Cantering: goofy mare!

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Cantering: goofy mare!

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    08-22-2010, 01:02 PM
Cantering: goofy mare!

Hey! So, I posted this in an elongated version of the English Riding threads... here is a shorter snippet - anybody's similar situations or stories and ideas to help overcome = much appreciated!

When cantering, my mare pauses mid stride, as though she is going to do a flying lead change (yes, she knows how to do these), and then goes right back into the same lead she was on. This is also compounded by the fact that she whips her head up in the air.

I've been having people more experienced than I ride her, including a trainer (who unfortunately lives out of state, so he doesn't get up here often). Out of about 4? People (again, more experienced than myself) I've had ride her, she does the afore-mentioned "special moves" for half of them. The most experienced riders she doesn't do it. Wondering if less-experienced (who don't know how to cue the flying lead change, and don't own horses who do this) accidentally give her a partial cue to do a lead change, but don't follow through? My mare tends to bop her head furiously when she is confused, so this is the only thing that makes sense. The trainer had her doing beautiful flying lead changes and cantering very nicely: he did mention she fell kind of hard on the forehand and once she was cantering, she kind of balked and slowing, but proper conditioning would help her (as might a harsher bit).

I detailed the situation a little more in the English Riding forum, if you are interested. Please help - I'd love ideas, and even more, I'd love to hear stories of horses who may have done this and it was corrected!
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    08-22-2010, 09:31 PM
Is there any chance what's actually happening is that she's hitching up in her hocks, and it takes her a second to get unstuck? I have a friend who's horse's hocks occaisionally lock up at the canter. It's like his leg goes up, gets stuck in the bent position, and it takes him a stride to get it unlocked. She has to get his hocks injected to prevent it, but that's all I can think it might be. If you were inadverantly cueing her for a lead change, I'd think she's just change instead of staying on the same lead. Is there someone who can watch from the ground, or can you longe her and see if she looks okay on her back legs?
    08-22-2010, 10:35 PM
Haha - I always watch from the ground, her canter scares me :-/ I'm wanting to start cantering her myself, but it's so big and uncontrolled that I'm scared, to be quite frank. I don't think my seat is good enough for that big of a canter (at least not to sit it properly, anyhow... I could stay on, but it would be ungraceful (at best) and uncomfortable for both of us, for sure). I WANT to start cantering her though! I canter other horses fine... fast, slow, heavy on the forehand, one that likes to throw his back legs out a little sometimes, lol... but not my mare!

Have you ever watched cutting horses, and the way some of them pause mid-air when cantering and have to make a sharp turn - they pause then switch leads (although sometimes, they dart back the other direction before their feet hit the ground and they go back to the same lead)? That is EXACTLY what she looks like :-0

Her back legs seem to move fine, however, now that you mention it I will pay attention next time I lunge just to be sure (and when someone rides). She did this with the former owner, she did this with my original riding instructor, she did it with a girl who has been riding for at least 8 years. She DID not do this with my cousin, who is a trainer, nor with a friend who has been riding basically her whole life (and shown successfully up to taking home World titles). She cantered beautifully for them, and it was between the instances of others riding...

She tosses her head really bad, too, when they ride... I don't get it. Thanks for the idea though, and I'll let you know when I have someone canter her next!

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