Once you begin to master the walk pirouettes, the canter pirouettes begin to appear, beginning with the half pirouette in Prix St George, and moving on to the full pirouette in Intermediate I.
Batialo and I just started Intermediate I level, and have been working a lot on keeping control before during and after the canter pirouette.
The key to the canter pirouette is actually the ability to collect the canter, or canter on the spot, without losing the rhythm or the elastic contact with the horse’s mouth. Once you can collect the canter, canter squares are a great exercise to use to help you learn to turn the horse around his haunches without losing the control of the outside shoulder. The things to keep in mind are… As I collect the canter does my horse lose the contact? Does he change the rhythm? Do I keep control of the outside shoulder as we begin the turn? Do I keep my seat back or do I rock forward and try to help the horse by overriding? Once you can successfully carry out the checklist of things to do or not do before a pirouette, the pirouette is just a small circle around the haunches. Often people think of it as a travers circle, but in actual fact it is about bringing the shoulders of the horse around the engaged hind of the horse, and once you can do this with control, you will have it! 🙂