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Horses tend to have a stonger and a weaker side, just as we are right handed or left handed. This can influence which canter lead your horse finds easier or more difficult to pick up. Many horses have one side that tends to be difficult for them, and while having the horse balanced and carrying himself properly are key to consistently getting a correct inside lead, there is another thing your horse needs to know that many horses do not. In today’s video, I tell you what the one thing is that I have found is the first step to getting the correct lead, as well as share a few other tips that will help your horse understand what you want when you ask for an inside canter lead.

Hit play to watch the video, then leave a comment with any questions you may have.


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18 Responses

  1. I own Gretel and Callie has worked miracles with her! I have never been able to find a trainer who was able to teach Gretel to pick up her right lead and Callie has done it quickly and easily!! Just wish I had started lessons/training with Callie years ago!

  2. Thank you, Callie! This reaffirms everything my coach has been instructing me to do with my horse. I look forward to viewing your next video.

  3. Thank you Callie! My OTTB mare struggles with the right lead. I tried from the ground applying pressure like you showed in the video and your assessment was spot on! It took a bit longer for her to move away from the pressure on the right side. It was an “ah ha!” moment. We then worked on it from the saddle at a halt and walk. What a difference! I really took the chance and then asked for canter. After two attempts we got it…and it was calm! I then followed it up with some haunches in and leg yielding…definitely an awesome ride! Thank you for the videos! You have given me access to quality coaching when my trainer cannot be with me all the time! And you explain everything so clearly, leaving nothing unanswered. I am so glad I came across your blog!

  4. No one has ever explained to me why we use the outside leg to cue the canter lead. Never, ever! My mare is pretty forward and often picks up the canter so easily that I don’t get a chance to use the aids. And guess what happens? We get the wrong lead. I’ve made a resolution to always organize first and always use the outside leg aid. I actually tried this yesterday in the midst of our canter and we got the correct lead first try. Yea!!!

  5. Thanks so much for this information. The demonstration is so helpful and the explanation of the “why” is too!

  6. Hi, tanks for the explanation of the need of the movement of hipp in at canter. However I have a question. How do the horse or i separate the canter command from the command haunches in? / Stina

    1. Hi Stina,

      Great question! It is amazing how well our horses learn to discern between cues that can seem to be similiar. The biggest difference would be the movement in the rest of the rider’s body, there is the thought of “forward” for canter vs “hold” for haunches in. I say a thought because it literally is a thought. Too much movement in our body and it can affect the horse’s balance, but they can feel even slight weight shifts. For young horses, or if I sense confusion, I will also add the voice cue for canter.

  7. Best explanation for correcting and setting up for the lead I have seen
    I will re-review this video often.

  8. My riding instructor and i ate working on inner thigh sgsi st the saddle and creating a better leg position. The “kneeling down” theory will be most helpful for me to envision to correct my probkem.
    The other helpful video was “working on the correct canter lead”. Perfect timing for me.
    Janet Johnson, TN
    Thank you Callie

  9. Help! My left lead canter is beautiful. Have struggled a bit going on the right lead canter but had some great success. I’m now at a complete dilemma! My horse will totally refuse or just quit the right lead, at the time with severe head tossing . I become completely out of sink and struggle to keep the rhythm with my horse. I canceled showing this weekend , myself and my trainer are a standstill. I feel if this isn’t fixable I’ll no longer be able to ride him?

    1. Hi Karen – is your horse able to pick up the right lead on the lunge line? Starting on the lunge line where he doesn’t have a rider to balanced is a good place to start conditioning him to hold the right lead canter. It may also be worth having a veterinarian examine him since there is also an element of head tossing – or possibly have saddle fit looked over!

      -Julia Burdy, CRK Training Community Manager

  10. Ma’m, I write to praise your work. Your videos are the best I have seen. I hope you have a very large audience. Thank you for all the kids who want to really learn about riding.

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