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This is a discussion on cantering within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        06-14-2011, 02:44 PM

    Is it me or the horse!! The horse I ride I loan, the problem im having is that she is great at trotting and has a fast trot. She's hard work to get into a canter and soon breaks back into a fast trot so I end up bouncing around like a bag of potatos. I do give her a flick with my crop on her shoulder but whats the best way of getting her to canter and maintain the canter?? I don't like to use the crop cos she's an older horse and wonder if a canter is too much for her. My inexperience gives me course to question this. Please help.
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        06-14-2011, 02:54 PM
    Do you have a riding instructor that can help you with this specific horse?

    I would guess that fast trot that she does instead of cantering is making you not be balanced which makes it hard for you to correctly ask for the canter and she is just not willing to just give it to you.

    You might have better luck setting her up (balance her) at the walk and asking right from the walk.

    Also, try using the crop behind the leg, not on the shoulder.
        06-14-2011, 03:06 PM
    It just feels a real effort for her to canter, being an older horse I wonder if its because she can't. She does better when a horse is in front of her but now I hack and ride alone so its down to me. Like I said im not an experienced rider so thought I would get some tips on here.
        06-14-2011, 03:07 PM
    If she canters just fine with a horse in front of her I am guessing she can canter just fine with out one.
        06-14-2011, 03:10 PM
    She does do better with a horse to follow but not perfect. She soon tires and when back at the school and I untack her she stands there and yawns alot.
        06-14-2011, 03:13 PM
    Exactly how old is the mare? Is she on any kind of joint supplement or does she have a documented history of issues that could hinder her in more strenuous work? First and foremost, eliminate pain. Can she canter at liberty, in the pasture, on the lunge?

    If all pain is eliminated, your problem sounds like a lack of balance or strength to maintain the canter with the rider in the equation. Trot work is great for building balance and preparing for canter work - practice really riding the trot, doing lots of figures like serpentines, figure 8's, deep corners, spirals, eventually more challenging things like half and full voltes. The better and more balanced the trot, the better prepared for the canter she'll be.

    Next, don't push her to canter laps around the ring. Work on the transition, getting that nice, and take her back down to the trot before she falls back. Let her build strength a bit at a time, and strive for quality, not quantity.

    I also recommend enlisting the help of an instructor, if you haven't already, to work with you in person. This can be a frustrating issue, and having someone who has dealt with this type of thing before to help you tweak your riding to help your mare can be invaluable.

    Good luck!
        06-14-2011, 04:00 PM
    Thank you for the advice, i'll work on it.

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