"Running" horse to canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-06-2013, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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"Running" horse to canter

I'm really struggling with the left lead canter for my lease horse. My trainer said she's older, so she's more stiff, so the left lead is worse.

On the right lead, she is very easy to get to canter, either from a walk or trot. I will sit a few strides and just think canter and move outside leg slightly, give a little rein and off she goes.

In the right lead, just the thought about it already makes me tense. I trust that if this hurts her, my trainer will tell me not to do it. I also talk to other people who rides her and they said its tough but she can do it, you just have to set it up correctly for her.

I would do the same thing, try to sit a few strides and her trot gets super fast and bumpy, and I can no longer sit tall. I tried but I felt like she's throwing me forward and if I lean back I will lose my balance.
The. I panic and start moving my outside leg way back and she just runs in the fastest trot ever and we are both exhausted.

I've tried turning around and smack her butt a little with my hand and she took off. But that involves me gathering my reins with my inside hand, lean back and smack with my outside hand.. And I started to worry that this is hurting her.

I will double check with trainer that it is okay, but I'm pretty sure everyone said she's okay cantering both direction, just one side is more stiff.

Otherwise, this is a saint horse, push button, great for me :)
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 03:13 PM
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My lease is also older and a little stiffer on the right lead. He also likes to run out to the right when approaching a jump for the first time (for the first time that day, not just the first time ever). I know he and I get a case of I know you know that I know that you're going to try something funny and you know I know you know you can't stop me. What I'm saying is, I think he can tell that I am anticipating him running out to the right because without really realizing it, I set him up to allow it to happen. Perhaps your horse knows you're tense/worried about asking for and getting the canter because you've given her cues. Just try to relax, take a deep breath, and feel confident that you can get it. Before you ask for the canter, try to visualize how you will do it properly and how the horse will respond properly. Maybe practice asking for the canter from a walk or a stand still rather than from the trot?

I think once we get worried or nervous about something, we make it happen without really realizing it.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-08-2013, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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I've tried starting the canter from the walk on the weak side, I would be calm coz I am not sitting her bouncy trot, I am able to sit up staring and move my outside leg, she just starts to panic, like oh hell no, and just trot trot trot faster... I would then slow her down, try again next corner, same thing. I would then turn her around to do the other lead and she would depart beautifully.

I tried to use more inside rein to turn her head, and strong legs to encourage "up" movement and still no go. The only thing that I can get her to canter a few step on that weaker lead is to smack her butt a little :(
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 08:26 AM
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Have you tried starting from her stronger side and then changing direction/asking for a lead change?
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 09:13 AM
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Do you carry a bat or crop?
Do you know how to use one, when to use one and how to use it appropriately and to strike the correct side?
Don't use your hand, you are setting yourself up for trouble just as the horse is expecting and reacting to your doing...
You're leaning, off balance and the horse is capitalizing on this... a bat, she disrespects and refuses...one firm swat behind the leg (yours) and yes, you better be prepared for her to move off with you in compliance.

Other than that...
When are you asking this horse to pick up a canter?
In a ring use the ends when she is on a bend to your advantage...as she comes off that bend...ask
You do know you need to ask her as she pushes off with her hind foot...as this is the first footfall of a canter stride..
If you ask as she is on her forehand, she can't give you a canter strike off stride as her weight is in the wrong place...she needs to be off her forehand and "pushing" from behind not pulling herself along.

She may be older, she may be stiff...she may just be playing you as this is also a respect issue...when asked for something she doesn't feel like doing she gives you grief... try just carrying a bat/crop and see if her attitude of compliance changes...

As another poster pointed out...if she is that tough to pick up this lead, start on the other one and do a lead change as you do a directional change... again though, her weight needs to be off her forehand to comply...something you must also be aware that you help her by not tensing and leaning forward and putting her off-balance...

Unless this horse has some underlying health issue and truly can't do this, it is a "don't want to" and "you have to make me"...

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post #6 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post

Unless this horse has some underlying health issue and truly can't do this, it is a "don't want to" and "you have to make me"...
Yes, that!
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-09-2013, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both!! I had a lesson today and m trainer reassure me that she's not hurting, she maybe weaker on that side, a little stiffer, but it's more like "hell mo, I don't want to do it".

I did ask for the canter approaching the corner, but I must admit I didn't pay much attention, and frankly, I've only been riding a little shy of 3 months, I can't really tell yet prob.

Today her canter depart was much better (well, I'm in a lesson), trainer made me stop her, and canter, then trot, but slow her way down, sit tall (this was the key, but I'm having a bit of trouble because she was trotting so fast I just can't sit tall), after slowing her down, and ask for the canter, she did it, but I have to kick for a few strides in order to keep her on canter and I have to say we ended in some good terms :)
boots likes this.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-10-2013, 04:54 PM
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What I did to fix this with Diamond was back up. As soon as she gave me the "Trot from Hell" I just stopped her, we backed up, and true again. The second try, she would get a swat just behind my leg. The third try she got a swat on her bum. The fourth try, she got a whack on her butt. She never got to the fifth, she would canter off. As SOON as she canters, loosen rein and LOTS of praise
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