>I'm after some advice on training techniques to execute correct canter
>leads. My horse always uses the same leg & is really good at
>What's the trick?
aids are different depending on which leg you want to lead on. Teaching
them on a large circle (20 m) is best.
To strike off with the near fore (ie left front leg!) you put your inside
leg (left one) on the girth and make a brushimg motion with your right leg
back behind the girth. At the same time offer a slightly opening rein on
the right and shift your weight to the outside (right) and back a little.
This shift in weight frees up the left shoulder for the lead leg to come
through as well as engages the off hind which is actually where the canter
stride starts from (leading leg is a bit of a misnomer because the hind
legs always initiate the pace). Remember not to lean forward to check
whether he his leading with the correct leg as this puts your weight
directly over the leg that has to come forward and makes it impossible for
him to get it in position. To really exaggerate the weight shift try
turning your eyes (and your head a bit) to the outside (right) as you ask
for the canter.
To start off with, ask for the canter through the corner so that your
horse will be more inclined to lead with the correct leg. This way he will
associate your aids with the correct lead and not just a jumbled signal to
canter per se. Be prepared for resistance (pigroots are usually good :-))
when you ask for the lead on his bad side, but make sure he does it.
Of course, to canter on the right lead then reverse the aids. Right leg on
the girth, left leg brushes behind. Weight to the outside (left).
Oh and don't ask for canter on the straight until he is willingly
cantering on both leads.
Lin in Oz and Remy, the formerly attrocious canterer!