My boy when collecting at the canter, is occasionally changing leads front or behind, then becomes disunited – cross fires, suggestions on exercises to do to help? = Engagement, Collection
My boy when collecting at the canter, is occasionally changing leads front or behind, then becomes disunited, suggestions on exercises to do to help?
Angie & John’s Answer
Great question. When a horse disunite behind when cantering it’s because they are losing their collection and feels uncomfortable so wants to swap leads. Slowly over time you have to help them build the strength to hold the collection for longer periods.
An exercise that you would work on (over months) would be to pick their shoulders up with your hands (elevate their shoulders more) to help them put more weight onto their hindquarters for longer. Sit tall, ride the horse forward with your outside leg back a little and try and squeeze their hip forward and up underneath that side of the horse’s body, so your horse starts to learn how to balance on its inside hind foot more and get more weight back on their hindquarters for longer periods.
It’s a bit like gym work, it takes time to strengthen these muscles…..
Another exercises would be to counter canter (if you’re up to it), hold them on the incorrect lead BUT only for a very short length of time, half a loop of a circle before returning to true canter. Over time you build the length of time they can counter canter as they learn to balance themselves, learn to put more weight on their hindquarters and build the strength to maintain a better quality canter and counter canter for longer periods.
Also having your horse have a good response to your outside leg is really important. So any of the foundation body control hindquarter exercises will also help teach your horse to have a better response to your outside leg aids and supple and strengthen their body.
The video that I think would best help improve your horse’s quality of canter would be:
THE START OF TEACHING MORE ENGAGEMENT OF THE HINDQUARTERS FOR SHORT PERIODS AT THE CANTER
Hope this helps and let us know how you go.
Angie and John