Cantering a Green Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Question Cantering a Green Horse

I'm working with a lovely little QH mare, who happens to be very green.

She had ten rides before I first hopped on her, and I've put five on since.
At the walk and jog (yes, she's very western and jogs nicely) she moves with a level topline (poll at withers), and always does everything slowly. She is very sensitive to seat cues, is getting more consistant with moving off of my leg and overall is nice to work with... at the walk and jog.

At the canter she bucks a bit, but mostly just really hunches her back (not in the good, collected way either) sticks her nose between her knees and doesn't respond to seat or leg.

Her saddle fits (checked by a fitter) and she is being ridden in a loose ring french link snaffle.

My rides on her always include mostly walking and jogging, circles, upward and downward transitions, bending, then just a half round in the arena at a canter.

Should I continue to lightly canter her as I am doing, or shall I just work and walk/jog, and re-introduce the canter at a later date? It's just that she's so solid with walk/jog and seat cues so I'm unsure of how to proceed.

Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 04:48 AM
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Have you tried cantering her on a longe or in a round pen? My geenie was terrible at the canter, but after working with him on the longe he sort of "got it", we did it without and then with a rider on his back, on a large circle, and he loosened right up. That's all I can suggest, though.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm... That's a thought!
I'll have to give it a shot tomorrow.

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post #4 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 02:01 PM
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a lot of time Green horses feel very awkward at a canter with a rider on their back. I suggest long lining her and getting her used to just maintaining a canter, and slowly work with it in riding. She may give you a buck or two, but if you keep working with her and asking her to relax at a canter you will get it with time. :)

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post #5 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 02:03 PM
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Since green horses tend to be unbalanced, they can lurch into a canter. This tends to cause the rider to grab face. Which in turns causes confusion for the horse.

Have someone spot you when you ask to see if this is the case.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 02:06 PM
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I like to canter them up a hill or slight incline, makes it much harder for them to buck and they generally learn that pretty quickly! Since the canter is a three beat gait it is more uneven than the trot or the walk and can feel more awkward for a new horse when there is a riders weight in the saddle. Just keep out of her mouth and push her on, she will soon learn it is much easier to just canter rather than bother with misbehaving!

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post #7 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick replies guys!

I'll work her on the lunge tonight w/t/c, the just ride w/t.
Thanks for the suggestions. I just wanted to make sure I was working in the right direction.

...you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. ... Explore. Dream. Discover.”
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 05:39 PM
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I had the same problem with my green quarter horse when he was in training. I put a flank/bucking cinch on him and he hasn't done it since.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-05-2010, 06:29 PM
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I agree...green horses struggle with balance at first. Totally normal and something that she will get better at with time. Try not to ask her to canter in smaller circles (when you're on her back) for awhile. Give her as much room as possible. As she feels more comfortable and gains balance, things will improve. It helps to be as quiet in the saddle as possible and give her as much rein as possible.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-08-2010, 06:39 PM
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I never ask for a canter on a green horse. I ask for a faster trot until I get a canter then I keep it fro a whole and let the horse go back to a trot. Pretty soon the horse will offer the canter sooner rather than work extra hard trotting.

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