How do I ride the canter loop in First Level Test 3?

Here’s the scoop:

1. The geometry is exactly the same as it is for the training test three trot loop – Be sure to go in the corner before H and after K; the loop itself should be symmetrical like a bell curve; the bend of the figure should change each time you’re crossing the quarter line.

2. The horse needs to stay in his normal alignment with a slight bend in the direction of the lead throughout. On the middle part of the loop, do not change his positioning towards the direction you’re turning.

3. The keys to a successful loop are in not chasing him forward, not letting him speed up, and not letting him hang on your hand.

4. Keep him looking to the inside (just a little) and direct him back out to the track with your inside knee/thigh/calf, turning your belt buckle towards the direction you want his withers to turn, and slightly leading him with the outside rein. Don’t let your body get stuck – maintain the rhythm of the canter with your hips, inside seat bone forward.

5. The way to avoid him hanging is to remember to make frequent half halts, rocking him off his outside shoulder and inviting him to sit more on his inside hindleg. It should feel like putting the weight from his outside shoulder into your inside hip pocket. The half halts you make begin in your torso supported by your lower leg. Don’t just tug on him with your hand. Remember to ride him against a momentarily “non-allowing ” hand.

6. During the canter, you should feel that he is listening enough that you could make a balanced canter to walk or walk back to canter any time during the movement.

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