Getting into the canter on the correct
lead with a nice depart is all about
having control of the horse’s body
before and during the transition.
“Any time I get on a horse I don’t
know, the first thing I’ll do is walk a
20-meter circle and yield the shoulder
from the outside rein in both directions, so I can place the shoulder both
ways,” says four-star eventer Leah
This is a less sophisticated version
of a shoulder-in that gets the horse
moving his body from side to side,
becoming more supple laterally.
“For me, the correct lead is all
about the horse’s straightness. When
the horse’s shoulders are in front of his
hips, he can actually bring his hind
legs up underneath himself in a way
that’s going to propel him correctly
into the canter.
“For example, I have a horse that
has a hard time on the left lead, so on
a circle at the trot, I’ll bring the shoulders out, then in, then out again. As
I’m bringing the shoulders in and I feel
that he’s stepping under with his hind,
I’ll ask for the canter in that moment.
“The lateral work from side to side
is what eventually allows us to have
the ability to ride our horses straight.”
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FTB_Horse_Illustrated.indd 1 8/24/2016 3:35:26PM
into the gait.
From there, riding a slight shoulder-fore position in canter (a slight
bend through the body putting the
shoulders just inside the track) helps
straightness and engagement.
“Riders often don’t keep the horse
connected or keep the inside leg
closed—there’s this moment when
they stop breathing and stop riding,”
explains Lang-Gluscic. “Horses are
so in tune that they also freeze and
come off the bit. Just by remembering to ride through the transition,
you’ll have a great result.”