Crazy canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-21-2013, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Crazy canter

I am riding now after about 20 years off. Things are coming back and's been about 13 lessons so far (I'm riding 2x / week)...

The thing is, I am riding the biggest thoroughbred I have ever ridden. I like him. He's got an attitude, which is not so great, but we get along pretty well.

He's about 17 hands...6ft? At the withers (I'm going off the fact that I'm 5'7", and his withers are significantly above my head.)

When we canter, his stride is huge. I feel like we're eating up the arena.

2 questions. He gets a little pissy when I'm trying to get a collected canter (apply pressure with leg and squeeze rein and sit deeper into the saddle ).. He starts this whole shenanigan thing... Throwing his head, and sort of jumping/prancing around.. Not smooth, very up in the air... (i cant explain it... maybe if i knew what it looked like from the ground) Any suggestions as to how I might be able to get a shorter stride from him?

Also, can better half chaps really make a difference? I was going to save up for boots, but I'm thinking I might want to get better half chaps. Mine are the reeaaallly cheap $30 ones from amazon which are "nubuck" and leather. They are too big. Too big in width, not length. Like there's a lot of extra leather... And I feel there's these bags around my legs.

I am as clear as I can possibly be (we pick up the canter really easily)... But it's the maintaining and monitoring that is a issue with him. I got a lot more from him today, which is an improvement.

I hope this made sense. I'm up in the middle of the night not sleeping (today was a weird day, and I felt like a ditzy girl when I was riding, not so good)..

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post #2 of 7 Old 08-21-2013, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by BeccaF View Post
... He gets a little pissy when I'm trying to get a collected canter (apply pressure with leg and squeeze rein and sit deeper into the saddle )..... Throwing his head, and sort of jumping/prancing around.. Not smooth, very up in the air... ... Any suggestions as to how I might be able to get a shorter stride from him?
Horse have to develop the muscles for collected work over time - so perhaps he lacks the topline muscles for "carrying" himself?

#1 for collection you WANT more "air time" - i.e. instead of forward you should feel like you're less earth-bound and spending more time in the air.
#2 To get more collection use half halts. When done properly they will get the horse to step underneath itself with their hind legs and carry more weight on the hind end. Search this forum on half halts (HH) - numerous people, including myself, have written details on how to train a half halt (hint - it starts by training a full SQUARE halt)

Head throwing could be the result of rider using too much rein, or even teeth need floating.

Full seat breeches will help riderd butt to "stick" more to the saddle - you can get some on sale for around $100 rathe than continuing to waste money on chaps (can't show recognized shows in chaps).

Best of luck.

Dressage is for Trainers!
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-21-2013, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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He does have issues with musculature along his back. He was out to pasture for a couple of years, and is lacking in muscle, especially at his withers. If he were my horse, I'd take him out and lunge him everyday for a half hour, but he's not. He has a sensitive back, so I try to stay off if I know it's going to be bouncy.

He's doing the swooshing with the tail thing, so I can tell he's displeased with things. I am not sure about either his teeth or his bit.., again, he's not my horse. I did mention that when I put the bit in, he seems unhappy (gaping at the mouth)... All in all, he's definitely a work in progress. Right now, I think they're just trying to pack the weight on him (he's definitely too skinny)...

He's new...

But we're doing the best we can. We've gone through several saddles, trying to find one that fits...sort of having luck. Padding is an issue. With the wrong saddle, it doesn't fit him, and the pommel is too high and causes, cough, problems for me.

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post #4 of 7 Old 08-21-2013, 01:12 PM
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Half halt, half halt, half halt. (:
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-21-2013, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and I figured out why my half chaps fit the way they do. Apparently, even though I'm 5'7", I'm a short! Weird legs... Hmm
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-21-2013, 07:07 PM
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100% of the time, when my TB tosses his head, I am locking my elbows and not following his head.

I do find a good leather pair of half chaps to be more sticky than boots. They are better for everyday schooling since they can take a lot of wear.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-25-2013, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Today, I paid attention and realized that I am bracing myself. Not when he picks up the canter, but when he is cantering. Is almost like I'm in half-seat, but with my hands on his whithers. I wasn't doing this on the mare I was riding (my arms were loose), but his canter is more than my seat can handle right now. We were doing a little jumping on the mare, but not on the gelding. I need to be stronger and be able to stick my seat. My trainer likes to make tight figure eight courses over cavaletti's and poles, and I am not ready. We both know. The TB is just much harder to stay on at the canter--not hard, but takes strength I do not yet have in my legs. I had to stop today because my leg was cramping up, it was working so hard... (Not young anymore :) )...

I really want to be a good rider, and it frustrates me to no end to not be strong enough to do things, esp things i did as a kid...I finally got his sitting trot (I couldn't loosen my lower back--I have back issues--but figured out how)...

Making progress slowly. Soon, I may have to go down to 1x per week as I won't be able to afford it until I earn some money.

I feel like my life is stuck with TBs.. I was hoping to ride a WB just to see how they are different, but both the mare and gelding are TB's... The horse when I was growing up was a TB... A lot of horses in this area are... But I love them, they are so sweet and sensitive. He was looking at me today after I wiped his nose with this aw shucks, thanks for picking my boogers look. I do the blow into his nose thing when I see him, and I think he appreciates that. (I did that with my horse growing up--the Native American thing)...
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