The Left Lead Canter

I almost biffed it. 

Lost my stirrup. 

Not the most elegant rider. Ha!

She’s not trying to be naughty. Alright, maybe a little… but she thinks when I say “Good” it means immediately stop. So I tapped her with the whip. She didn’t appreciate it. 

It’s the only times she bucks… when I tap her with the whip. I didn’t do it hard, just wanted to get her attention quickly as soon as she broke to trot… didn’t quite go as planned.

I lunged her today. I want to see if I can help her balance better without being on her. I don’t have any side reins. I’m a little leery about using side reins anyway. I haven’t used them since 1992.

Were you even born then? 

It was that long ago….

I’m not sure I remember proper usage. I need a refresher course.

So I used cavellettis. Went suprisingly well, considering it’s rainy, cold, windy. My hubby is using the chainsaw to cut trees down near the driveway (above the arena and just out of sight). Lawn mower with cart is being used to drag brush past the arena. Lots of noise, lots of reasons to be a spastic idiot.

She was amazingly unaffected by the crazy pile of brush lumberingly slowly pasy her in a cart, nor did the chainsaw affect her. It’s always the cats. haha

As soon as I asked her to trot over the cavallettis she settled down. Then we worked on trying to canter over them. Wasn’t really working, so I modified it to trot through, pick up canter, trot through, pick up canter… etc. That worked rather well even though they were spaced for canter. 

It was very tiring for her, so I didn’t lunge very long. 

She has a nice canter to the right. Almost balanced, good reach, even footfalls. 

The left is like a drunken duck trying to play hopscotch. 

She picks up the right lead going left, then does a flying change/buck to switch leads. 

Sometimes she does a flying change, comes to an immediate halt and rears. It’s a movement of beauty and grace, and makes me think higher levels work is attainable with her…. in the far future. And then she nearly falls on her face picking up the left lead again. 

I think making her think about her own feet and how to balance herself is what she really needs right now. I can’t seem to help her undersaddle to the left. She lets me help her to the right, but not at all to the left. She locks her jaw, barrels down on the bit, and speeds off in a forward falling spree of “Get it over with!!” canter. 

Any suggestions on youtube videos, or articles, for proper use and technique of side reins? 


3 thoughts on “The Left Lead Canter

  1. Don’t know any relevant videos or articles, but one thing you might take into consideration is a weak right hind leg. Since that’s the push-off leg for the left lead canter it may be that there’s some pain there or it’s just too weak for her to balance on it. Simple exercises that make her use it, such as gradual hill work, leg yield left, or trot circles with shoulder in might build her up on that side over time, if this is indeed what’s happening. I wouldn’t bother with side reins–it sounds like you would need to double-lunge on long lines to be effective and that takes a lot more skill. Double lungeing allows you to ask the horse to balance on the outside by use of half-halts without the added burden of carrying a rider. I leave that stuff to my exceptionally skilled trainer…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good point about the weaker hind leg. I was assuming left hind, but right makes more sense after reading your comment.
      Thanks for the suggestions on exercises!

      I’m about as good with double-lunge lines as I am with side reins. 😉 One day I hope to find a really good instructor who can teach me how to do the ground work correctly. It would be especially helpful the older I get.


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