The horse I am leasing, Griffin, has not been cantered by his owner. He is a 10 year old warmblood cross (probably draft) palomino. I started riding him in August and started cantering with him soon after. The first couple times he just acted like he had never been asked before. The next couple times he kinda cantered. Then he started just blasting into a canter. After a few strides I can get him back into a decent canter. He only lasts a couple 20 meter circles.
To stop the blast-o-canter I tried barely giving him any leg aids at all. He may have been a bit better. Then he started bucking. The second time my trainer said he started on the wrong lead and switched his front then when he tried to do a flying change it turned into a bucking flying change. She thinks it is like he is afraid of the canter aid and is running away from it. We have jumped him a bit, which he loves, and he canters very well after the jumps.
Lately I have been distracted by working with him on staying calm with all the windy weather and while other horses are also working in the arena. The last couple weeks I have been riding him alone in the arena so he has been calm again so I tried cantering again. Same thing - blast-o-canter the first few strides then bucking and hopping with his back arched like a halloween cat. Not really kicking too much but he is in the air. I put my heels down further and sit up straighter and back a bit and stay on.
What do I do to get him to stop blasting? and bucking? Why is he so scared at first?
P.S. I never use a whip. He doesn't like them and does well without it. He also seems to read my mind when I am rounding a corner and about to ask him to do a figure eight he just goes into it. He is either very sensitive to my shifting weight and the turn of my head or has some higher level training. We don't know his history before the last 3 years or so.