Compressing the Canter

This past weekend was awesome (although verging on hot!) weather in DFW, TX, so of course I spent most of my time at the barn. My barn’s head trainer/owner (and R judge), Stacie, was back from a horse show in Tennessee, and I was excited to see how felt about our progress compressing the canter.


hunky hanoverian compressing the canter


Our lesson was really great! All the horses had Friday off due to rain, but Rio acted like it was no big thang and went right to work. I have GOT to get better at adding extra leg when I go to shorten his stride though- because as you will see in the video after the first jump,  he will break to the trot if I don’t.

hunky hanoverian compressing the canter
I still can’t find the center of the jumps


Believe me, I am well aware that any form of collection necessitates MORE leg, but sometimes my brain is not aware of that fact, STILL. I mean, basic principle and all, and I have been riding my entire life, but I still forget sometimes. This infuriates me to no end lol. Thankfully, Rio is a forgiving soul, and he goes right back to work as soon as I am done spacing it and I put my leg on again.



hunky hanoverian compressing the canter


Other then forgetting a critical component of riding, everything else seemed to click. I was able to find the closer distance without panicking and bracing. Rio is understanding the soft add really well, and I actually relax 2 strides out when I see it is going to be close, which allows Rio to relax and quietly fit in the add. I’d say that we are “getting it” about 80% of the time now, which is way up from some of our previous lessons.


hunky hanoverian compressing the canter


Stacie was thrilled with our progress, and continued to help us fine tune everything. Our lesson Sunday was really good as well (sorry, no media from Sunday), but I could definitely feel that our stamina was lacking and we started to struggle after the first couple of courses. I struggled to time my aids correctly as I got hot and tired, which resulted in us missing lead changes/changing late behind. As Rio got more tired we were also struggling to shorten the canter, which lead to some rougher distances. We did NAIL a 2 stride that we have only done one other time, so I was super happy with that. I am definitely glad that our show in a few weeks will be indoors and in the A/C though, because we are not acclimated to the heat yet and it definitely shows.


Video from Saturday:



5.5.18 Kelly & Rio from Kelly on Vimeo.



What about y’all? What basic riding principle do you STILL sometimes forget? Is anyone else struggling with the heat yet? Who else rides the struggle bus when it comes to compressing the canter?

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  1. Well, as I was STILL clipping at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, I will say that is the perfect time/temperature to ride now that I’m sweating the second I walk outside. 😉

  2. We are all taught, and all know you need to add more leg to slow down, but it does seem kind of backwards on a basic level. I think that’s why we all struggle with that. Sounds like you guys are really moving along though! Can’t wait to read about your show coming up!

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