Advice needed please - canter cue
 
 

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Advice needed please - canter cue

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  • How to cue the canter
  • Ask canter weight forward buck

 
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    06-05-2012, 10:52 PM
  #1
Weanling
Advice needed please - canter cue

Hello! I have had my Gemmie for 2.5 years now and man have we come a ong, long way together :) I need some advice one something though.

Gem can canter just fine although she tends to fall on the forehand when she gets tired. In fact she prefers to canter over trot and I know she isn't in any pain. About a year ago when we started working on the canter transition more, I noticed that she would cow kick and attempt to buck a little (which she is hysterically bad at) when I would bring my outside leg back and ask her to canter. She would canter and pick up the correct lead, but she would always fuss and become VERY tense. At the time I decided that since I do not show and we mostly work on flatwork in the arena, small (2ft max) jumps at the trot and trail riding, that how she got the canter wasn't so important. She will pick up the canter by voice command, me shifting my weight every so faintly forward and giving with my hands and as long as I have her on the correct bend she picks up the correct lead.

Well, tonight I decided to ask the normal way again and see what would happen. We have done a lot of work within the canter itself over the last year as well as building trust (she definitely has trust issues and I am finally breaking through all of her walls). Well, she still throws a fit when I bring my leg back on either side although the left is worse versus the right. Again, she will pick up and continue the canter, but she crow kicks and does a tiny hop. I then stopped her, made her stand still and gently worked my heel back and rubbed her side without letting her move forward. She didn't flinch. I am not kicking or even tapping her when I ask, just a lgiht pressure. I use my legs to push her out to the rail all the time or to help her bend and she never has a problem. My biggest concern is how tense she gets - head up, neck tight as a drum, ears back, trotting a million miles an hour. It took 10 minutes of trotting and some walking to get her to calm down before I tried again and it was the same response.

So my 2 part question -
Is this something to even bother with or should I let this pass since she canters on cue in other ways smoothly and without a fuss?
If so, how can I work with this? She deosn't mind the pressure by hand on the ground, at a walk or trot when asking her to move over. Just asking for the canter. I am more confident now and can ride her out, but hate how tense she gets and how unhappy she is.

Thank you very much for anya dvice you can provide!
     
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    06-06-2012, 12:54 AM
  #2
Super Moderator
I would guess that if you can get the canter without putting your leg back, then why bother. I dont' think hunter riders or dressage riders put the outside leg very far back. I know that I am still not great at getting the correct lead off every time, and that when I put my leg too far back, I end up tipping forward in the saddle and kind of getting all scrunched up and it transfers to the horse.
     
    06-06-2012, 09:08 AM
  #3
Foal
I would just use the cue that she's happiest with. What if you don't pull your outside leg back and just use slight pressure with it at its normal postition? I don't pull my leg back to ask for the canter, I just aply slight pressure with my outside leg and sit. My horse does not like the canter cue, most of the time he will make a face and maybe a tail swish, but he doesnt buck, which surprises me sometimes. After the transition he is nice and pleasant in the canter.
I think maybe just sit and 'think' canter, but when she acts up and fusses, id would NOT go back to the walk. Going down to the walk is like a reward. I would trot the crap out of her till she settles, because she really doesnt have a reason to fuss like that. But if you and her are comfortable with a cue, and you don't want to show, I think it is perfectly fine to use a different cue.
Good luck and always remember to have fun!
     
    06-06-2012, 09:29 AM
  #4
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by livestoride    
...she would cow kick and attempt to buck a little (which she is hysterically bad at) when I would bring my outside leg back and ask her to canter. ...She will pick up the canter by voice command, me shifting my weight every so faintly forward and giving with my hands and as long as I have her on the correct bend she picks up the correct lead.

...she crow kicks and does a tiny hop. I then stopped her, made her stand still and gently worked my heel back and rubbed her side without letting her move forward. She didn't flinch. I am not kicking or even tapping her when I ask, just a light pressure. I use my legs to push her out to the rail all the time or to help her bend and she never has a problem. My biggest concern is how tense she gets - head up, neck tight as a drum, ears back, trotting a million miles an hour. ...

... how can I work with this? ...
Try asking for the canter this way n- outside leg back - BUT NO Pressure on it - just lay it against her side slightly behind the girth. Inside leg at the girth gets a squeeze with calf (NOT heel), and if that doens't get the canter then "rock" from outside butt forwad to inside pubic bone at the same time as you "bump" her with inside leg at the girth. That should get the canter.

As for her tenseness and running - BEFORE you ask for canter establish a nice working trot with her neck arched, responding to light leg pressure (ask once lightly if no response ask again hard unless you feel she wasn't paying attention or prepared for canter request). This way you are training the horse to respond to the first light request. So now you should have her in a nice medium pace trot (not fast - if too fast slow her via slowing your posting or every time she starts speeding up make a small 6-10 meter circle with her - that will naturally slow her down without having to keep pulling back on the reins). From here (if she's being ridden correctly) she should be stepping underneath herself with her hind legs and it should be easy to get a canter.

One question - are you asking for the canter at the correct time? If your timing is off that will make some horses nervous.
     
    06-06-2012, 05:11 PM
  #5
Weanling
Thanks for the advice!

She really loves to canter, so getting her there isn't the issue. She is always ready to go :) I do try to make sure she is in a nice collected trot before asking for the canter. I learned that the hard way and she does pick up a smoother canter if she is properly balanced before it. She tends to get strung out when tense, so I don't allow her to move up a gait when she is like that.

I will try what you described. I don't like to make her fuss, but also don't want to give in to her princessy, fussy behavior too much. It is kind of a pick my battles situation. She is HIGHLY opinionated and not afraid to let me know when she disagrees with something I am doing. I will give it a try and let you know how she reacts!
     
    06-06-2012, 05:34 PM
  #6
Foal
Ya if you don't need to move your outside leg far back then don't. That's how you're supposed to ask for it is hardly moving your outside leg back far, you really only need to move it far back if she has trouble picking up a lead. As for the tensing up and fast trotting, if she doesn't pick up the canter immediately either take her in a 5m circle or stop and back her up 4or 5 steps as it sounds like a balance issue my horse used to do it but try either of those and see how it goes. It helped me out a lot!
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