Does your horse come above the bit when you make a canter transition?

Does your horse come above the bit, toss his head or climb with his head and neck into every canter transition? If your answer is yes, you should ask yourself the following questions.
Picking up the canter on the bit is a big issue for a lot of riders. In this article, I'll give you some questions you should try to answer. You MAY find the ROOT of the problem!

There is a reason that your horse displays this behavior. Don’t look at the symptom. Get to the root of the problem. The SYMPTOM is that your horse comes off the bit in the transition. The CAUSE lies in one of these questions.

This list of questions deals with training and rider issues, not physical or external issues. Those questions come in the next article.

1. Is my horse forward enough before I ask for the canter?

2. Is my horse accepting a true connecting aid before I ask for the canter?

3. Is my horse truly going toward the outside rein while the flexion to the inside is maintained?

4. Am I stopping him with too much inside rein during the depart?

5. Am I following the motion of the neck into the depart with my arms during the depart?

6. Am I following with my seat from back to front during the transition?

7. Is climbing above the bit a habit now? Do I need to exaggerate any of the above things to get him over the hump of climbing.

8. Is my horse straight?

9. Is my horse leaning on my inside leg?

10. Is my horse laterally supple before you ask for the canter?

11. Is my horse under himself with the hind leg before you ask?

12. Is my horse in front of my leg?

13. Is your timing with in the stride correct for picking up the canter?

These questions and your answers may help you find the real cause of your troubles. If you are not sure of the answers, try to find a trainer or contact a reputable professional to help you! Feel free to contact me at or

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Comment by Ruth Hogan Poulsen on January 10, 2010 at 7:05am
your welcome, let me know how it goes Ruth
Comment by Ansioso on January 10, 2010 at 4:16am
Thank you! This is something I have always had a problem with (so, most likely rider fault...) and this is really helpful for me. Can't wait to try tomorrow.

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