Engaging the Hindquarters - At the Canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-25-2009, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Engaging the Hindquarters - At the Canter

Beau will do it at the trot, and will step underneath himself pretty nicely at the walk. However, the canter is a whoooole different story. How do I ask him to engage his hindquarters and lift off the forehand at the canter?

We've been doing a lot of trot-canter-trot transitions, and occasionally walk-canter-trot. He doesn't quite understand the whole supporting outside rein at the canter yet, but I have been keeping that consistent at least. However, when I do that, the canter gets choppy, and he breaks every few steps down to the trot, no matter how much leg/seat I cue him with. He's only really "gotten" it about 3-4 times.

What else should I be doing?

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Last edited by Ne0n Zero; 09-25-2009 at 08:47 PM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-25-2009, 09:23 PM
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when he brakes to the trot the most important thing is: keep your outside rein, if you push your hands forward and kick him on he will realize that is how to get away from the pressure. If you feel him slow to trot give him a kick. If he is being notty by doing that and all you do is let him go down the trot then nicely ask himm up again he will use that all the time and just ignore you. I am assuming he is doing this because he is being notty and not accepting and pressure and trying to get out of work. Make sure it is not because of a health or pain problem first, but I doubt it is. :) hope this helps

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post #3 of 12 Old 09-25-2009, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ridergirl23 View Post
when he brakes to the trot the most important thing is: keep your outside rein, if you push your hands forward and kick him on he will realize that is how to get away from the pressure. If you feel him slow to trot give him a kick. If he is being notty by doing that and all you do is let him go down the trot then nicely ask himm up again he will use that all the time and just ignore you. I am assuming he is doing this because he is being notty and not accepting and pressure and trying to get out of work. Make sure it is not because of a health or pain problem first, but I doubt it is. :) hope this helps
Well yeah, every time he broke down to the trot I wouldn't let him take even two steps before he was back up to the canter again. That's unacceptable. He's done it before longer than that so I'm thinking he was just a bit confused.

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Last edited by Ne0n Zero; 09-25-2009 at 10:10 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-25-2009, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Adding onto that ^ (time limit expired)

He's done it before longer than that so I'm thinking he was just a bit confused.

Also. Once I get a job, my friend and I will be trailering our horses and getting Dressage lessons once a month from a USDF gold medalist about 20 minutes away from where Beau is boarded. According to my friend, she loves giving "homework" (yay!) and from what I have heard/seen, she teaches Dressage the proper way. As in, work from behind and leave the face alone. :D :D :D

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post #5 of 12 Old 09-26-2009, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone else? I know there are some hardcore dressage people on here.

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post #6 of 12 Old 09-27-2009, 12:19 AM
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It is quite difficult to say without a video what is going wrong. But judging from your explanation I would chalk it up to unbalance and inexperience. When my horse was younger, he went through a phase of having an extremely difficult time carrying the canter. It is just a phase. I would recommend lunging with a surcingle and side reins on a large circle (at least 20m in diameter). He is going to cross-canter, swap leads, etc.. just keep bringing him down to trot and re-aiding for canter.
As far as under saddle, always keep the training scale in mind and just be really patient about it. Lessons are always a good idea as well.
Good luck!
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-27-2009, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Well I didn't try lunging yet, but we worked on lots of transitions, keeping on a 20m circle (somewhere around there) the whole time. Also worked lots of half halts. Once he understood what I was asking, BINGO. I got him to round up at the canter for about 3-4 strides. ^_____^
I am very very happy with this, and did not push him to go further because I know his muscles aren't used to it yet. I did have him do it both ways about twice, and ended on that note.
GREAT day of riding. So proud of my boy. <3

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post #8 of 12 Old 09-27-2009, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ne0n Zero View Post
Well yeah, every time he broke down to the trot I wouldn't let him take even two steps before he was back up to the canter again. That's unacceptable.
Disagree here. Putting the horse to the canter right away is NOT always the thing to do.

A good canter can only be achieved from a good balanced gait be it walk or trot. To rush the horse back is a far worse sin that the original break of gait in the first place.

We were just working on this with one of my students and after a break the trot work was aimed in balancing and suppling the horse by multiple turns and bends and flexions and waiting for the horse to come 'right" and then and only then asking for the next canter.

Good canters come from good walks or trots. Patience is the key.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-27-2009, 08:44 PM
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Didn't read all the replies yet. Have you tried very frequent walk/canter transitions? Frequently to the point of every 10 strides or so.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-27-2009, 09:32 PM
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Agree wholeheartedly with Anabel. Lunging would be a good way to go, it will let him work out his own balance in canter, rather than having to carry your weight too, and unless you're an amazing rider you're not going to be in perfect balance so he will be feeling that too.

I use ALOT of counter canter to improve the canter, once he's more balanced I'd introduce a little bit of counter canter. Just start to canter around the outside track, then ride a very shallow, shallow loop. He will be in counter canter for a few strides as you return to the track. As he gets better, you can work on leg yielding back to the track and using steeper loops, as well as figure of 8's.
I LOVE counter canter, absolutely swear by it for improving the canter as the horse just cannot physically 'fake' the canter, so when you go back to true canter he will be in better balance and using his hind legs so much more effectively, as well as being far lighter in front.
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