Sometimes I feel like my horse has just two canters. One is slow and puttering, the other is powerful but fast. The first is easy to sit, but with no steering and no lead change. The second is like going into war, and it’s fun, but we aren’t doing the jumpers. With the first canter, we tend to chip and break gait to a trot. With the second, we nail it sometimes but also leave long very often, and break gait into a hand gallop, especially going into corners to ask for a lead change.
When I try to slow down the powerful canter with half halts, my horse drops his head and I guess “gets round.” I still have contact, so I wouldn’t say he’s behind the bit, but it feels like he’s more likely to do a half pass than canter a course. There is a lot of lift and bounce in his stride but his head is too low.
He isn’t a traditional hunter and is small. His stride is not 12 ft. But we are only jumping 2ft courses. We have our first rated show coming up and I want him to do well. I feel like there is a special perfect canter I haven’t unlocked and don’t know how to ask for.