Perfecting Training Level Test 1: Movement 3

Movement 3,   Points 10

A Circle left 20m, developing left lead canter second half of circle

AFB Working canter


Quality of trot and canter; willing, calm transition; shape and size of circle; bend

Relatively quickly into the test, we develop our working canter.  The quality of both trot and canter are very important for this movement, in order to achieve the highest points possible.  However, this is the first movement that the judges will score on the transition between trot and canter, so your transition needs to be good.  The horse must be willing and proceed with a calm trot to canter gait.

Timing is critical in a good trot to canter transition.  If you ask for the transition when your horse is not ready or in position to strike off into the canter, he will rush or fall or hallow out into the transition resulting in a very low score.

Think of the trot to canter transition as an actual movement and where you want this transition to happen.  According to the test, you need to develop the left lead canter at the second half of the circle (red line on the image), so you will need to prepare for this movement at least 7-8 strides out.  Sit deeply and make a very small half halt on the outside rein to make sure you have your horse’s attention and to let him know that a change will be happening.  Steady him at the 4th stride.  Three sides, turn your shoulders to flex him to the inside and at 2 strides  before your target your outside leg goes back when you are able to ask for the canter transition at 1 stride out.  Remember, your inside leg aid tells your horse when to strike off.   If you slow down and establish your sequence and think about your transition several strides out, you will establish an easy smooth transition into a better quality canter departure and gait.

Remembers that judges love to see riders prepare their horses for the next movement by riding correct corners, and using smooth, effective half halts for transitions.  Remember to keep your circle accurate...!

Happy riding, Larissa

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