Exercises to improve the canter - Page 3 - The Horse Forum

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post #21 of 32 Old 01-08-2013, 11:38 PM
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I know this thread is in the dressage forum, however, sometime ago Kayty suggested the spiral in and out to me for my somewhat wonky lope! Our lope has improved tenfold..... the only issue is my horse is a Reiner and if the spiral gets too tight in the middle he enters an awesome spin!!!! Definitely a very useful exercise!
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post #22 of 32 Old 01-08-2013, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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I know this thread is in the dressage forum, however, sometime ago Kayty suggested the spiral in and out to me for my somewhat wonky lope! Our lope has improved tenfold..... the only issue is my horse is a Reiner and if the spiral gets too tight in the middle he enters an awesome spin!!!! Definitely a very useful exercise!
Doesn't matter that it's Dressage - you just spin instead of riding into a working pirouette if the horse is established enough

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post #23 of 32 Old 01-08-2013, 11:46 PM
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We are beginning leg-yields at canter. Now that's an awkward exercise for us!

Lol I've just started leg-yields at the trot I know that feeling. :P Can't even imagine at a canter.

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post #24 of 32 Old 01-08-2013, 11:55 PM
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Doesn't matter that it's Dressage - you just spin instead of riding into a working pirouette if the horse is established enough
Actually it's a very good exercise for 'unsticking the spin' as they have a forward entry and it has a really nice smooth cadenced feel to it when you enter.....I do it when I feel him 'bunching up'......and then I discovered counter arcing also to straighten a horse that bends too much in the spin.........oh sooooo many buttons to use!!
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post #25 of 32 Old 01-09-2013, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Once again, interesting similarities between training methods between Dressage and Reining ;)
In the walk and canter pirouettes, if I feel that I'm losing the outside shoulder, suppleness etc. I find it greatly beneficial to ride the movement as leg yield with slight counter flexion, then back into correction flexion, back to counter etc. Then ride out back to a 20m circle and try the movement again in correct bend and flexion.
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post #26 of 32 Old 01-09-2013, 12:05 AM
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Interesting how that works isn't it! I'd love to go have some dressage lessons on my horse. Hmmm perhaps I should buy a used dressage saddle and pull the snaffle out, just for giggles?
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post #27 of 32 Old 01-09-2013, 12:30 AM
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Great thread! I really appreciate all the input everyone has contributed. Awesome info. Good thing this thread has been resurrected XD.

Anyone know of any things to do on the ground that might help the canter (well, all gaits, really)? Strengthening, flexibility or balance exercise suggestions for green horses would be greatly appreciated!
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post #28 of 32 Old 01-09-2013, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
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JJ, welcome to the thread :)

Canter is something that really needs to be worked on through lunging and saddle work, not stretches and what not on the ground.
Depending on what you mean by green horse (breaker, green broken, green as in older but not done much etc etc), I would be starting with work on the lunge, preferably with side reins or double lunge reins if you know how to long rein. This gives the horse a contact to work into as opposed to lunging willy nilly around with no contact allowing the shoulders to drop and back to hollow.
Lots of transitions between all gaits, and within gaits.

Under saddle, same deal, lots of transitions, especially within gaits which will greatly build up balance and strength behind. Changes of rein, leg yield and shoulder in exercises, circles of varying sizes etc. It will all help the canter.
To introduce the canter to horse that struggle with it a little, I'd use the spiralling exercise that I described earlier. It really helps to establish that basic connection between inside leg and outside rein, the horse is already in correct bend, around the inside leg, so all you need to do is pop your leg back to get the canter which will be nicely set up.
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post #29 of 32 Old 01-09-2013, 03:59 AM
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Thanks Kayty. By "green" I mean recently started under saddle. We won't be doing cantering for a while yet, but I'm trying to take special consideration in regards to how training a horse "from the start" versus doing refining work on a more experienced horse (which is where most of my experience lies). I want her to develop correctly physically, and have good habits and experiences. I'm really trying to be consistent and careful, so I don't have to go back later and fix "holes" in her schooling. I've done the spiraling exercise in trot before with other (trained) horses, and I look forward to trying it in canter when the time comes. Thanks for the suggestion!
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post #30 of 32 Old 01-10-2013, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by JaphyJaphy View Post
Thanks Kayty. By "green" I mean recently started under saddle. We won't be doing cantering for a while yet, but I'm trying to take special consideration in regards to how training a horse "from the start" versus doing refining work on a more experienced horse (which is where most of my experience lies). I want her to develop correctly physically, and have good habits and experiences. I'm really trying to be consistent and careful, so I don't have to go back later and fix "holes" in her schooling. I've done the spiraling exercise in trot before with other (trained) horses, and I look forward to trying it in canter when the time comes. Thanks for the suggestion!

Be patient! Take as much time as the horse needs. I've seen so many horses rushed through training programs and they just end up having health issues down the road.

I spiral in and out and throw in random transitions throughout the exercise. Seems to help with picking up the correct lead. Now if only we can get that consisent

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