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help -- [canter transitions & other green horse questions]

This is a discussion on help -- [canter transitions & other green horse questions] within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        02-25-2009, 11:15 AM
    Green Broke
    He's young and green, all of these things take time.

    First, I would have a professional saddle fitter out to evaluate your saddle fit. Since he is so sensitive, a very slight ill fit might cause some of this behavior.

    Next, I would add a ThinLine pad under your saddle, half pad or contour pad. These pads are thin, so as not to change saddle fit, but they are very shock absorbing, encouraging the horse to round more readily and work through his back. A ThinLine really improved my sensitive TBxArab gelding.

    Finally, just keep working. Be as soft in the saddle as you can. Don't punish or pull him back hard for his big transition, just keep transitioning until he gives you a nicer one, even if it's just slightly nicer, and praise him like crazy for it and quit for the day. He is young and green, and it takes a LOT of muscle and balance to give those nice soft transitions. They will come with time. Some work over trot poles and on trail rides will help build his muscle and improve balance.

    Since he is a bit "out there" and gets distracted, I would consider his diet and turnout schedule.

    He should be getting as much turnout as possible, preferablly 24/7 with just stall time to eat. He needs time and room to run off any of that nervous energy. It helps if he's in a large paddock or pasture with a friend or three.

    If he's on any grains, sweet feed, or pelleted feeds, I would consider taking him off of them. Diets high in sugars and starches can cause "ADD" type behavior in horses. Switch him over to a more natural, forage based diet consisting of lots and lots of grass hay or Timothy hay and a concentrated feed like a ration balancer (Triple Crown 30% is one of the best, you only feed 1-2 lbs a day for full nutrition) or a good broad spectrum vitamin/mineral supplement mixed with some flax and beet pulp or alfalfa pellets (add a little water to make it all stick). A change in diet REALLY improved my gelding's overall behavior and work ethic. He also keeps his weight on now with a LOT less feed (he was my "hard keeper").
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        03-05-2009, 11:57 PM
    I used to ride a horse like this and he was not a greenie, just a super hot and sensitive horse at 9yrs old. Try only cueing to canter with your seat, if he is so sensitive to the leg, just drop your seatbone to ask for the canter, some horses respond much quieter to this cue. Don't ask him to frame up when he takes the canter- try either of these 1) try to give him as loose a rein as possible when you ask for the canter so that you are not affecting his balance or 2) give him support with the reins but do not try and hold him to a frame.

    If possible take him to a pasture or very very large arena and just canter him in large circles. If balance is the problem, then small circles will not get you anywhere, you need to take him out in the open and use large large circles and gradually begin to bring him on a smaller circle every now and then. You will begin to notice after a while (not in one ride) that you can take him on smaller circles as he finds his balance.

    Hope this helps.

    You can also incorporate long-lining (ground driving) to work on his trot-canter transitions. I am doing this with my greenie. Sometimes it helps to step off their backs and just work them from the ground.
        03-09-2009, 10:02 PM
    Saddle up, i'm curious. How do you manage trot-canter transitions while long-lining? I have this very comical picture in my head of someone running along behind their horse being dragged by the line while it canters... He he. I'm sure it's not like that though!
        03-13-2009, 02:01 AM
    Green Broke
    Long-lining is different than traditional ground driving.

    Ground Driving (walking behind the horse):

    Long Lining (standing in the middle of a circle):

    Here's the off-side of the horse, so you can see how the lines go. In this photo, we have the lines pully-style, through the bit and attached back to the girth.

    In long-lining, the horse goes around you in a circle, like lunging, but you have two lines attached to each side of the bit, to mimic both reins.
        03-13-2009, 02:11 AM
    Ah, ok! I get it now, he he. Thanks.

    Was thinking some very funny things!

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