Manolo Mendez Dressage

The Canter Pirouette: An Important Milestone in a Rider’s Education

by Manolo Mendez Specialist of in-hand and Classical Equitation with writer Caroline Larrouilh

This article originally appeared in Issue 13 of Baroque Magazine (Nov/Dec 2013, pg. 68)

Article Excerpt: The Canter Pirouette: An Important Milestone in a Rider’s Education

The canter pirouette is a high level movement, a very difficult exercise that requires of our horse: balance, suspension, suppleness, listening and collection. To have a good canter pirouette, cue must have a good…canter.

We must have a pure three beat canter and be able to collect and lengthen our horse’s body without struggle. We must be able to go from gallop to medium to collected, to very collected and out again without our horse losing power, balance or desire.

In the canter pirouette, our horse has to bend through his entire body and spine in the direction of travel for six to eight strides. He turns on a small diameter circle and his inside hind leg acts as a pivot, lifting and dropping in the same hoof print with every stride. His outside hind leg travels on a bigger diameter circle around the inside hind leg. Unlike in the walk pirouette where his outside hind leg crossed over in front of his inside hind leg. in the canter pirouette, the hind legs do not cross since the inside hind foot stays in the same footprint Instead it is the foreleg that crosses.

Our horse’s shoulders travel around his haunches and if we have conditioned him well, his lower back croup and hindquarter muscles act as stabilizers so the base of his neck, chest, withers and neck can rise as he carries equal weight on each shoulder and steps over and over, stride by balanced, even strideRead More on

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