I recently volunteered to help a family condition and finish some of their horses, as they cannot ride much due to varying circumstances and are not very experienced.
I'm starting off with the 'easiest' horse, a 15 year old Morgan mare who appears to be very sweet... quite willing on the lead, quiet, perhaps a little on the lazy side. Her owners explained to me that she has a tough time with her canter departure, often 'stumbling' as she starts. My theory is that she's usually too strung out or heavy on the forehand to be able to perform a clean canter depart, or for that matter maintain the canter.
I took her out to the round pen to work with her the first time today and she did fairly well, but she was not at all willing to canter going either direction on or off the longe. I got after her a little, but I didn't push the matter too far since it's the first time I've done anything with her and the owners were watching closely.
My question is, would it be better for me to keep pushing her until I can get her to canter on the longe reliably, or could it possibly benefit her more to do some undersaddle work to help concentrate on getting those haunches active, shoulders up, and a good bend? Any other tips?