Canter problems? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-01-2011, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Canter problems?

hello, i have a 5 yo paint gelding, and he havnt mastered the canter quite yet, he has a very big, clobber the ground type of canter, how do i regulate it? like into a nice slow, and flowing canter, I will take all advice, thanks to all :)
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-01-2011, 10:12 PM
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sounds like he's green and unbalanced! do you know if he can trot balanced correctly and following his feet? one of my old trainers used to say if you cant trot around balanced in a circle, you shouldn't be cantering. not saying that you cant canter, its just that your horse might not be ready yet. theres no real quick fix, you just have to work on balancing him, holding him together between your legs in the corners, not letting him run through them, making sure he's not on the forehand. and making sure he's bending correctly helps tremendously too. its a slow process and basically all you can do if ride it and fix what he needs fixed. the more you ride it out, the better it will get. draw reins might be of assistance if his main problem is bending, but its a tool to help not a quick fix. good luck
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-01-2011, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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i picked up a german martigale, i havnt tried it yet because he currently has strangles :( but its suppost to help him with his head placement and such, but to get him off his forehand, how would i do that, (dumb question i know) but this is my first horse ive trained, ive always ridden very experianced horses
thank you
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-01-2011, 10:51 PM
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First off, I understand EXACTLY where you are coming from. Cinny is going on 8 this year and I've had him since last April. I bought him as untrained even though he was broke to ride, but barely. He was very unbalanced the moment I got him and we have had to work work work...very hard for months. First, I recommend you stop trying to canter, at least for a while, your horse is not ready for it and is clobbering around because it has not built up the balance, muscle or stamina to do it. I also recommend you find a trainer that can help you out, but I know that isn't always feasible. For work, I would trot trot trot and then when you think you can't possibly trot anymore....keep trotting. Trot in circles, figure 8's and serpentines. All this trotting will build on the balance as well as add a little stamina and muscle.

Don't be too impatient. It sounds like you have a lot of work ahead of you and believe me...canter is like the jackpot at the end of the rainbow right now. But you want it to be right, relaxed and simple for your horse or else you will both be frustrated. I have been working Cinny at a trot since canter, because if I tried he just plodded around much like you described. Just this month I started to canter, we are a little rough but each time gets better. I still only do 2 circles half arena, then trot, then two more and switch sides. You need to gradually build up those muscles.

Sadly, I don't think the German Martingale will do anything except make the problem worse as well as cause him to have sore muscles or even worse...possibly injure himself. Don't get me wrong, I have used a German Martingale on horses before, but if your horse is going around unbalance it will only do harm. If you insist on using it, please please use it with a trainer's guidance.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-02-2011, 01:18 AM
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Please don't use a german martingale for this. It will not fix the canter, and at the moment the last thing you need to worry about is where his head is. It will NOT get him off the forehand, any gadgets on the horse's head/neck will do nothing to get the horse off the forehand unless appropriate drive and energy is created in the hind end.

My new boy is a very green warmblood gelding, who has problems in canter. I spent 2 weeks lunging him before I even got on him as he was so unbalanced. I did not put side reins on him, just a bridle, saddle and ran the line through the bit and over his ears. Just to allow him to find his own balance without interference.

Under saddle, I have worked diligently in maintaining his relaxation, rhythm and balance in walk and trot, and ensuring that he has a very good 'go, stop and turn' button.
I did huge amounts of work in leg yield and shoulder in, in order for him to gain a stronger understanding of working into an outside rein contact and coming off the inside leg.
Multiple transitions - working on a 20m circle I would put in a transition every 1/4 circle, between gaits or within gaits.
Multiple changes of rein and working on 'snowman' figures, so going from a 20m circle, changing rein onto a 15m circle, changing rein onto a 10m circle and so on.

I did not canter my horse under saddle until he had been worked 5-6 days a week for 2 months doing balance and strengthening exercises under saddle and on the lunge.

You cannot force balance or speed it up. All you can do is work on it step by step, always keeping the horse confident and relaxed. If you feel that the horse is losing balance in trot, then bring him back to walk for a few strides before trotting again. Never allow him to work in the same gait at the same tempo for more than 20m at a time, as this is where the horse will start to come unbalanced and fall onto the forehand.

When I started asking for canter, I would ride a spiral in trot form a 20m circle down to a volte, spiral slowly back out and while still in leg yield, get off his back and ask for canter. It is important to get off his back in this early stage, as it allows him to find his balance and for his back to come up under you, without trying to deal with where your weight is.
Try to remain nice and quiet, be a passenger rather than a rider for a little while. Just let him canter on a nice wide 20m circle, give him a fairly long rein and just let him work it out for himself.
Don't make a big deal of canter, and don't set aside a whole ride just to work on it. Simply 'sprinkle' a few canters in here and there, when you feel that he will easily 'pop' into it from trot. These opportunities will gradually increase, and eventually you will be able to ask for canter whenever you wish.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-02-2011, 02:25 AM
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Kayty; nice ideas and well explained.
Thanks for that. I too am trying to slow my boy down. When he's slowed and balanced, I try for a couple of canter strides, then back to slow trot.

It will come.
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-02-2011, 02:34 AM
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great post kayty
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-02-2011, 06:36 AM
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You have already been given great advise, but I would like to add that his great big clober the ground canter means that he will have a lovely collected canter when you can achieve it.

It is easier to get there from a great big heavy canter than the fast small stride ones in my experience.
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canter , flowing , slow

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