COUNTER CANTER is a great way for your horse to develop straightness and collection, and ultimately it improves the true canter and your horse’s over all balance as well.
In canter, there is always a leading leg and the horse is normally naturally positioned slightly through his body toward that leading leg, which defines the “inside” of the horse. So in canter, there is always an inside and an outside. That inside hind leg naturally carries more weight, because it steps further in under the horse’s body. In counter canter, we’re trying to help the outside hind leg to step up under the horse’s body, and thereby encouraging it to carry more weight – and develop balance. The rider’s half halts on the outside aids help to balance the weight-bearing of the horse’s hind legs, and counter canter is one of few exercises that allows the rider to activate and engage the outside hind directly.
As in the true canter, the inside leg should be on the girth and the outside behind the girth. Make sure your horse is supple on the inside rein, allowing you to stretch and elastically fill up the outside rein. Then you will be able to use it and lead the shoulders in the new direction as needed. Avoid to start the counter canter on the full diagonal. It’s followed by a sharp turn and will most likely make your horse break down to trot or rush of. Also allow your horse to cut the corners in the beginning, to help him stay in balance on a smooth line.
Caruso and Allan working hard here at the moment!