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Developing Canter on Green Horse

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  • Developing a horses cantwr
  • Canter transition exercises for green horse

 
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    06-21-2009, 08:42 PM
  #11
Started
Update!

I just got in from the barn, the rain has stopped! By nothing short of a miracle, the arena is basically dry, so I put the lungeline on Scout and gave him a little exercise. Between the rain and a now fully healed saddle sore, he hasn't been ridden in a while, but I may saddle up tomorrow. Scout lunged beautifully, he was relaxed and calm, holding his head nearly on the vertical (a smidge ahead). I warmed him up well at the walk and trot, lots of transitions. I cantered him once on the right lead (his good one), he took off immediately on cue and did two laps of good, even paced canter without hauling on the rope, then came down to a trot on cue. I turned him around and tried the left lead and he was up to his same old tricks. I brought him back down to a trot to regroup when he took the wrong lead as quickly as possible (he has a lot of go), and asked again. He took the wrong lead for half a stride before he swapped. I cued for a downshift and we regrouped again. The third time he took off on the correct lead and held it for about six strides! I immediately praised him and allowed him to stop and rest. I sent him out to the left again, did a lap of trot and cued for canter. Again, a little rough on the transition (two strides of fast trot), but he took the correct lead again! We did two more trot/canter transitions to the left before we cooled down. Hopefully I can ride tomorrow, and we'll see if Scout's lightbulb moment carries over, lol.
Thank you all so much for your input! I'll get another update up when we ride!
     
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    06-22-2009, 03:59 PM
  #12
Foal
Sounds like you are making good progress. As you said I wasn't recommending you throw your weight around. You have to stay balanced in order for him to make the transition, but your cues can help him. Also, you have to remember not to lean forward because he needs to keep his weight on his hindquarters when he canters, so if you are leaning forward than he has to compensate for you and then he isn't as balanced as he should be.

Also, I would like to add that you do not need side reins. I personally disagree with them. In my experience it teaches the horse to lean on the bit (especially young horses) and they don't really learn how to give to pressure. In an old trainer's words "they carry themselves right because it hurts them less." He swears by side reins, however I realized that after I built softness in horses they became more unresponsive after using side reins. Also, I feel that they can start to discourage the natural arc of the horse while traveling in a circle. This is just my opinion and I felt I would share.

Keep up the good work and keep practicing your transitions and rewarding the correct lead. Good luck and let us know how it is going.
     
    06-22-2009, 07:58 PM
  #13
Started
Update II!

I rode Scout today, and he did really well considering his 2+ weeks of downtime (minor saddle sore, then came the Flood, lol). We lunged to warm up, and he took his leads correctly again, much like yesterday. When we had warmed up under saddle, I got him cantering his good direction, and although the transitions started out a little rough, they cleaned up a bit and were always correct leads. We had a little trouble the other direction, the problem way. I got a wrong lead the first time, I shut him down and circled him. The next two times I just got this demonic version of a trot. My arena is about 120x90 feet, so I cut it in half and tried a smaller circle to keep the bend in his frame, and I got a correct lead (yay!!). I ended our canter work for the day on that note (it's uber hot and humid here today. Yick.), and we moved on to some walk/trot serpentines and circle patterns to cool out. Yay progress!! We're probably showing on the 12th of July (I'm in 4-H, my last year, so I'm pretty obligated to do the showmanship at this show least, and the rail classes for fun and experience. This is probably the only showing we'll do this year). My plan is to get correct gaits and leads on the rail with calm. If my greenie does that, I may cry with happiness, lol. His first show, so we'll see...
Thanks again everyone!!
     
    06-22-2009, 10:29 PM
  #14
Foal
Also, I would spend more time on his bad side. When I showed in 4-H my horse wouldn't pick up his left lead so we practiced transitions on that side a lot and did a lot of loping on that side so that he could get used to the feel and build up the correct muscles needed to hold that lead. It was a good thing too because that direction was the direction we traveled on the rail in both western pleasure and western horsemanship.

It worked for me, so I thought I would share it. Good luck at your 4-H show!
     
    07-05-2009, 08:23 AM
  #15
Started
Another Update!

Hey!
Just wanted to do another update on Scout's canter!
We rode yesterday, and he was a bit full of himself (lots of transitions and circling to start out). I got him calm enough to not run like an idiot if I held the reins on the buckle, so I picked up the reins and we tried the cantering. He did beautifully! He took the correct lead every time. He was balanced enough to do a full lap and a half on his good direction (without dragging me to the gate at speed) and the equivalent of 2 laps in the bad direction. He's cantering well on the lunge, keeping up the gait for several laps in each direction on a loose line. He hasn't taken a wrong lead on the lunge in nearly 2 weeks!

We're showing a week from today, Scout's very first show, definitely with me, and probably ever. I'd rather just show walk-trot with this little guy, but since it's 4-H and I'm over 12 I have to canter (Who knows why, what if your 18 and are a green rider in 4-H? OK, I won't rant...), so we'll just do it. My goal as of now is to have Scout walk and trot with rhythm and relaxation on the rail, take his left lead (the bad one, oh, I can't call it that anymore, really) correctly, and maintain the right lead in his classes.

There's a non 4-H show in early August that offers 12-18 and 18+ walk trot rail classes that I'm thinking of taking Scout to, weather permitting. Although, August is a ways away yet, and he's improving every day...

Thanks again everyone for all the wonderful advice!
     
    07-05-2009, 10:48 AM
  #16
Started
We had a mare at my barn that absolutely refused to pick of the left lead, too. Lol

Try starting him on a really small circle on the lunge line, so he's bent and he has to pick up the right lead. Then let him out into the normal circle if he picks it up. It worked with my TB, even though he's still a little stiffer on the left side. It's hard for them because it's like a person learning to write with their opposite hand.
     
    07-11-2009, 08:03 AM
  #17
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaieuticManege    
Have you tried over exaggerating your body position when asking for the left lead? Open up your right leg (and move it slightly forward) to encourage him to move that way and move your left leg back some and have it come against his side.
I know this post is dead but I was bored and reading old posts.
This part really has me thinking.
We are talking about the LEFT lead here??
If you want the LEFT lead your ask with the RIGHT leg.
We are going counterclockwise around the ring?? Moving to our left along the rail. You move your RIGHT LEG back behind the girth to push the hunches towards the inside of the ring, you pull the RIGHT rein to move the forehand towards the outside of the ring and cluck to the horse to break into the lope at the same time. Move the LEFT leg forward openning that side up to allow the horse to escape in that direction.
By doing this you are burying the right leg and exposing the left leaving little option for the pony to pick the right lead.
With a little practice the amount of crabbing you do to bury a leg/lead become less and less.

Your directions are just the OPPOSITE of what you want for a left lead?????
     
    07-11-2009, 09:18 AM
  #18
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiosDad    
I know this post is dead but I was bored and reading old posts.

If you want the LEFT lead your ask with the RIGHT leg.
Actually, no. The inside leg at the girth cues the transition. The outside leg is passive slightly behind the girth, simply there to prevent the hindquarter from falling out.

Quote:
You move your RIGHT LEG back behind the girth to push the hunches towards the inside of the ring, you pull the RIGHT rein to move the forehand towards the outside of the ring and cluck to the horse to break into the lope at the same time.
No. You don't move the haunches or the shoulders anywhere for the transition. If you start moving either, then you make the horse crooked and thus the transition more difficult. The horse should be 'straight' when asking for the transition and should 'remain straight' during the transition.

You don't pull on any rein.

Quote:
Move the LEFT leg forward openning that side up to allow the horse to escape in that direction.
By doing this you are burying the right leg and exposing the left leaving little option for the pony to pick the right lead.
With a little practice the amount of crabbing you do to bury a leg/lead become less and less.
Inside leg stays at the girth and gives the aid for the up transition. The only thing you 'open' (or 'give') is the inside rein so the inside fore/inside shoulder is not blocked and thus the horse can jump forward into the lead once the outside hind begins the transition.


And this is why people have such a hard time teaching canter leads. They want to throw the horse off balance, make him crooked and all sorts of other things.

One must understand what's going on. The horse is going to have a weak lead because he's going to have a natural crookedness (moving with his haunches off to one side) because one of those hind legs that begins the depart just isn't going to want to bear the weight. The green horse is thus going to try and take the canter lead crooked and from the inside fore, rather than the outside hind and this is what gets them mixed up with their legs.

Before attempting to teach canter to a green horse, the horse should be relatively straight and supple and willing to bear equal weight on both hind legs.

In the beginning, any canter lead is a good canter lead, work with what the horse gives you and praise the try.

There are a number of exercises that can help set the horse up for the correct lead and if the horse is having troubles then you need to go back to the trot and work on gymnasticizing the horse and then lead into the canter with those exercises.

The thing I didn't like about what was going on here is that the OP was trying to make a deadline for a show. I am completely non-supportive of schedules and time frames and deadlines for horses. Puts too much pressure on horse and human and often times leads to steps being skipped, which ALWAYS catch up to you.

It's also quite normal for a horse to get the departs one day and not the next. They are not machines and neither are the people riding them.
     
    07-11-2009, 11:35 AM
  #19
Banned
We are teaching leads to a novice horse. A horse that doesn't accept the left lead. In a few days of doing like I said the horse should be picking up that left lead. Later a simple movement of the leg indicates which lead you want. Take any green horse and I can pick the correct lead with little problems.
Google Al Dunning and argue with him
     
    07-11-2009, 11:39 AM
  #20
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
No. You don't move the haunches or the shoulders anywhere for the transition. If you start moving either, then you make the horse crooked and thus the transition more difficult. The horse should be 'straight' when asking for the transition and should 'remain straight' during the transition.

You don't pull on any rein.
Setting a horse up like I said puts him in a position where the unwanted lead is burried gives him little choice as to what lead to take. We ask for leads on a circle because the outside lead is harder while circling to pick up. By crabbing the horse we are setting the horse up to expose this left lead and bury the right lead.
Can you using your way pick any lead and in a few tries get the horse unto that lead?? I can.
     

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