Elastic Contact with Your Horse’s Mouth in the Canter

Happy Horse Tip #3 In the canter, your horse telescopes his neck forward and back in the same way he does in the walk. You need to follow with your arms in the canter. If you don’t, your horse can’t use his neck as balancing rod. So, he struggles, gives up, and falls into the trot. He’s not being bad. You’re just putting him in a position where it’s very difficult for him to continue to canter.

Imagine that when you pick up the reins, your arms don’t belong to you anymore. They’re an extension of the rein, and they belong to your horse.

Here’s an exercise to help give you the feeling of an elastic contact in the canter. You can even practice this exercise in the halt first to get some muscle memory.
• Get up into a two-point position.
• Pretend you’re a jockey galloping down a track with your hands pushing your horse’s neck forward every stride.
• While doing that, notice how your elbows open and close with every stride.
• Then sit back down, and keep your elbows opening and closing in the same way.

For more info on the Happy Horse Course, go to: www.janesavoie.com/happyhorse/

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