Now Train the Canter Pirouette
When the walk pirouette is well confirmed, I make it a bit quicker, and then even quicker. I tap him with the whip and ask for canter. I want just one jump of canter pirouette, and the moment my horse does it, I say, “Oh! Good!” and then I walk out of it and give him a break. Soon my horse knows that if I go into pirouette in walk and I start to make him quicker, he knows I will ask for canter. Then he knows he will get a break and I will praise him. As soon as he canters, I stop and praise him. I want only one jump of canter.
When the horse is confirmed in taking one balanced stride of canter pirouette, I take the next step. I say to my horse, “I didn’t see the first jump. Can you give me one more jump?” Slowly the horse learns to stay on the spot and take one, two and then three steps of canter pirouette. Just as you don’t start with 15 one-tempis, or 15 piaffe steps, it’s the same with the pirouette. I’m happy if I get one stride, then two, then three strides that are balanced. Remember what he has learned from the walk pirouettes—that he can make a stride bigger, smaller, quicker or slower. When you have all those skills, you can do your pirouette from a normal collected canter because the horse understands exactly what you want.