Training a walker to canter

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Training a walker to canter

This is a discussion on Training a walker to canter within the Gaited Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Proper canter cue for a TWH
  • How to teach my walker to canter

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    05-18-2011, 05:37 PM
Training a walker to canter

How do you train a TWH to cater properly.My horse just knows all speeds of walkes he has never really cantered..I have seen him spook in a full out run once when a car back fired while he was grazing but he NEVER will go into a catcer while on him.I love the rocking chair canters and was wondering how
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    05-19-2011, 09:56 AM
Hi Diego, I have just begun training my mare to canter under saddle and here is the process I have used thus far.

First off I got her cantering on a long line, using a cue (kiss noise and word canter if she doesn't respond) at which point I would get hher to pick it up and be on the right lead, if she was on the wrong lead I would slow her and restart. If your horse goes into a pace, you'll need to slow him down as it is easier for a TWH to go into a canter from a flat walk, and also correct for show if you go that direction.

Once you get that on the long line both directions, what we did on Sable was have a lead horse a few lengths ahead, once we got to the corner of the arena the other horse started to canter, I cued for it (outside leg cueing by the girth, kiss noise) and she picked it up right away (it is easier for a horse to get the correct lead at a corner).

Now that you're cantering, let them loose to get their rhythm, I went around and down the straight away.

This is about where I got to with my mare at this point and my trainer has said that once she is finding her rhythm and we're getting comfortable we'll start slowing her down while in the canter so I can get that nice slow rocking chair feel.

I am sure there are other ways to go about this that work just as well, but this worked extremely well for me as the long line got her understanding the cues and also whoa at the canter (if anything were to happen) and the proper leads... the lead horse at the canter aided in the uderstanding of the cue as well as the comfort in cantering as her pen mate was also cantering ahead of her.

However the next time the other horse cantered in the arena she thought she was supposed to too, so you have to be ready to hold them back a bit and do some circles :)

Hope this helps some!
    06-22-2011, 06:20 PM
Thanks for the advice. I too have an aged Morgan gelding that doesn't really know "how" to canter. I thought another horse to get and keep him going at least would be good. You can tell he just doesn't "know" that he can even do it. He also has the little kick sometimes where he stop and throws back legs up just enough to catch you if you're not careful. He's 20 now, and I wonder if I can ever break him of that habit. Any suggestions?
I truly appreciate it. Love this forum so far...
    06-23-2011, 10:12 AM
You're welcome!

The main thing I have found is there is a fine line between the horse pacing/trotting to try to find their balance at the speed and training a pace/trot into them. If after a few strides they aren't picking it up then slow again to a walk as the sign that was not right, then walk a few strides and ask again.

At the same time, some horses need to be pushed through the pace/trot into the canter before they understand as I have seen that work on some horses as well.

That is something you will find out as you go because if pushing him through the pace doesnt work then you'll try slowing him and restarting him when he paces/trots.

Hope this helps some, I am by no means an expert, but this is what I have been doing with my mare and she has figured it out, so maybe it will work for you too. :)
    06-23-2011, 12:59 PM
Side reins and canter poles in a round pen.
    07-02-2011, 11:29 PM
What are canter poles?
    07-03-2011, 06:55 PM
Wooden poles placed canter stride distance apart.
Lots of trotting will help him get the muscle to canter, gating doesn't do much for canter muscles.
    07-03-2011, 10:29 PM
Ah, good info!
    07-07-2011, 10:59 AM
Sometimes we can make training for a specific gait, pattern, etc more complicated than necessary with excessive sessions in a training mode rather than just going out on very less stressful trial ride and do the every same thing with what the environment beholds before us.

I once had a TWH that my Granddaughter rode on trial rides with me. That horse was truly an honest sort of horse. His previous owner had been a timid sort of rider and rarely went faster than a running walk. When I bought him and we went trail riding that TWH was as honest as a day is long. He cantered when the rest of us did and was never a "hard to handle" sort. He very easily picked up a canter everytime he was asked.
    07-12-2011, 11:30 AM
I've recently been training 2 walkers to canter, and with both of them I've been using the imitation method. I go riding with a buddy on a horse that knows how to canter. When that horse goes off loping ahead of us, the walker will gait as fast as they can. However, once they realize what the other horse is doing with its feet, they'll start trying to do it. I do this every time I ride that horse, and they gradually get better.
To me, it's the easiest and least complicated way to teach a gaited horse to canter.

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