Thursday, December 13, 2007

Comment, Comment, Comment

So... I know there are a few of you reading my blog (StatCounter is so cool). I'm running a little low on ideas for my posts so how about you all help me out? Post a comment and let me know what you would like to read about. Or, a question that you would like my view on. Or, absolutely anything. Help....

I'm going home to NJ this weekend and I'll take some pictures and, hopefully, write a few interesting posts. But, in the meantime, I welcome your questions or topic ideas.


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Forgotten Tool

Have trainers and riders forgotten the importance of developing a horse's counter canter? Just because you are not an A-circuit trainer or rider does not mean you can't help your horse (and yourself) become the best possible.

The official U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) and FEI definition of counter canter: "This is a movement where the rider, for instance on a circle to the left, deliberately makes his horse canter with the right canter lead...The counter canter is a balancing movement. The horse maintains his natural flexion at the poll to the outside of the circle and the horse is positioned to the side of the leading leg. His conformation does not permit his spine to be bent to the line of the circle. The rider, avoiding any contortion causing contraction and disorder, should especially endeavor to limit the deviation of the quarters to the outside of the circle and restrict his demands according to the degree of suppleness of the horse."

We do counter canter because it makes our horses agile, straight and strong.

In counter canter, when the rider tracks right in left lead canter or vice versa, the aids must become more precise and the feel for half halts more sophisticated. Counter canter teaches the rider to control her horse, and it teaches the horse to be controlled by the rider. If you can do a counter canter with quality, then you have significant control of your horse. It is a springboard for the high-level canter movements in the horse's future training.
Developing your horse's counter canter can and will help you in all aspects of your riding and it's not just for Grand Prix horses/riders. Anyone from the 2'6" hunter to the 4'6" jumper will benefit from this underused tool. Whether it's keeping your horse balanced to a jump or developing flying lead changes, counter cantering is a great supplement to your usual training program.

Talk to you soon,