Cantering Issues
 
 

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Cantering Issues

This is a discussion on Cantering Issues within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Asking for bend in the corners, horse
  • Half halt ask canter

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    11-14-2011, 05:39 PM
  #1
Weanling
Cantering Issues

So I am hoping you guys can give me some advice with some issues I have been having with Gypsy. First off, when I ask her to canter from a trot she break into a VERY fast trot for a few strides then she will canter. She has always done this but it never really bothered me before. When she picks up her quicker trot, I half halt her, and ask her to canter again. The problem is I don't seem to be making any progress with this. Is there something else I should be doing?

The second problem is that once she canters, she takes off at a run, and it takes a lot for me to half halt her and bring her back. It isn't like she is bolting, it just is a VERY fast canter. And half the time when I half halt her, she will break into a running trot, rather than a slower canter. One person has told me that I can't allow her to do this, and must half halt her right away - which is obvious - but she just doesn't half halt right away. Another person (and I don't really know her experience) told me to allow her to canter like this, until she is tired then continue to push her on my terms so she figures out not to do this. However, it seems counter intuitive, and Gypsy is the kind of horse that has seemingly endless energy. So what should I be doing with this?

The third problem is that when she is cantering her balance is off. She turns corners with her shoulder dropped, almost at a counter bend and leaning far into the corner. I have heard this described as 'turning like a motorcycle' if that helps you. She has fallen (slid around a corner) with a rider on her before when the footing wasn't great. I am afraid that she will do this again unless she learns to carry herself correctly. I use my leg and rein aids to ask her to lift her shoulder and for a more correct bend, but she doesn't really respond. Any advice?

Also, yes she responds to my half halts and other rein and leg aids at the walk and trot just fine. Its just at the canter that she decides to stop listening all together. Oh, and I am riding in a western saddle (due to the lack of a well fitting english saddle) with a snaffle bit if that makes any difference.

Any advice is appreciated. I am not SUPER experienced, so please make it as clear as possible.
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    11-14-2011, 05:42 PM
  #2
Foal
Sounds to me she does not have the strength to canter properly yet. I would work on cantering on the lunge line, not only to build up muscle but to work on the cue. Also, work on other exercises which will held her build muscle and carry herself.
     
    11-14-2011, 05:52 PM
  #3
Weanling
Oh, and -usually- canters fine on the trail. It is mostly in the arena that she has these problems.

What other exercises do you recommend?
     
    11-15-2011, 07:57 PM
  #4
Weanling
Anybody else?
     
    11-15-2011, 08:10 PM
  #5
Foal
Seeing very similar situation, also curious to appropriate ways to handle it.
     
    11-15-2011, 09:42 PM
  #6
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowzy    
Oh, and -usually- canters fine on the trail. It is mostly in the arena that she has these problems.

That is because arenas have corners, trails do not.
     
    11-15-2011, 09:55 PM
  #7
Super Moderator
This horse is being ridden with too much rein and not enough leg. She is unbalanced on circles because she does not respond properly to the rider's inside leg. She leans in on the corners but handles the straight parts fine because that is where the rider is using the outside rein to keep her from 'falling' into her circles and corners.

The best exercise to teach the proper response to the rider's inside leg is to teach 'leg yielding exercises'. These should always be done with the rider 'pushing' the horse away from the gate or barn or other horses -- anywhere that the horse would rather be. A green horse must learn to move off of an inside leg in order to handle corners. It should be the rider's goal to be able to ride a horse deep into the corners with a correct bend in the horse from nose to tail.

From about the 3rd ride on, I start asking a horse to walk and jog down the long side of the arena, make a half circle at the end of the straight side and then from a place about 20 or 30 feet from that side, I try to keep the horse as parallel as I can to the long side and use my inside leg to push the horse back over to the rail. It is easy to just get the neck to bend and have the horse's body stay stiff. It takes practice and an observer help a green rider get it right.

This exercise has worked so well for at least 40 years. I use it on every green horse to teach yielding to my inside leg and to teach the horse to bend through its body. Then, as the horse becomes more responsive, I use these aids to get round circles without the horse dropping a shoulder and finally to get reverse bend in circles.

Once a horse responds correctly to the 'lateral aids' -- using the leg and rein on the same side -- I start teaching the 'diagonal aids'. These are the aids the rider uses when the inside rein and outside leg are the dominant aids while the inside leg only maintains proper bend. These are much more difficult and a horse can only start getting them right when they have learned to work well with the lateral aids.

I hope this makes sense. It is getting late and I am getting rummy. I will try to make it more clear tomorrow.

Cherie
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    11-15-2011, 10:15 PM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder    
That is because arenas have corners, trails do not.
I know that... I meant that she listens to my half halts and canter cues better on the trail. Obviously I can't compare how she does corners on the trail and corners in the arena. I just thought I would add that if it would be helpful for anybody.
     
    11-15-2011, 10:29 PM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
This horse is being ridden with too much rein and not enough leg. She is unbalanced on circles because she does not respond properly to the rider's inside leg. She leans in on the corners but handles the straight parts fine because that is where the rider is using the outside rein to keep her from 'falling' into her circles and corners.
I know one of my biggest problems is riding with too much rein. It comes from not enough real lessons when I was learning to ride but I am gradually getting better at it. Obviously my riding like this has affected her over time, and now I am working on fixing the problems I have caused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
The best exercise to teach the proper response to the rider's inside leg is to teach 'leg yielding exercises'. These should always be done with the rider 'pushing' the horse away from the gate or barn or other horses -- anywhere that the horse would rather be. A green horse must learn to move off of an inside leg in order to handle corners. It should be the rider's goal to be able to ride a horse deep into the corners with a correct bend in the horse from nose to tail.

From about the 3rd ride on, I start asking a horse to walk and jog down the long side of the arena, make a half circle at the end of the straight side and then from a place about 20 or 30 feet from that side, I try to keep the horse as parallel as I can to the long side and use my inside leg to push the horse back over to the rail. It is easy to just get the neck to bend and have the horse's body stay stiff. It takes practice and an observer help a green rider get it right.
She leg yields fine at the walk as far as I can tell. I don't really have anybody to observe and help me to make sure I am doing it right for the most part though. I haven't done much work at the trot with leg yields, so I will work more on that. However, on occasion (rarely) for some reason with leg yields she gets in a mood where she will only leg yield one direction. Fairly sure this is either (A) a result of my riding or (B) stubbornness or confusion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
This exercise has worked so well for at least 40 years. I use it on every green horse to teach yielding to my inside leg and to teach the horse to bend through its body. Then, as the horse becomes more responsive, I use these aids to get round circles without the horse dropping a shoulder and finally to get reverse bend in circles.
So pretty much once I have the yielding down right and she is doing it really well, I should start using the leg yielding cues (inside leg and rein) to ask her to bend correctly and lift her shoulder? I'm sure I sound stupid, but I am a little confused here and I want to make sure I am getting this right.

Maybe I will be able to get somebody to take pictures/a video of me while I am working on what you recommended, but no guarantees.
     
    11-15-2011, 11:10 PM
  #10
Super Moderator
I agree that the horse is doing this from a lack of balance at the canter and a lack of responsiveness to the inside leg.

ONe small excersize you can do is what they call "volte" (which is a very small circle) in each corner of the arena. At the trot, go down the long side, in the corner you ask the horse for a very small cirlce but only go as small as the horse can maintina without losing all of her forward momentum. I bet you will find that she can do this much better in one direction than the other.
Doing this at the trot, both directions and working on the leg yeilding excersize of Cherie's will help.

Also, don't always stay on the rail. Move all around the arena and do a variety of things right in the middle, so you horse wont be dependent on the rail.

As for helping with the canter strike off, once you have some improvement in her suppleness and balance at the trot, put a ground pole just before a corner., Trot up to it and just after the trot pole, ask for the canter depart. Experiment if it works better for your horse to ask for it just before or just after going over the pole. The idea is that the horse will be focussed, maybe slowing a bit and lifting her feet up and all this will help her make a change of gaits. And, being that she is entering a corner, she should be bent to the inside a wee bit, so it should facilitate taking the correct lead.
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