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(not with a just broken four year old) is to use different size circles to establish the canter transition. Istart with a 20 metre circle and then spiral into a 10 metre circle inside that 20 metre circle and then once you have picked up canter return to your 20 metre circle. Iwould avoid asking for it down the long side in a straight line as this just encourages the horse to rush. On a circle it again helps to keep the hind leg under the horse, so they can push up into the canter transition and should in turn help to stop them running into it and being unbalanced.


My horse really rushes into the canter transitions on both reins. What can Ido to try improve this?

With this the horses balance is key. A canter transition often shows up if a horse is unbalanced or a bit weak. You need a horse to be working correctly over the back before you ask for this transition. A good way to test and improve this is to do lots of trot walk, walk trot transitions, which in turn helps to establish a correct half halt. This is needed when preparing for a smooth canter transition as it helps the connection and also encourages the horse to keep its hind leg underneath them. What Iwould do with an older horse

I have alovely young jumping horse, but he is incredibly spooky at any type of filler. How can Ihelp

him overcome this? I can really relate to this question, as my now 7yr old homebred Total Darkness (Ted), is the most spooky horse Ihave ever had (and Ihave had a couple!) What Ifound it all came down to, was repetition and when the horse is confident keep changing and repeating. With Ted we kept everything really small for a long time. We only thought about putting the fences up once I felt that he was 100% confident. When riding into the filler, I use a lot of leg and lots of praise, but by keeping it small, they can make a mistake and not scare themselves. With Ted even if he stopped and dried up on me because he was spooking so much Iwould always make him go, even from a standstill, as the jumps were small enough to allow me to do this. For me it is a vital part of their training that you never let them turn away from a fence. Once you feel established over the smaller

obstacles then introduce changes, even if it is just the poles on the ground. Iwould then go to lots of different venues training and make sure that they see every sort

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of filler. The more they can be exposed to the better. Then when you feel ready to head out competing, make sure you have a really good connection between the leg and the hand, so the horse feels like you are holding their hand. This should give them the security they need to overcome a scary obstacle. A long rein and no leg gives no encouragement to go forward over something spooky. For me it is all about having that good connection which in turn should give the horse confidence to take on any fence. Perseverance is key and for me with Ted it has been totally worth it!

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