Getting a crazy horse to do a steady canter - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Getting a crazy horse to do a steady canter

Hi there!

I have recently got this 16hh Warmblood who is incredible! Never bucks, spooks or rears really lovely horse however he does have a lot of fizz and speed and he can be strong! Which is fine I can handle it, infact that's what I love most about him. Anyway every time I ask him to canter he goes into this crazy canter and takes me one lap of the school to calm him down. I have mastered his trot and walk before I couldn't walk him without him trotting and couldn't trot him without him cantering and couldn't canter him without him galloping off! After 2 weeks of schooling he has stopped that completely! And I am now onto working on the canter. I was wandering if any of you genius peeps could give me any tips, advice or exercises on how I can get this horse doing a lovely, beautiful canter as soon as I ask?

Thank you very much :)
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 01:12 PM
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time.

Give him time. He needs to develop muscle tone to properly carry himself, and when he gains that strength it will be easier and easier for him to not have to rush to hold himself up...

Work on lots of transitions from walk to trot, trot to walk, trot to whoa. Whoa to trot, and don't be afraid to let him trot to canter for now. Two weeks is a very short period of time for a horse in training, so if you are seeing a lot of progress you are doing well - just don't get impatient and rush, you don't want a sore, resentful pony. It will take months to develop a fluid, soft canter.

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post #3 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 01:16 PM
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You could lunge him before you ride, to get him warmed up.

What kind of training does he have? He sounds young to me, in which case, a lot of young horses find going fast easier to hold their balance. Try half halting from time to time, and doing circles while you're in the canter.

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post #4 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace80908 View Post
time.

Give him time. He needs to develop muscle tone to properly carry himself, and when he gains that strength it will be easier and easier for him to not have to rush to hold himself up...

Work on lots of transitions from walk to trot, trot to walk, trot to whoa. Whoa to trot, and don't be afraid to let him trot to canter for now. Two weeks is a very short period of time for a horse in training, so if you are seeing a lot of progress you are doing well - just don't get impatient and rush, you don't want a sore, resentful pony. It will take months to develop a fluid, soft canter.

Hi Ace80908,

Thanks for your advice! That is true he has been in very light work/not been ridden for about 3 months now? So as you can imagine his muscle and fitness is not that great, I've been working on lots of exercises in trot to help get him feeling more balanced such as figure of 8's, Diamonds, half circles, circles. If you have any more exercises that you know help with balance that would be great if you could suggest some! Yes I have lots of patience and was amazed at how quickly he got the hang of it so quickly! Which is why I felt the need to write at the beginning at what an incredible horse he is as he is not genuinely naughty he does try just has a bit too much pent up energy and like you said is not fit enough to carry himself properly! X

Thank you,
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BornToRun View Post
You could lunge him before you ride, to get him warmed up.

What kind of training does he have? He sounds young to me, in which case, a lot of young horses find going fast easier to hold their balance. Try half halting from time to time, and doing circles while you're in the canter.
Hi BornToRun,

He's 12 but does act like a 5 year old some times! He does have training just hasn't had to use it properly in about 2 years so he has lost a lot of muscle and just needs reminding to some basic rules!
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 01:46 PM
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Sounds like you have accomplished a lot already in a short time. Sometimes it takes them longer to feel balanced and comfortable at the canter. You say he gets better after a lap around…so then what do you do? I personally would keep cantering….put some miles on him. When he feels like he wants to stop-go a bit farther, then stop when you want to. Let him catch his air for a few minutes and try again. I would bet you will get a better transition and a nicer canter. Go around a couple times, then stop. Repeat as many times as you want, just make sure you always stop him when he is going nicely. Stopping and resting is his reward for doing it right.

For some reason, when I rode English, it seems like we never cantered a lot. It has taken me a couple of years of western and having a reining trained horse to realize the value of loping. Truly. When I was at a show, in warm ups loping circles for half an hour and my trainer came in and just said-"keep loping, he is just getting warmed up"…..I thought I was going to die. We NEVER did that huntseat. I tell you what. Loping circles and rectangles-not on the rail- is a great thing for control and balance.
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by franknbeans View Post
Sounds like you have accomplished a lot already in a short time. Sometimes it takes them longer to feel balanced and comfortable at the canter. You say he gets better after a lap around…so then what do you do? I personally would keep cantering….put some miles on him. When he feels like he wants to stop-go a bit farther, then stop when you want to. Let him catch his air for a few minutes and try again. I would bet you will get a better transition and a nicer canter. Go around a couple times, then stop. Repeat as many times as you want, just make sure you always stop him when he is going nicely. Stopping and resting is his reward for doing it right.

For some reason, when I rode English, it seems like we never cantered a lot. It has taken me a couple of years of western and having a reining trained horse to realize the value of loping. Truly. When I was at a show, in warm ups loping circles for half an hour and my trainer came in and just said-"keep loping, he is just getting warmed up"…..I thought I was going to die. We NEVER did that huntseat. I tell you what. Loping circles and rectangles-not on the rail- is a great thing for control and balance.
Thanks franknbeans! Very helpful x
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 08:04 PM
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I read something that Clinton Anderson said somewhere; I can't find the original source material: He took his horse out and cantored her (well, he said "loped" since he's riding western) for 15 minutes straight every day for weeks. She soon learned that her life was going to be about a lot of cantoring, and started conserving her energy by cantoring at a more relaxed pace. He never had the problem again. I don't think he had to do it for very long before she got the picture.

He also talks about "cruising". That's where you drop the reins and just hold on to the saddle to keep your seat, letting the horse cantor all over the arena in any direction he wants; BUT, the secret is, he's not allowed to downshift into a trot. As soon as he tries to change gaits, you kick him back into gear. It sounds like a good compliment to the technique I mentioned above this one. One is to get him thinking, the other is to get him listening to your speed cues.

Good luck!

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post #9 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 08:12 PM
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As everyone else has said --> time and MILES.

And what ecasey was referring to above can be thought of as "wet saddle blankets". When a horse puts in a long, hard, day, with lots of cantering and lots of miles, and this is done on a somewhat regular basis, the horse will learn not to be too fiesty because they know they have a long, hard day ahead of them and will need their energy.

Long days and lots of miles are a great way to teach an energetic horse to calm down .... naturally, and by their own decision.

I used to have a horse named Scooter. Wonderfully trained horse, and he would do anything you ask, but I couldn't even walk on a loose rein when I got him. He'd been round penned to death, bascially. It took all summer to achieve a somewhat calm and relaxed horse, but I rode him tons of miles every single day all summer. He will never be a calm horse (not his demeanor as he was very high strung) but I helped to show him that it was *okay* to relax, and he didn't have to worry about me all. The. Time.

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post #10 of 11 Old 01-04-2014, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace80908 View Post
time.

Work on lots of transitions from walk to trot, trot to walk, trot to whoa. Whoa to trot, and don't be afraid to let him trot to canter for now. Two weeks is a very short period of time for a horse in training, so if you are seeing a lot of progress you are doing well - just don't get impatient and rush, you don't want a sore, resentful pony. It will take months to develop a fluid, soft canter.
Your horse sounds a lot like mine was when I first got him, I agree with what Ace is saying, a lot of time for him to calm down and relax, and tons of transitions.
Canter him a lot, he needs a lot of miles.
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