How to Ruin A Lengthening

Do you find yourself trying to teach your young horse a lengthen his stride into an off balance canter, only to have him strike off in a powerful medium trot? How disappointing. Thankfully, this blog post will show you how to start teaching your young horse a lengthened trot, only to totally screw up his balance and push him into a canter instead. All in just 5 easy steps!

Step 1: Turn onto the diagonal in the trot, preferably dumping your horse onto his inside shoulder in the process.
All weight on inside front. Perfect.
Step 2: Lean forward to encourage your horse to move forward. Imagine removing your butt from the saddle will help him lighten his hind end and put all his weight on his forehand.
Allowing your lower leg to swing back here will set you up for the following exercise.
Step 3: Once your horse moves forward, continue pushing him forward without supporting him with a half halt and strong core. Ensure your leg continues to stay too far back and dug into his sides. If possible, make your contact feel like 45lbs of dead fish hanging on the reins.
You'll know you have this step right when your horse feels like he is trotting sharply down a steep hillside.
Step 4: Once your horse completely loses his balance, he will tip forward and begin cantering with his hind legs in the air. During this moment, you will want to put your weight back into the saddle so his hind legs don't float away.
Taking your legs off in surprise and slamming your butt into the saddle without releasing the reins is always the right reaction.
Step 5: Sit up and ride that flat and rushing canter off into the sunset. Do not attempt to half halt or improve this gait, you'll probably totally fail at that, too.
Flat and hollow cantering perfection.
Sigh. Sometimes knowing better doesn't translate into better riding. This failed lengthening attempt proves that I make my fair share (and more, haha) of dumb riding mistakes. Thank god my horse has a stunning tail and a sense of humor I can admire, even when the movement itself is a catastrophe.

Anyone else failing at something this week?


  1. Yep that sounds about right !

  2. Failing... I dumped a lot of the waste toner cartridge on the floor this morning and somehow managed to also break the door to the machine where the thing is supposed to live. Good times.

  3. LOLOL this made me laugh. I tend to lean waaaaay far back and chuck my hands at them, but only after completing step 1

  4. You mean this isn't how you do it???

  5. But your outfit is on point so all is forgiven.

  6. This past weekend during a lesson Tris offered a pissed off, mostly hand-gallop canter in response to my "please pick up your feet in the trot" request. We did four way too fast circuits of the indoor with me trying to do something with it and him only like 15% in control before the trainer said "You know you're driving him really hard with your seat, right?" I relaxed my seat, and he eased back instantly into a lovely, sprightly, forward canter. Sigh.

  7. Dumping your horse on the forehand is always the answer honestly.


    Well I dunno bitch have you tried releasing the death grip on the left one?

  9. OMG this made me laugh!! But uh you do not suck at riding. All I see is a pony losing his balance which is TOTALLY NORMAL!!


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