Tag Archives: canter


This is the fourth blog in my series on Collective Marks.  As I have stated in all three of the previous posts, the importance of how you understand and focus on the collective marks cannot be emphasised enough.  If you pay lip service to this you will not have a full appreciation of the aims of your test.

The collective marks allow the judge to give an overall score for their perception of how you and your horse performed throughout the test.  It is their opinion as to how you, as a combination, conducted yourselves and the overall impression you left them with as the test progressed.

The first post in this series – Collective marks – Scoring, explained the way the collectives are scored by the judges.  Moving on, I turn to paces, regularity and freedom, the first of the collectives to be given marks.  Your score will be either an individual score for each of the 3 paces (walk, trot and canter) or an overall score for all of them, depending on your training level.

The Canter

The canter is a three beat pace, where in the canter to the right, for example, the footfall is as follows:  left hind, left diagonal (simultaneously left for and right hind, right fore, followed by a moment of suspension with all four feet I the air before the next stride begins.  The canter, always with light, cadenced and regular strides, should be moved into without hesitation.

The quality of the canter is judged by the overall impression that you give the judge.  So the judge might comment something like ‘pleasing canter’ which means that the overall impression that you give is good.5


They are looking for: Continue reading COLLECTIVE MARKS – PACES AND REGULARITY – CANTER

Improving the Canter to Walk Transition

A Facebook comment has prompted this short post on how to improve the canter to walk transition.

Question: I can get walk to canter easily, but cant get a relaxed canter to walk, any tips?


Your horse needs to carry much more of his own weight onto his hind legs and your weight also, into a forward transition to walk.  He will find it tricky if he has not built up sufficient strength gradually over a period of time.

To help your horse develop the strength and balance to perform crisp canter-to-walk transitions, perform the exercise on a large circle.

In this instance, good very much begets good.  You will not get a good walk unless you have a good canter.  The canter should be relaxed and forward before you ask for the walk transition.

If the transition is rushed, walk until you are happy with the quality of the walk, only then ask for the canter.

Repeat the process, with the goal of shortening the interval between transitions. At first it might take several circles of the canter before you are ready to ask for the walk and vice-versa.  It will also take several weeks of working on this exercise for a few minutes during each ride, before you will have built the horses strength to be able to consistently canter a half circle and walk a half circle.

Canter to WalkFor you it is a matter of ensuring that you are using your core strength to hold yourself up and keep out of your horse’s way whilst he does what is asked of him in the transitions.  Often riders collapse through the middle which shifts their weight and centre of balance forward, hindering the horse’s ability to sit.

But at least you don’t have to carry his weight too!  Be patient, it will come.

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster



This post was sponsored by:

Blue Chip Feeds