more balanced canter needed - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 05:18 AM Thread Starter
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Cool more balanced canter needed

hey guys, my horse has a lovely trot but can be unbalanced in the canter, any tips ? thanks x
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post #2 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 08:02 AM
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Is he unbalanced on his feet, or are you unbalanced on him?

It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall.
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post #3 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 01:04 PM
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Really need more details to help but most likely a strength issue.
1.) If horse is 4 beating the canter push horse forward until you get 3 beats. Then GRADUALLY shorten stride while keeping horse in the 3 beat canter.
2.) Transition - LOTS of them - walk to canter, trot to canter, canter to walk/trot, and working to medium canter and back. This builds up the strength to carry thes helping horse to be more balanced.
3.) Counter canter. If horse doesn't have the balance to do a 3 loop serpentine in full sized arena (counter canter is center loop) then start introducing a counter canter horse can keep.

That would be: out of short side of arena (C) on right lead go "M" to "X" to "F" OR if that is too steep do "M" to quarter line (between E and B) to "F". Think of leg yield at the canter to get a good counter canter. Once they can do a CC to quarterline move it to X. Once they can do a CC to "X" work on 3 loop serpentine with true canter (20 meter) circles slightly smaller than 20 meters so you can make the counter canter circle (loop) in the middle slightly larger than 20 meters.

Once you can do that easily then make all 3 loops the same size. By that point in time the horse should have a balanced canter unless the rider is making it unbalanced.
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post #4 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 02:48 PM
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My horse's canter is terrible unless her trot is perfect. You say the trot is lovely, but is it balanced or just easy to ride to? When I ride my horse she must be balanced at the halt before we really walk out, she must be balanced at the walk before we trot, and she must be balanced at the trot before she can canter. Not to mention every transition must be, at the risk of being redundant, balanced. So make sure the warm up is really working on getting your horse balanced. Lots of 10 and 20m circles and serpentines at the trot will do wonders, and while you canter, make sure you are sitting upright, balanced, and straight, and you aren't leaning into any turns. Your riding a horse, not a motorcycle. =]

I'm not sure I would counter canter before your horse has a steady canter to begin with. It's possible it could just end up confusing him and making it harder on him. Other than that, I totally agree with Valentina, it's very likely it's a strength issue. Lots of transitions, and maybe lunge work in side reins to get him to move out without having to deal with a possibly hindering rider. That way you are also able to really see him moving.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 03:23 PM
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My horse is young, green, and off the track. So where he has a nice trot and his left lead is progressing nicely, his right lead canter is an unbalanced mess! I laughed at Riccil0ve's comment about the motorcycle, because thats exactly what I am fighting with my horse right now!

If its a stregth problem and he just needs some work, I would get a pair of side reins. Start slowly because he might be a bit confused and work your way up. You'll find as your horse gains more muscle, he'll have some back soreness. Thats because hes exercising his top line.

I also switched to a slow twist bit. My horse pulls me down so hard, and picks up speed, while leaning in to the right. This helps me get him on the bit and gain a little control. But I'd consult your trainer first!

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 03:25 PM
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Oh! Side reins are used with lunging like Riccil0ve said. FYI. I just realized I didnt metion that! Sorry! :)

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 03:29 PM
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i also agree with side reins work. we basically had to teach my horse how to canter correctly from scratch (long story. bad previous training and then he had 6 years off). do some lunge work in side reins to help build up his topline and strength. as for riding, make sure you are balanced and quiet first. then work on having his canter quietly. this means asking for a canter. if he speeds up or gets unbalanced slow back to a trot. he only canters if he does it in a balanced and collected manner. once he can do that around the arena, start adding in circles and bending to help his balance and confidence. slow and steady is the best route here!
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-29-2009, 07:37 AM
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make sure you warm your horse up well. start by asking for halts, once he/she is listening to you and coming back to the halt quickly do some walk trot transitions. it is very important to have the horse listening to you before you ask for anything, especially canter. in the trot work bring your horse straight onto a 20m circle (if you can use a whip, do so and hold it on the side he/she is most likely to drop in or out) and slowly guide the horse in with your outside theigh - because your horse is young drawing your outside leg back and overdoing the bend will make this a lot easier for him/her. only bring the horse onto a 10m cirlce and ride the circle untill your horse becomes relaxed, once he/she has done so bring your inside leg back and tap him/her back out again (if your whip is on the inside give a tap on the hind quaters). repeat this exercise 3-4 times and then go around the school to allow him/her to have a think. return back to a 20m circle and change the bend - by change the bend i mean pretend to be starting a serpetine but only change the rein once and work on the different rein. when you change the bend the horse has to keep thinking, repeat the trot exercise untill the horse relaxes and then again, take him/her around the school for a think. return back onto the 20m circle and push the horse back onto the 10m circle with the outside leg as done before, and ask your horse to step back out onto the 20m circle and ask for canter. the point of this exercise it to create submission into the canter. if the horse picks up the wrong lead, don't worry just bring him/her back to the trot and try again (moving into the circle and back out). if your horse picks up the right lead ride the circle untill he/she submitts. once the horse submitts on the circle go down the straight, if she/he resists bring him/her back onto a circle untill they submitt once again. once the horse submitts on the circle slowly take the circle smaller and push your heels down, squueze the theighs and close your fist asking for trot. repeat this exercise on both reins.

the point of this is to create suppleness and submission. once the horse is submissive the balance will come. keep on working!!
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-29-2009, 08:19 AM
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My horse is green and has an unbalanced canter...for her, it's because she is very heavy on the forehand and just grabs the bit and sticks her head down and just leans into it and pulls!

What my trainer and I are working on is getting her off the forehand, by using transitions down to the trot, then back up again to the canter, and if she leans heavily on the bit and starts pulling me down, she has me ask her to slow down and bring her head back up, and if she doesn't listen she then has me yank up short and quick with one rein, then drop it to make her listen. She's starting to get what I'm saying now...before, I just kept asking for her to slow and it basically turned into a tug of war that I NEVER won, which is why we're going this route now!

Best of luck with your horse!

"The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you..."
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-29-2009, 04:44 PM
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I would definatley advise getting a curcingle and side reins. They helped my horse WONDERS, and his canter has progressed tons, and he also built some beautiful muscles that I couldn't get him to build when I was on his back.

I actually lunge my horse for 15 minutes in the curcingle every day before I ride, and it helps him to warm up and stretch out, while doing good work.

Definatley do it.

~Kait & Mark~
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