance. The transition from trot to canter involves engaging the inside hind - but there is sometimes a tendency to ask for too much inside bend which actually blocks the inside hind and the inside diagonal.

If you bend slightly to the outside you free up these legs making it easier for the horse to strike off on the correct lead. With practice as the horse becomes stronger and more responsive to your inside leg aids you wont need to use an outside bend anymore.
 

Dark Storm

Well I'll be a Krampus's Auntie! :D!
Jan 4, 2009
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Hadfield
That's been my horses issue.. he looked as though he'd sorted him self out a few weeks ago, but back tracked last week :redface: now having to get him right again:running: It's like a game of tennis....................................
 

joosie

lifelong sufferer of restless brain syndrome
Oct 28, 2004
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New Zealand
If it is a physical issue that is causing this problem, it could be a problem somewhere other than his back, so if you're going to get him looked at, I'd get someone who can do a complete examination rather than just a back person.

We have a chunky monkey pony called Piccolo who struggles to pick up left canter due to a problem with his left stifle. When the left hind is expected to do something extra - stepping over to the right for example - the joint pops out of place and back in again. He doesn't like to take left canter because it requires that little extra flexion and effort from that left hind, and it is stiff and possibly a bit uncomfortable.

It is the same with lateral work, he is quite good leg-yielding to the left but he is extremely reluctant to move to the right because it requires him to step over with the dodgy leg. Same again manoeuvering him in the yard, he quite happily turns/swings/pivots to the right but he really resists when asked to turn to the left and use that left hind beneath him.

The solution to the canter lead issue with Piccolo is to raise the outside hand upwards and outwards at the moment you ask for canter, because it makes it harder for him to resist using that hindleg.
 

nani

New Member
Nov 20, 2007
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Avon
I have also been given advice to this end and it makes sense as the issue is balance. The transition from trot to canter involves engaging the inside hind - but there is sometimes a tendency to ask for too much inside bend which actually blocks the inside hind and the inside diagonal.

If you bend slightly to the outside you free up these legs making it easier for the horse to strike off on the correct lead. With practice as the horse becomes stronger and more responsive to your inside leg aids you wont need to use an outside bend anymore.

^^this^^
 

eventerbabe

Well-Known Member
Dec 16, 2004
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my toby has a similar issue. For love nor money we cannot consistently get the correct canter strike off on the right rein. He's been 'rolfed', had saddle refitted, i've been straightened out and still unsuccessful. Today my RI and i decided we had to nail this issue as it's holding him back in his dressage. working on a 20m circle i had to get leg yield 'feel' then ask. Still no joy. Totally unconciously i started moving my inside hand into the neck and bingo, correct strikeoff every time. When you do get the correct strike off, analyse what YOU may have done differently to aid that transition and try to replicate it with the next transition.
 
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