Cantering fast on trail - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Cantering fast on trail

My horse always lunges into his canter and gets very excited. He hits the ground very hard. How can I get a nice lope out of him?
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 09:43 PM
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do you ride western or English? what kind or bit do you use? Do you have a trainer that can help you? How do you ask your horse to canter/lope? Tell us a little about your horse, breed, age, training it has had. Tell us a little about you riding ability.

Now just a guess, most horse that I work with loping is not something they do a lot and training your horse to transition into a lope, as you are finding out, is rather important. When I am working with a horse and training them to lope I work on the transition into the lope before I spend a lot of time lopping. If I get a good transition from a trot into a lope, I only go about 3 or 4 strides, then drop my seat and go back down into a trot and then right down to a walk. I do this until I am getting good transition into a lope.
If you are having trouble with your horse lunging into the lope, when you ask for the lope you should feel your horse pick up their frontend as the horse starts to lope I pull back just a little, some may call it a "half halt" you want your horse to hesitate just a little if you hold to long they will brake gate and drop to a trot. If you do it right your horse should hesitate and transition into a lope. If it does, drop your seat set heavy and ask for the trot than walk.
Once your horse is making good transitions up and down now you are ready to work on continues loping. Keeping your horse calm is the idea here. Some horses have trouble with keeping a calm slow mind while their body is moving faster. Circles and serpentines are a good way to do slow your horse and keep them thinking. The idea behind the circles and serpentines is keeping your horse binding.
when your horse is strait from noise to tail they have lots of power, breaking that line takes power way from your horse and keeps them from getting lock up. Just a few tips.
if you answer the questions others might be able to better help you understand what is needed. My answer is very basic. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 10:03 PM
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Its called he needs more miles put on at the canter. My now 10 year old gelding use to get really excited when cantered and as a result went fast.

Took one summer of taking him on miles of dirt road and let him canter for miles. He started off going really fast but i just let him keep going and going.

When he got to where he wanted to break gait i kept him going even longer. Wasnt long and he slowed down and went the speed i wanted. All the horses i train get a ton of cantering miles on them.

I find horses who dont get the miles under their feet cantering tend to act more silly when you do canter. He used to get all whooped up and half rear, when hed go into the canter not any more. Lots of wet saddle blankets and miles and miles of cantering.

The long dirt roads also do wonders for horses who dont like to move out also. Gets those feet unstuck in a hurry.Also helps keep the feet trimmed down.

Last edited by spirit88; 12-03-2013 at 10:05 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-03-2013, 10:05 PM
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Note: I am not a trainer and I am working with my first green horse, so I have very little experience with this, but I had a trainer working with me on cantering my colt and this is what he had me do.

We worked in a round pen with me riding the horse and practicing our trot. He would have me trot slow, then speed up, then slow down, then speed up, and at some point I would ride that trot so fast that we were on the cusp of cantering. Then just a little more encouragement and we went into a canter. We cantered a few strides then transitioned to a trot and repeated. Do it both directions. That is what we did and it worked well for us.

As a matter of fact I was riding out on the trail the other day and we were trotting out and we were right on the cusp of cantering and I didn't push him to do it.....he's a pretty green horse and I was riding alone and not really planning to ask for the canter, but something magical happened, he transitioned into this wonderful canter out on the trail. And he didn't try to get fast or anything. We just had a wonderful little canter and then I slowed him back to a trot. The same way we did in the round pen. I wasn't even planning to canter and it just came naturally. Perfect, smooth transition. I am sure our round pen work set us up for success. He was used to trotting into a smooth canter transition, cantering for a bit, and then slowing to a trot again. It was wonderful! First time cantering him out alone on the trail. :)

PS. I find my horses listen better riding alone. They get a lot more excited cantering with other horses. I would never canter the colt in a group, for instance, or even with one other horse. We will practice this for a long, long time I would imagine before we canter with other horses.

Last edited by trailhorserider; 12-03-2013 at 10:13 PM.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-04-2013, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! All great answers! To answer Cowboy Bob; I ride Western pleasure on my 11 year old Quarab. I have had him for 6 years and we were both green when I got him. He is very willing and takes really good care of me on trail. I am a pretty good rider with a good seat and soft hands. I have ridden him bitless, with a comfort eggbutt snaffle and now with the same bit but with short shanks for more stopping power. I ride him on a loose rein when we are at the walk and I engage the rein when I am going to cue him for the trot. He is very responsive and all he needs to feel is the touch of my heels. When I cue him to canter, I shift my weight a little to side and pick up the opposite rein. I then tap him behind the girth with the opposite heel and that's when he takes off.
That is good advice to work on my transitions first.

To answer Spirit88, I have been trying to put miles in his canter but he scares me when he goes so fast. I don't have access to a round pen or even a ring so my training has to be out on trail. I just have a small area in his paddock for my GW.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-05-2013, 06:56 PM
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The best way I know to teach one to lope is in an arena. If you cant lope in the arena, lope the hell out of them. He may not know how to lope if he hasnt done it much. Put more miles under him and I bet he will slow down. Trot him more at the begining and tire him a little.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-05-2013, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ealti View Post
Wow! All great answers!

To answer Spirit88, I have been trying to put miles in his canter but he scares me when he goes so fast. I don't have access to a round pen or even a ring so my training has to be out on trail. I just have a small area in his paddock for my GW.

The round pen or areana isnt going to get the miles under his hoofs cantering. Beleive me my horse was like a race horse running down the dirt roads. My daughter was on her horse we left him in the dust. I have a thing for going fast so being on a horse that loves to run isnt an issue for me.

Really didnt take him long to slow down maybe 4 miles,he was super fit at the time. My horse when i started doing this had been on one trail prior to this.

I dont keep my green horses in the round pen or areana long maybe a week then out on the trails. It took maybe 3 rides on the long dirt roads. First day he went really really fast slowed down near the end.

Second day he had slowed enough my daughters horse could keep up. Third day he was like a normal horse that went a nice pace and on a loose rein. Main thing is you cant be scared to be on a fast horse. But the fast wont last long once they figure out its a ton of work.

For my boy it was 3 days he still can go fast when asked. Yeah i still let him rip up the road every now and again as fast as he can go he loves it. Love to race also which my daughter and i do almost daily when we ride.
Sharpie likes this.

Last edited by spirit88; 12-05-2013 at 07:30 PM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-05-2013, 10:02 PM
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If I gave the wrong impression, the round pen isn't "forever." It was just to get me and my horse cantering safely for the first time or two. And it taught us both how to transition into it. I think I did the round pen cantering sessions maybe twice. And then I sort of forgot about it. But when I was riding him on the trail a few days back and was doing a really good working trot, the canter just sort of came naturally because we had practiced it in the round pen.

Besides, I thought the problem was the horse not transitioning into the canter nicely but lunging into it. If you practice the transition in an enclosed area the horse has really no place to go so it takes some of the "go" out of them. It's just a place to practice transitioning, that's all. By all means, the idea is to canter out on the trail.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-05-2013, 10:26 PM
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From my experience it can be a few reasons

A hole in training, in which case lots of trot canter transitions as others have suggested

excitement, find a nice spot (long hill is fantastic) and let them go, and push for more/longer than the horse wants too, rinse and repeat, if you feel safe enough too slow and stop the horse reliably. I have also used a 'break' horse for this too, a good reliable horse that has good breaks and won't get over excited to lead. It can encourage a race but I feel better working at speed with another rider.

the other option could be lack of strength and balance causing the horse to rush in this case long hills, transitions, lunging etc should help

Or a mix of all 3, I've had a combo of all 3 with both horses I regularly ride
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-09-2013, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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All great answers again! Thx everyone! I will just have to put on my big girl chaps and do it!
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