Horse won't canter on the correct lead to the right - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-07-2012, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Horse won't canter on the correct lead to the right

His left lead seems ok but I cant get him to collect. he just runs full on and if I shorten my reins and squeeze he goes back to trot instead of collecting. On the right lead he always picks up wrong and trips/nearly falls at times but still wont take the correct lead. Help? I have been trying to work more and more on the canter but cant get past this stage. Any help?
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-07-2012, 10:44 PM
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What does he do when he's NOT under saddle? Can he canter correctly on both leads on the lunge and/or round pen? If not, then you need to go back to that level and get him balanced and even on the correct leads without a rider. Once he can balance himself without tripping and falling or rushing, try again under saddle. I like to trot to the corner, canter the corner and then go back to the trot again. Other people like figure 8's and things like that, but the idea is to set him up on a small enough turn that he has to take the correct lead. At first even a couple correct strides are cause to reward him. Eventually work up to a full circle, etc.

If he's not balanced, you shouldn't be worrying about 'collection' yet. Coordination, strength, rhythm and balance all come first. Try to rush it and all you'll really get is a head-set without real engagement.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-07-2012, 11:07 PM
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the way to work on a canter like this, that is unbalanced, is to work on the trot.
you go back to the trot and get the horse able to trot circles, serpentines and spiral in and out, with a good bend (not overbent), even trot tempo and connected to the bit with his jaw flexed lightly to the inside, soft on the bit.

Do lots of trot to walk to trot to walk to halt and on and on. Do them on circles. TRot fast, trot slow but have him mostly trotting on a curve of some kind and always have him correctly bent and pushing from behind. Not a real headset or collection, but not slogging along on draping lines either.

Wehn you feel he can trot both directions almost equally well (no horse does them exactly equally well except those super well schooled) then ask for the canter, in the corner, and canter just a bit , then back to trot. Only canter as long as the hrose is balanced. Cantering on and on with the hrose poorly balanced , or counter bent will not improve. is so, go back to trot.

end on a good note.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-07-2012, 11:58 PM
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I'm very curious to know the answer to Sharpie's first question: Can he take the lead easily when not under saddle? My first thought with canter leads is that it's something physical, but that's not always the case. One of the most common causes of not being able to take the canter is that the pelvis is out, and/or the hips are uneven. Any chance your horse looks uneven when viewed squared up from the back? Like this pic, although in your case, the left side would most likely be lower...
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-09-2012, 12:48 PM
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There are multiple reason this may be occurring:
  1. Rider is not asking correctly. Inside seat bone should be more forward than outside seat bone and have more weight on it. Inside leg at girth, outside leg slightly behind girth.
  2. Horse has saddle issues. Saddle may be too far forward (can you feel the top of the shoulder blade when the saddle is on, and is the shoulder blade in FRONT of the saddle not underneath it? If saddle placement and/or fit (too narrow at withers, etc.) is incorrect this could cause the horse not to pick up a lead.
  3. Horse needs adjustment by a chiropractor
  4. Horse has a leg issue not yet showing up as lameness.

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post #6 of 6 Old 08-11-2012, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of your input. I will keep working on it and am in the process of getting a vet to check him for soreness. He doesn't lunge well at the canter in either direction, but I don't have a lot of experience at lunging so I am probably asking wrong.
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