Canter Aid - Inside vs. Outside Leg

[QUOTE=lidador;7630577]I was also taught that it should be done with the inside hip b/c of flying changes/tempis (not that I am adept at either, but can do killer halt or walk/canter transitions with just the hip at least). Additionally, I’ve been told that lifting the inside hip gives the inside shoulder room to lift and the inside hind room to reach under in the transition – if you pitch your body forward, this prevents the horse from lifting his front end, so it’s something to be careful about when learning to do the transition this way.

The coach I learned the most from gave me this perspective on leg aids:
Generally (for a horse that’s already well responsive to driving aids), the inside (lower) leg is for driving (within a gait, around a bend, as part of a half-halt, etc) and the outside (lower) leg should only be for passively supporting the hind end (i.e. to keep it from swinging out).

As HollyGoLightly said, driving with the outside by itself will push the haunches in, often at the expense of your forward momentum and engagement of the inside hind.

In the context of a canter transition, if you need to ask for a little curving line as part of the preparation for the transition (e.g. to ensure the correct lead), then you should indeed use the combo of driving inside, bringing the leg back a little bit outside to support the bend. This combination of aids (precursor to half-halt, really) are something you may want to do in other instances though, so it could be confusing for the horse if sometimes you mean canter and sometimes not. So among the other reasons given, for clarity’s sake, the actual cue for the transition should be something other than inside leg/outside leg.

Once the horse learns the cue from the seat and is able to maintain reasonable straightness, the inside/outside curving line business can be reduced to genuine half-halts to engage the inside hind leg, and then the hip really becomes a nice clear (to the horse) invisible (to everyone else) aid.

In short: biomechanics of the transition, clarity, straightness, riding from back to front. (All of which must be important for changes and tempis.)[/QUOTE]

Yes Ma’am!!! :yes:

[QUOTE=pryme_thyme;7631329]I think it is all a preference. Plus what buttons do you want to have? Are you going to be competing GP levels?

IMO there is no right/wrong way to train aids. There are those that make more sense but once the horse learns what each aid means it doesn’t matter which way you put it as long as it is comfortable, quiet and works effectively.

I will always use my outside leg to cue canter. Though, it is just a slight shift in weight and slight slide back with the leg.
I do however, for all transitions, first apply a little inside leg at the girth. I feel this give the horse a warning to listen for something so you get a smooth transition and it asks the inside hind to step a bit more under for a good push.[/QUOTE]

Because we’re dealing with dressage. Maybe we don’t want to get to GP but we do want our horse straight. One of the straightening exercises is Haunches-In. How many riders have you seen ask for H/I, and get canter. That’s because they never trained the horse to listen to the inside leg, and inside hip lift.

And Yes, H/I is a straightening exercise, not just something we learn because it’s on the Second 2 test. :wink:

I was also told that the inside leg is the driving leg (and therefore the canter cue leg). The outside leg sweeps back but does not apply pressure. I was told that if using an outside leg to cue for canter, you have a hard time teaching the horse half pass and similar movements because those also require outside leg pressure.

Not only is about the buttons that YOU may want, but you need to keep in mind the intentions for your horse as well. If you plan to keep your horse forever, and never sell it, then by all means, use and train the cues you want. But if you are starting horses, or bringing up something with the purpose of resale, best to start them off correctly for the market you are steering the horse towards.

Thank you so much for the input!!

It’s funny- when I was taught to use the outside leg, my trainers explanation was that the canter stride strikes off with the inside hind, so you push the hip in to set that up. But my current instructor likes to have me leg yield to the OUTSIDE right before the depart. Now that I think about it the latter makes more sense because the leg on the outside is the one that actually steps under more when you yield…and yielding to the inside might push his balance in enough that he takes the right lead, but by that same token it makes him unbalanced and unable to reach under himself.
Does that make sense to anyone else? XD

Following this thread.

My horse is actually at a barrel racing trainer right now, and he asks for the canter with the inside leg. I am having a lesson on Monday an will ask him why.

[QUOTE=zaparaquah;7631992]Thank you so much for the input!!

It’s funny- when I was taught to use the outside leg, my trainers explanation was that the canter stride strikes off with the inside hind, so you push the hip in to set that up. But my current instructor likes to have me leg yield to the OUTSIDE right before the depart. Now that I think about it the latter makes more sense because the leg on the outside is the one that actually steps under more when you yield…and yielding to the inside might push his balance in enough that he takes the right lead, but by that same token it makes him unbalanced and unable to reach under himself.
Does that make sense to anyone else? XD[/QUOTE]

I like your critical thinking! I say this without knowing your situation or your horse, but it sounds like you are both still learning how to connect to the outside rein, so she is probably having you leg yield first so that you are on the outside rein before you ask for the canter and then into the canter transition.

try getting a horse who is to be an eventer but was initially trained by a pure dressage rider. omg
I had the damnedest time getting that horse to pick up a canter whilst out in the field!
I would have to bring him back to a working trot, sit, slide hip, then resume two point. It sucked. lol. took me some time but he finally figured out how to listed to layman’s aids.

I always start my kids with the outside leg. It’s sooo obvious to them and can be done in or out of the saddle.
Then as they learn to use themselves and be straight–and more lateral work is used I transition them over to the inside leg.
The transition has always been super easy and almost natural.

When I was a kid back in the dark ages, seemed like all the lesson horses (hunter/jumper) would pick up a canter just with the aid from the inside hip. In my more recent stint with Western, the well-schooled Western horses would do it, too.

Wow, I had always heard about using the inside aids for canter cues but I never understood what people meant. People would talk about pushing with their inside leg and I was always :confused: because how does that create fewer problems than using the outside leg? After all you use inside leg for s/i, s/f, circles, etc. etc. etc…but lifting the inside hip makes SO much more sense! Now I’m itching to try it when I ride tomorrow.

Last time I tried the cue with the inside hip, it felt really weird. But I can see from reading this thread why a lot of people like to do it this way.

Hmmm. I close my inside leg a bit more (which slightly lightens my inside seatbone) and use both legs. Emphasis on inside. I always used my outside leg for my other horses and I successfully trained both of them through the “2s”. My young horse however is a gumby with uber long legs and it is difficult to keep her body parts together. Inside leg works great as it stabilizes her inside shoulder. When she pushes into the canter with the outside hind it helps her lift her shoulders into the canter rather than falling on her inside shoulder. My outside leg keeps the outside hind under in the strikeoff.

That actually makes lots of sense! My background is mostly western/bridleless so I’m still getting the hang of using my reins and contact properly.