What Do Medium Trot and Canter Feel Like?

Here’s what you should feel in a medium trot and canter: 1. The SAME tempo as collection. (Although it might "feel" slower than the collected gaits because the strides are longer.) Try counting it out loud. 2. An uphill balance like an airplane taking off. The success of your medium gait totally depends on how much you collect and engage the hind legs on the short side. So give connecting aids and keep them on for most of the short side. Then just soften your hands a bit forward when you start the medium. During the connecting aids, you're coiling the spring of the hind legs and getting your horse "bubbling over" with compressed energy so he can express that power over the ground in the medium. To apply connecting aids, close both calves as if asking for a lengthening. Close your outside hand to recycle that power. Vibrate the inside rein to keep the neck straight. The connecting aids can last for a couple of seconds or even for the entire short side. If your horse goes wide behind in the trot, it shows a lack of engagement. Use a long set of connecting aids and also as an exercise, do the following: Ride a few steps of shoulder-in. Then do a few strides of medium. Then collect the trot after the medium by stepping back into shoulder-in. The shoulder-in engages the hind legs. Stepping into shoulder-in BEFORE he gets wide behind teaches him to keep the hind legs stepping under and not start pushing backwards. Stepping into shoulder-in to collect AFTER the medium insures that you don’t rely too much on your hands, which would stop the hind legs.

Here’s what you should feel in a medium trot and canter: The SAME tempo as collection. (Although it might "feel" slower than the … [Read more...]

Help Your Stiff Horse Bend

(Photo by Mary Phelps) Does your horse find it difficult to bend in one direction? You can help your stiff horse bend better by using … [Read more...]

Note From Jane – April 2017

Check this out! I can't wait to spend the week with you learning and playing on a Caribbean cruise! We’ll have a blast! For more … [Read more...]

Learn The Training Scale

As a general rule for all of your training sessions, you want to school according to the training scale. You can go to 10 different … [Read more...]

Use Leg Yielding to Help Pick Up the Correct Canter Lead

Somewhere in most horses’ training, usually when they are still green, they have trouble picking up one or both canter leads. If that … [Read more...]

Keep Your Horse on the Bit Through Walk to Trot Transitions

To keep your horse on the bit I walk to trot transitions (or any transition, for that matter), first teach him the connecting aids in … [Read more...]

How To Ride Corners

No matter what level you’re doing, you have to ride corners. The general rule for riding corners is that you don’t have to go any … [Read more...]

How To Discourage Pulling

Does your horse yank you out of the saddle every few strides? If you find that happening in the walk and canter, first make sure … [Read more...]

What To Do When Adding Impulsion Creates Tension

Adding Impulsion Creates Tension

Often in our quest to develop the gaits, we add impulsion to the working trot and canter. This is a great goal, but with some horses, … [Read more...]

How To Supple The Poll

Here’s an exercise to supple your horse’s poll. Start in the halt on the rail so you can check that you're keeping your horse's body … [Read more...]