Getting Drivers to Canter

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Getting Drivers to Canter

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    01-01-2008, 02:28 PM
Getting Drivers to Canter

Hi, I have 2 mares who have driving foundations but ride also. Up to this point I haven't cantered them. They both have a collected walk and trot.
When attempting to canter in the ring, I kick them and kiss, but they trot and faster and become scared. Finally when they do canter it's w/ hard hands and hard mouths to keep them from going to fast, and out of control. Is a canter not a normal gait for a horse? They want to run. I need them to learn a collected canter.Thanks
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    01-01-2008, 03:38 PM
Yes, lol, a canter is a normal gait for horses.

I'd go back to the basics. Put them on a long line and teach them to canter. Get the signal down. Make sure they know that a kissing noise means to canter, and of course teach them to come back down out of it. Getting the verbal command on the ground can help them learn quicker undersaddle.

After you get the verbel commands on the ground, try undersaddle. Give the horse its head and ask verbally for the canter, then use your legs if they don't respond. Maybe just make the horse canter a few strides and bring the horse back down to a trot. Then gradually increase how long you canter. After the horse has learned to canter [without rushing and being afraid], then you can work on more things, like collection.
    01-01-2008, 06:25 PM
What do you mean by, "Finally when they do canter it's w/ hard hands and hard mouths to keep them from going to fast...?" When starting out, "too fast" isn't necessarily a bad thing. As long as they're not breaking into a gallop. Impulsion is a good thing and once they've mastered the transition into the canter and continuing to canter, then you can work on collection and change of tempo (faster or slower).

It sounds to me like the rider is maybe uncomfortable at the faster speeds. And he/she is holding them back and confusing them (leading to the fast trot). Maybe try the canter on a smaller circle (half the arena or so) to naturally slow them down without cranking on their mouth.

I'm guessing since they're trained for driving, they listen well to verbal commands. I'd start off as GallopAway said by asking them to canter from the ground.

Of course, if the horses are truly out of control, that's another story. Are they bucking or rearing or tossing their heads?
    01-04-2008, 08:49 PM
Driver to Canter

Thanks so much for the sound advice. I'm lunging my two mares now and they're cantering. Of course lunging, I completely forgot. It's such a great moment when they get It and me too!

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