Exercise 5 CONQUERING CANTER
Introducing canter often leads to problems for ex-racers, warns Katie. “An ex-racehorse probably won’t understand about canter strike-off — he’s used to his rider going forwards out of the saddle, shortening the reins and off they go,” says Katie. “Some horses learn to strike off quickly, whereas others will just trot faster, go off on the wrong leg or be disunited.”
How to ride it
1 As with any inexperienced horse, yours will find it much easier to strike off into the correct canter in a corner, so use this to your advantage. 2 Be clear and consistent with your canter aids. 3 If your horse takes the wrong lead, or is disunited, always take him back to trot so he learns this isn’t correct. 4 If he’s struggling, lighten your seat slightly. This will help to unblock his back so the hindleg can come through to achieve the canter. Don’t lean forwards, though. Once he’s in canter, sit back in the saddle again. n5 Initially he may bowl on in canter as he won’t be strong enough to work in balance. Let him do this, but if he gets too fast, ride 20m circles instead of going large. Make it as easy for him as you can — don’t block him with your hands.
Lightening your seat can help your horse strike off into canter