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Maintaining a Canter

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  • Maintaining the canter

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    05-30-2011, 07:27 AM
  #11
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder    
Here is your problem.

As long as you DO a death grip you are in effect TEACHING her that this is her only cue to canter.

So when YOU relax the aids she FALLS out of the canter because the support she IS USED TO is no longer there. She has gotten used to YOU supporting her and now never developed the balance to hold it.

You need to teach her to respond to lighter aids.
Hmm... that is true. But I only recently started riding her (and she's a lesson horse) so I'm assuming she's been ridden that way a lot. How would I go about teaching her to respond to lighter cues? Thanks
     
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    05-30-2011, 08:03 AM
  #12
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by RideroftheWind    
Hmm... that is true. But I only recently started riding her (and she's a lesson horse) so I'm assuming she's been ridden that way a lot. How would I go about teaching her to respond to lighter cues? Thanks
I am afraid you won't like the answer....

Until she realizes at at least with you she needs to get up and stop relying on you being there to support her you will have to let her know you are no longer going to be her 5th leg.

She can do this with others but she better not get lazy and rely on you doing all the work.

A whip/crop is not for punishment but to let the horse know that you are going to give her ONE SET of aids and she needs to listen to the first set as there will no longer be a second set that will do her work. THAT is what a crop is for..a wake up call.

What you need to do is take one hit of the crop and re apply the aids in the same manner you did originally...not stronger ..but the same. Certainly use your voice also. Failure to respond results in again just ONE hit and re apply the aids. Initially this may take a few tries but she will get the message. Compliance to your aids must follow with praise BUT DON'T stop the aids...just a verbal praise followed by YOU allowing her to come out of the canter.

I can virtually guarantee if you follow this you should have an obedient pony that will do the canter, not because she fears the whip/crop but because she respects your ability.
     
    05-30-2011, 04:36 PM
  #13
Foal
Does your horse respond well to a firm kick? If so you can try what everyone has said to do with a crop but replace the smack of the crop with a well timed kick. It may not be enough to give her the message if she's pretty dead to the legs but its an option if you don't want to use a crop. The most important part of everyones message here is that your horse needs to learn that constant pressure is not the cue for canter but that she needs to carry her own forward momentum until you ask her otherwise. So regardless of if your carrying a crop or using spurs keep that in your mind as you ride her, find a way that works for you, but always remain consistent every single time you ask for canter or she breaks from canter. The only way she'll learn otherwise is if you stop the death grip and tell her what is expected of her everytime consistently
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    05-31-2011, 09:42 PM
  #14
Foal
Okay well I might try the kick thing. She is actually very sensitive to kicks, but I didn't kick her as much because I was trying to make my cues more invisible.
But again with the crop thing, I've seen riders who are more experienced than I am get on her with a crop, and I can honestly say that I got a better canter out of her than they did. If anything, she's become numb to the crop. She hates people using it on her (she pins her ears and such) but she still won't respond any better. She's happy when you don't use it (which is how I gained such a strong connection with her) but she still cannot maintain a consistent canter.
Agh she's such a complicated pony...
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    06-01-2011, 02:22 AM
  #15
Foal
Just keep working at at, keep cantering shorter and build on it. So ask for canter, take your legs off, if she breaks show her that's not what you asked and is not acceptable and repeat, if she gives you 3 strides with your legs relaxed immediately praise her and bring her back to trot and just keep repeating and adding more strides as you can. Show her in black and white what is right and what is wrong and she'll get it, good luck :)
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    06-02-2011, 05:29 PM
  #16
Foal
Thanks for the advice. My riding lesson's on Saturday, so I'll see how it goes. :)
     
    06-02-2011, 06:42 PM
  #17
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by upnover    
The problem is that she doesn't have her own motor and doesn't know how to keep going. I assume people have all ridden her with a death grip with their legs and she now thinks that that is the cue to keep going, and now can't do it without. That's a terrible habit for a horse to learn as you've realized!

First of all, you need to understand how a crop/spurs work. When used properly they are very very effective in training a horse and improving communication between horse and rider. I very rarely get on a horse without on or the other, no matter how well trained or sensitive that horse is.

To fix it.... Not sure how dull she is to picking up the canter in the first place but make sure that she is tuned up to your aids. A crop or a spur is the best way to do it. Cue her for the canter, asking softly once (squeeze), ask her harder if she doesn't listen (kick) and smack her with a crop behind your leg if she still ignores you (or use your spur). Don't let there be too long of a pause between the 3 if you need to use all 3. Then as soon as she canters soften up your body and just canter. The second she drops the gait do the same thing, again using the squeeze, kick, spur method if she's dull to your aids. Make sure your legs are soft once she canters. As soon as she drops to a canter do it again. And again. And again. The key is NOT to tell her every single step to canter, but to correct her every time she breaks. Eventually she will learn to keep going until you tell her otherwise.

The above is my thoughts exactly.
Riding a horse while "squeezing" it is not good. Leg on does not mean squeeze. It means rather tap . I was called on this by a clinician years back who pointed out that my horse actually resented the leg ON squeeze that I felt I had to do because of his incessant warmblood heaviness. He was actually sucking back because he hated that. She said to kind of "flutter your ankle" on his side and do the on, ON and Crop ON , one ,two , three! Way of building responsiveness. Now, I try to remember that "flutterjing my ankle" (the ankle bone is kind of sharp and it is a very noticeable action.

Try this and back it up with a crop, AND, most importantly, when she goes well at the canter, give her breathing room, NO leg GRIPPING.
     
    06-02-2011, 10:00 PM
  #18
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
The above is my thoughts exactly.
Riding a horse while "squeezing" it is not good. Leg on does not mean squeeze. It means rather tap . I was called on this by a clinician years back who pointed out that my horse actually resented the leg ON squeeze that I felt I had to do because of his incessant warmblood heaviness. He was actually sucking back because he hated that. She said to kind of "flutter your ankle" on his side and do the on, ON and Crop ON , one ,two , three! Way of building responsiveness. Now, I try to remember that "flutterjing my ankle" (the ankle bone is kind of sharp and it is a very noticeable action.

Try this and back it up with a crop, AND, most importantly, when she goes well at the canter, give her breathing room, NO leg GRIPPING.
Ah well, I try. :/ I mean, she's very responsive and can pick up an immediate canter from a walk if I ask for it properly. The problem is keeping that canter.

I actually hate constant 'squeezing'. That's why I posted this. :) However, no crop. She absolutely HATES the crop (even if you don't use it and only carry it, she'll give you an aweful ride), but she's very cooperative when she doesn't hate you. So I try to stay on good terms with her. That's sort of what I mean by 'ruining the connection'. Do you think kicking will work instead of using a crop?

Either way, thanks for the reply. :)
     
    06-03-2011, 12:11 AM
  #19
Super Moderator
OH, I don't think it's silly to say that a crop will ruin your connection. She may be resentful and worried about it. But it might be what is required for her to be honest about keeping a gait.
Is there any physical reason why she cannot canter any great distance?
Are you , by any chance, inavertantly giving her a signal to slow down, like being too rigid in your body? Or is it just school horse laziness?

She is a school horse, no? It's hard for them to continue to be mentally engaged in their work when it's so much the same , day in and day out.
You might refresh her by taking her for a long hack and letting her really gallop up a big hill, maybe "race" with another horse.

YOu can also take you hand and give your own thigh a good, loud SMACK and see if this doesnt reinforce your leg, . I mean ask for GO! And if she gives you go (tiny go), then smack your thigh and literally say,"I mean GO!".
Raise the energy in YOU to raise the energy in her.

I do appreciate that you ride with sensitivity to this mare's personality.
     
    06-03-2011, 07:41 AM
  #20
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
OH, I don't think it's silly to say that a crop will ruin your connection. She may be resentful and worried about it. But it might be what is required for her to be honest about keeping a gait.
Is there any physical reason why she cannot canter any great distance?
Are you , by any chance, inavertantly giving her a signal to slow down, like being too rigid in your body? Or is it just school horse laziness?

She is a school horse, no? It's hard for them to continue to be mentally engaged in their work when it's so much the same , day in and day out.
You might refresh her by taking her for a long hack and letting her really gallop up a big hill, maybe "race" with another horse.

YOu can also take you hand and give your own thigh a good, loud SMACK and see if this doesnt reinforce your leg, . I mean ask for GO! And if she gives you go (tiny go), then smack your thigh and literally say,"I mean GO!".
Raise the energy in YOU to raise the energy in her.

I do appreciate that you ride with sensitivity to this mare's personality.
Yep, she's a school horse, so unfortunately I can't hack her. I don't think there's a physical reason... well apart from the fact that it's been a loooong time since she's cantered more than one lap around an arena without breaking stride. I guess most riders just let her get away with it. So it might be that she's a little out of shape. She's not overweight, though.

I'll try the slapping your thigh thing. Thanks!
     

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