endless circles – figuring out the canter pirouette

My biggest struggle moving up to PSG has been the canter pirouette.  Monte prefers 2’s over 3’s & 4’s, he has pretty trot extensions, CAN do a nice walk pirouette and understands, at least, what I’m asking for when schooling piaffe/passage. The canter pirouettes though, we’ve both had a mental block with.  Maybe my mental block created his.

It’s something I’ve introduced then left alone for a while on numerous occasions, felt like maybe we’re getting it but then again, who am I, and shouldn’t I have someone coaching me with this?

The “normal” way of starting them aka the way I’ve been taught by watching and discussing, is to canter on a square, and it worked to some extent with me, but I had trouble turning my quarter turn into a half turn.  Monte could get the quarter turn and occasionally the half, but more often than not, he’d do what felt like falling on the forehand and swinging his hind end around – more so to the right than left.  Left we had better control with.

Like any broke horseman, I went to youtube to see if someone could give me a better explanation and I could see more of what we needed by watching horses successfully pirouette.  And luckily, I came across this video.

The concept of the triangle is novel to me, and yes, while I’m still aware that the requirement is still turning in an angle, the progression from 1/3 to 1/4 to 1/2 was so simple and came so easily, natural almost.  It set up expectations and gave you room to both progress and digress, whatever was needed.

I think that most importantly, it gave me a process.  With no coach yelling at me on a regular basis, it keeps me from freewheeling around and deciding that now is a great time to try for my half pirouette.  When I do that, I’m quickly reminded that I shouldn’t have, particularly because we’re still in the developing canter pirouette phase, not the improving the full pirouette phase.

I circle, go for my obtuse pirouette, come around and pirouette down the centerline, then come down the diagonal and return to H.  EZPZ.

Now we progress to being comfortable in super collected canter, maintaining our rhythm and balance and the full pirouette.

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