Con­trol the can­ter

Your Horse (UK) - - Better Riding -

It’s com­mon to steady your horse when turn­ing for a fence and then race to­wards it once you’ve found your line, but this could be set­ting you up for a re­fusal. “If you slow your horse down when you turn, you could be los­ing power,” ex­plains Jemma. “The key is to push him on and have a can­ter that’s longer and more pow­er­ful, but not nec­es­sar­ily faster. Then, when you straighten up, you need to be able to con­trol his stride to­wards the fence. “Give your­self time. The more you rush, the less chance you have to keep your horse straight on the ap­proach.”

How to ride it

SET IT UP: Place two poles on the ground 19 yards (17.5m) apart down one side of your school or pad­dock. In the mid­dle of the two poles, place a set of tram­lines. a) Go large in can­ter around your school on the right rein. b) At the end of the school that’s clos­est to the first pole, can­ter a 20m cir­cle. c) Es­tab­lish a good can­ter, push­ing your horse on to make his can­ter longer, but not faster. Think of it as adding en­ergy rather than speed. d) Main­tain this can­ter as you look for the poles. e) Turn to­wards your first pole, keep­ing your horse straight and be­tween your leg and hand. f) Can­ter over the pole, rid­ing straight be­tween the tram­lines and count­ing four strides to the sec­ond pole. g) Ride over the sec­ond pole and re­turn to the track. h) Re­peat un­til you’re con­fi­dently main­tain­ing an even can­ter. i) Change the rein and ride over the poles in the other di­rec­tion.

THE NEXT LEVEL: Adapt your horse’s can­ter and change the num­ber of strides you fit in be­tween the poles. Lengthen and aim for three, or shorten for five or six.

Tram­lines help main­tain straight­ness Af­ter the first pole, count the num­ber of can­ter strides to the sec­ond

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