I Got Rhythm … Correct Canter Lead

“Teaching my young horse to strike off on the correct canter lead on the left rein was proving difficult”

Sounds like a reasonable thing to say, but this statement is wrong on so many levels. Firstly, I have no need to teach my young horse anything. Apart from the fact that she is very talented, without me on her back she balances herself and strikes off correctly every time, even on the lunge.

So what the statement should say is …

“Teaching myself to be in balance so that my young horse can strike off on the correct canter lead was proving difficult”.


  • Only ask for canter when you are completely happy with the rhythm of the trot.
  • Check your canter aids are soft and you are not putting in too much effort which could be unbalancing you.
  • Slow the trot initially before the canter strike off (you can keep the tempo later in the training, once you are sure that your balance isn’t being affected).
  • Sit up and wait – Don’t start pushing with your seat! a couple of seconds allowing the horse to respond is perfectly acceptable. The canter will come and the quality will be better than if you had allowed the horse to run into it.
  • If it all goes wrong, try again – re balance the trot, ask very quietly and simply wait.

Try not to get frustrated if it takes a while, a good transition is a joy, feel it, love it …

Remember, rhythm, rhythm, rhythm !!!

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster


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