Canter Cues

What cue do you use to ask for the canter? I’ve ridden several different disciplines and everyone seems to have their own way of asking. The most common two I’ve come across are outside leg/inside rein and outside leg/outside rein. Now… technically I understand why both would be used. The inside rein to ask for correct bend, just like we do when we teach horses to canter while bitting and lunging. The outside rein makes sense to set them up correctly and “force” (I use that term lightly) them to chose the correct lead. I ask this because in my limited time with morgans, it seems that most of them I have ridden work best with the outside/outside cue. Every horse I have started, I’ve taught to work from the inside rein and outside leg, because I do alot of circle work when they’re first started. Am I shooting myself in the foot when it comes time to market these horses?
When looking at horses, how do you prefer they canter off? Does it matter across disciplines? What about as far as equitation horses go?

2 Responses to Canter Cues

  1. Scottfield03 says:

    There is WAY more to this answer than what I am going to take the time to type right now, so the shortest explaination I can give that works for me is this: I start asking my horses to canter in a turn, with outside leg, but I ask them to stay straight in the bridle, and let the turn help them get the correct lead. Once they are doing that very well both ways, I graduate to huge figure eights with a walk through the center that turns into a change of lead in the center. Again, I ask them to stay straight in the bridle, and use leg and body weight only to dictate which lead. It isn’t until they can recognize the lead easily from leg alone, from the center, that I graduate to actually cantering all the way around the ring. This approach is WAY different than what is standard, but a good number of the horses I train are getting ready for Ammy’s and Jr Ex, and I recognize that the inside/outside rein signal will probably change throughout a horse’s career depending on the trainer/rider they are with. This way, my horses can get the correct lead off the leg alone, and will then hopefully be successful regardless of which rein each rider/trainer they end up with prefers. This also really helps when equitating a horse and working on straight line lead changes.

    Most of the horses I get in from other barns know outside leg, outside rein signal. I have had a few, however that are inside leg AND inside rein. And we wonder why so many miss leads. Go figure. :-) Just as Playmor Bill requests a standard signal for parking out, I think this would be another great thing to standardize to make it easier for horses to transistion through different barns and owners.

    There are a million ways to teach a horse to canter well. This is just the way that works best for me. There are lots and lots of trainers who do it differently with great success.

  2. Thanks for your explanation. Thats pretty much the route I was headed, using the turns and mostly leg cues.

Leave a Reply