Do I need a trainer? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-18-2011, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Do I need a trainer?

So for the past few months I've been trying to train my mare. She was a brood mare most of her life and had a minimal amount of training before. She is perfect on the trails and at a walk (I can ride her bareback with just a halter and clip on reins) and pretty good at the trot with just a few corrections. My big problem is the canter. As soon as she starts to canter she tries to gallop. It's very difficult to slow her down. I have a lot of riding experience but minimal training. I've tried circles, half halts, frequent gait changes, and riding in a round pen but nothing seems to work. The owner of the barn I board at is a very good trainer and I have been thinking of going to her for help but I was hoping to be the one to train my mare and gain some experience. Does anyone have tips I can try, or is professional training my best option?
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-18-2011, 12:28 AM
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My gelding use to rush his canter too - all the way into a four beat gallop. Mainly because he was unbalanced, so he'd rush to put each foot down until it was a full gallop. I don't know if your mare is doing the same thing or not. If so, health check first, then muscle/strength development, and more collected work at the walk and trot to make the canter easier. I'll be interested to see more suggestions on this. Best of luck.
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-18-2011, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm. I never thought about her being off balanced. How can I tell if she is? Do I need a vet to tell?
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-18-2011, 12:51 AM
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It is quite possible that she just doesn't have the muscle to carry a rider *and* hold a canter. Lots of transitions can really help her build the muscle necessary to drive her from behind.

Either in a round pen or in a half ring, start with a good consistent balanced trot. A good canter always starts with a good trot. Ask for the canter and let her canter about 5 strides. Down shift to the trot and regain the consistent trot. Ask again for the canter and allow the 5 stride canter. Repeat, slowly adding in strides when she is balanced and receptive.

This will work two ways. It will give her the balance and muscle she needs and it will teach her that you dictate the gait and the speed. In essence, you want her to 'ride with the brakes on'. You want her to do things your way.

Good luck! Keep us posted!
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-18-2011, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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That actually makes a lot of sense. I've bad to build her muscle up because for the past year or two all she did was stand in a stall. She also does not always want to pick up the correct lead. Thanks for the advice! I'm definately going to try that!
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-18-2011, 12:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaintLover17 View Post
So for the past few months I've been trying to train my mare. She was a brood mare most of her life and had a minimal amount of training before. She is perfect on the trails and at a walk (I can ride her bareback with just a halter and clip on reins) and pretty good at the trot with just a few corrections. My big problem is the canter. As soon as she starts to canter she tries to gallop. It's very difficult to slow her down. I have a lot of riding experience but minimal training. I've tried circles, half halts, frequent gait changes, and riding in a round pen but nothing seems to work. The owner of the barn I board at is a very good trainer and I have been thinking of going to her for help but I was hoping to be the one to train my mare and gain some experience. Does anyone have tips I can try, or is professional training my best option?
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You say you've tried riding in a round pen? So does that mean that outside of that you ride on trails or in an arena. Out of the trail is not the best place to teach that cantering =/= running around like a fool because all they see is open space. In an arena there's really no where to go; it's a psychological thing. If you are riding in an arena, I would say that when you ask her to canter try to really, really relax. I'm sure if she does that every time you're anticipating her running off and getting tense, so you could be feeding her goey nature. If you are relaxed...I'd say get a trainer. Honestly, if you're asking yourself that you probably do need one. But I'm of the belief that everyone should have a "trainer" or someone they can go to for help when they're not sure of what to do.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-18-2011, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry I wasn't clear. I ride mostly in a large arena and occasionally I use a round pen. On the trails I never go faster than a trot.
I think I'm going to talk to the trainer tomorrow and see if she also thinks my mare just needs to build muscle. If she does I can work on this myself. If not I will probably hire her.
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