He doesn't want to canter

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He doesn't want to canter

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    03-16-2011, 11:17 PM
He doesn't want to canter

I've been leasing my horse, Moon, for about 4 years now. He's 18 and a NSH and we do saddle seat and occasionally western. I've always had a problem getting him to canter. I cue him the way I would any other horse, but he doesn't want to canter off. It's gotten really bad recently and I'm just getting really frustrated. I've chalked it up to his laziness and love of testing and my lack of confidence. I've found if you keep after him enough, he'll go. I was just wondering if any of you had any other suggestions. Thank you so much for reading this, I appreciate it.
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    03-17-2011, 12:34 AM
Has he always been reluctant to canter? Could be some discomfort issues, but could be just as you said, just plain being lazy.
You know, I don't hvae a lot of advice without seeing a video. Are yo perhaps leaning forward too much and him ending up just trotting faster? He would do that to try and keep his balance with the rider leaning forward. Also, leaning forward puts you in a weaker position to exert your authority if necessary.

All I can think of is when my friends really laid back horse wouldn't canter. And I keept legging him and legging him and of course, I ended up leaning too far forward, so finally, I just raised one hand up high as if I had a whip in my hand and said, "Yah!" and he took off! Not a pretty canter depart, but it woke him up. Now, if he is reluctant, I raise that hand and show it to him, or slap my thigh and itmakes a big noise. Of course, I also put leg on in the traditional cue for canter, and ask him to tip his nose to the inside. But , this was just a kind of last ditch whoopee to get him to break out of the pattern, and it worked!
He has since gotten much better about cantering, tho he canters very heavily and poorly balanced.
    03-17-2011, 12:41 AM
Sounds like a few possible things.

Saddle fit
Lack of muscling/balance

In any case, check back for soreness, check to see if he will move off well at the trot and do LOTS of trot work until he gets more and more sensitive to leg, and then try the canter again in a few months. Take it slow, and remember better canter doesn't come from working at the canter. Better canter comes from better trot. And if you do this it will help whether it is saddle fit issue (assuming you get a saddle that fits) and then work on your trot. It will make him more balanced, more sensitive to the aids, and make it easier for him to eventually canter.

Good luck! :)
    03-17-2011, 01:03 AM
Thanks for the advice! Tiny, I do tend to hunch when I cue over and over. I don't doubt he has trouble balancing. CJ, I'm definitely gping to work on my trotting, it always could use work. He's always been a jerk about cantering. I was concerned about saddle fit, etc. but the trainer thought it looked good. He's aretty lazy boy, won't go anywhere unless you ask. Thanks again you guys!!
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    03-17-2011, 01:18 AM
Glad to help! People always forget that to go slow in a gait takes more balance and muscle than to go fast and sloppy. So if his issue is balance and feeling unbalanced makes him nervous, chances are he's refusing to go into the canter because he doesn't want to feel unbalanced. Trot sets work WONDERS for this. As does hill work!

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