CANTER DEPART – Up, Up and Away

You don’t have to be Supergirl to execute a good canter depart, but to do a great transition it would serve you well to think like her!canter depart

Tell yourself that you’re stepping ‘up’ into the canter, not forward into the canter depart.

Often riders lean forward pushing the horse down, so the horse can’t step up cleanly. Also, riders let go of the contact which drops the horse down too. So, tell yourself that you have to ask your horse UP into the canter. Think ‘Up, Up, Up’ with your upper body, hands, and leg.

Do not push with the leg like your horse is a tube of toothpaste or he will behave like one and rush out in a big splurge! With the leg scoop your horse UP under you.

If you are really struggling, lean back and ‘look to the skies’ when you ask. This temporary measure will really help you communicate the UP message, you can tone it down once you and your horse get the idea!

Have fun!

Patricia – The Dressage Tipster

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8 Responses

  1. LOVE your analogies and short, easy explanations! I get a lot out of reading these and getting the mind set just before I get out for my lesson. Thank you!!!

    1. That’s great news Lynn. Let me know if there’s anything specific I can help you with. The right frame of mind is so important in Dressage, glad I can help.

  2. This really works! I tried it on the cob that I ride at the local riding school, who usually falls into canter and he stepped up beautifully

    1. Great news Val. Thanks for the note on Facebook, when people leave feedback it sort of reassures others and at the end of the day it’s all about enjoying our sport together. Thanks again. Px

  3. Hi again, Patricia!

    I’m pleased to say my riding has improved a little since last I wrote thanks to your invaluable suggestions.

    I have a great coach and take 1 lesson a month for the time being (with video).

    If you have time I’d greatly appreciate your input on the following 3 questions:

    1- The thoroughbred I presently part-board and ride is not dressage trained, but he is gentle, calm and responsive and seems to be learning along with me. His canter however is almost impossible to sit to for me as he is built lower in front and he pushes me up and out with every stride. What to do?

    2- I’m presently riding in a jumping saddle that belongs to him. It is the right size and comfortable for me and fits him perfectly. In the “old days” I owned a deep seat dressage, but I’ve tried a couple of them recently and find I now prefer a flatter seat. Should I consider buying a used dressage saddle for him and would this help improve my general posture, balance etc. or is it unnecessary at this early stage?

    3- I’d like to have you view one of my riding vids and analyse it. Do you do this? If so, would you explain how to go about it and the cost?

    Many thanks!


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