Maintaing canter - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 10 Old 01-10-2012, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Maintaing canter

In september 2011 I bought the sweetest 5yr old Connemara pony. The issue is maintaing the course. I've had the vet check her over and have her saddle correctly fitted. She will canter for approx 5-6 strides and then breaks into trot. She does this on the longue on hacks and in the arena/ school. I asked my RI watch us last week. She advised its just the case of building up the horses muscles that allow her to keep cantering. RI told me that when she breaks the canter to calmly re-establish the trot and give signals for cabter depart in time the correct muscles will develop in turn canter will be mainted. So just wondering if that's the case or is there anything else I can do to help my horse.
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-10-2012, 09:02 PM
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I have a horse like that. Jester is the laziest horse on earth and my legs got an extreme workout from having to urge him on every other stride. I finally gave in and bought spurs.

Coronet Humane Spur Set | Dover Saddlery

These are very gentle (unless misused) and worked wonders. I would touch him with them when I could feel him about to break into a trot and he'd keep plugging along.

Now, be careful and work on your horse's strength and fitness before just going out and buying spurs. I knew it was a case of laziness with Jester because we would go on 12 mile trail rides and 10 mile rides on the beach, so I knew it wasn't a fitness thing with him. If you are confident it's just laziness and there is nothing physically wrong with your horse, then the spurs would help.

Also do some exercises to help build up muscle. Some good ones are trotting up and down hills, and trotting poles. Doing things like that will help your horse maintain the canter better and get into shape.
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-10-2012, 09:14 PM
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It sounds like the pony may just need to get used to where their feet go.. cantering is a lot of work for a pony that lacks the back muscle. I find lunging in side reins helpful to my horse, when used properly. But letting the pony figure out the canter and urging them to continue on the ground (with or without side reins) is very helpful to them.

Under saddle, if the pony is fine cantering on the ground, it's just a case of asking for a little more each time, and using your hips to drive in unison with your inside leg to keep them going. It's very tiring at first, especially when the pony keeps wanting to go back to trot. But the key is asking for a few strides.. then pushing for a few more. Say your pony can do 5 strides.. do 4... then 5.. then push for 6.. then give the pony a break and try again, 4... 5... 6, and push for 7. Always end the cantering before the pony gives in.

That's my advice :) it has worked for me, maybe it'll work for you.
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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Hi I'm trying to give her benefit if the doubt and ride without spurs but maybe it should be something to try. I will defo try the trotting poles and gradually increasing the canter strides in turn deciding to go back to trot
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 04:26 AM
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A young horse like that probably thinks 5-6 strides is what you're asking for ;D

If you have a round pen, free lunge her. Make sure she's nice and warm first though, and chase her, MAKE her canter. If you don't have a round pen, cut off half your school with jumps high enough she can't go under/over. Then praise when she does it.

Then move on to lunging, if you need a longer lunge whip, and a smaller circle, so be it, but MAKE her do it, once she does a whold circle, reward.

Some may disagree, but if she's dropping out after 5-6strides I'd sit tight and ask again STRAIGHT away, more inside leg, and make her go until she gets it out of her head that she can only do so few strides. She can do it in a field, she can do it under saddle.
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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Ok do today I just gave a little nudge with my inside leg when I felt her slowing up. After doing this a few times she was cantering around the arena without breaking into trot and without me having to remind her that I wanted to canter
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 07:25 AM
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Superb! Glad its worked for you.. keep up the good work and remember to praise her as she does this right for you ;) A nice GOOODDD or a scratch with the inside hand is all it takes :)
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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Oh believe me she got lots of praise hopefully we will continue to learn
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 02:52 PM
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Yay I'm glad it worked for you! Congratulations :)
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-11-2012, 04:44 PM
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I had the same issue with my mare, although not a pony, I was too soft on her and she just needed a push. Same with on the lunge, she would hold it briefly then get lazy. I find a longer crop works best as when she decides to go out of it, I give her a tap while still cueing and it tells her to keep using that back end.

She now canters full circles and with an experienced trainer she canters the full arena without breaking stride (I am still a bit soft, but working on that lol)

Maybe that will help some. IF you get more strides than you have ever gotten slow her before she slows herself and that is the reward, but if she is making the choice she is winning.
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