Help staying in the canter... - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 08-12-2008, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hatton Vale, QLD, Australia
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Re: Help staying in the canter...

Originally Posted by girl_on_black_pony
My shetland gelding is really lazy. At first, he would not canter! I had to go buy a crop. But we have fixed the issue with lunging, but now I cannot keep him in a canter. He will for a while, but then he slows to a trot, excpecially when I have him turn. I also have this problem with trotting, though it is not as bad. Also, when he canters, its a really fast canter. When I ask him to slow it down, he trots or just stops.
Any tips would be nice, wether it is me or the horse :/
i apologise if i repeat anything as i havent the time to read all the replies. sorry :)

anyways. it sounds like your horse has balance/confidence issues. how old is he? is he green? if hes older, is he ridden much or has it been some time since he has been ridden?

if he is any of those ^^^ things then it can be easily fixed by doing a lot of circles, serpentines, figure 8's etc lunging with side reins is good also

"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"

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post #12 of 16 Old 08-12-2008, 08:37 AM
Green Broke
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I'd have to agree with Jazzy as well, sounds like he's probably very green and doesn't know how to stay balanced or moving on his own. To help his balance definitely lots of circles, figure 8s, serpentines, transitions, etc. I'm thinking his canter is a balance issue and I'm guessing it will slow as that improves. Circles are a great exercise!

What he really needs to learn though is how to stay on a rhythm, starting at the trot, and then the canter. It's very important that you aren't driving him every step, otherwise he'll never learn to stay at one speed by himself! To work on this he needs to be fairly solid in picking up transitions, even if he doesn't stay there. Start off with the trot. When you ask for an upward transition (w to t, t to c, etc) you always ask using 'touch', 'squeeze', 'kick'. You ask lightly with just a touch. If he ignores you immediately squeeze. If he still ignores you, kick him while smacking him behind your leg with your crop. You want to get his attention and get him listening to your leg! (I would not suggest using spurs, esp if you and him aren't used to them yet) So ask him to trot and then leave him completely alone. Be very careful you aren't constantly kicking him, pumping with your body, digging with your seat, etc. When you ask for a trot (or any gait) it needs to be like a button. You push it, he trots, and stays there until you say otherwise. When he breaks into a walk, simply ask him to trot again. Don't make a big deal, but use the touch, squeeze, kick routine. Same thing for the canter, ask for the canter, then leave him completely alone while he's cantering. Until he breaks down to a trot, then ask for the canter again. Over and over and over. If he slows waayyyyy down but still stays canter? leave him alone! you said canter, and he's cantering. Once he gets to the point where he can maintain the gait you ask him for (this may take a while!), you can start asking him for the correct speed. But same principle. Get him trotting forward and then leave him alone. When you feel him start to slow his trot, ask him to move forward again, and then leave him alone. Then you can ask him to speed up and have him stay there, slow down and have him stay there, etc. You never never want to drive your horse every step and have to keep saying go, go, go every step of the way! And if you kick every step, your horse will only be able to maintain a rhythm if you're kicking him and keeping it for him. That's just way too much work. :)
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post #13 of 16 Old 08-13-2008, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Oklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains...
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He actually hasnt been ridden in around 5 years. We have been working on trotting, and now he can stay in a trot until I ask him to walk. I dont keep pushing, I kiss twice to trot. If that doesnt work, I say "Step Up!" If not that, then a sqeeze. He is doing great at the trot.

BUT when I ask for canter, he either trots reallly fast, or canters a few paces then trots. Do I just tell him to canter again when he starts to trot? Over and over? 8)
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post #14 of 16 Old 08-13-2008, 11:36 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by girl_on_black_pony
I guess I could try that. Im just afraid to hurt the horse. I have no experience with them :/
That is, in some cases the wrong way to think about things.
You are the boss when you are riding, what you say goes, no questions asked. Once you become 'soft hearted' the horse then takes over the dominace role, and you will find it hard to achieve anything.
Use your voice and artificial aids.

Lexington Farm
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post #15 of 16 Old 08-14-2008, 03:26 AM
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My instructor Jane, is insane with getting a horse to stay at a canter. How I've been taught is to keep your leg on him no matter want, keep your toung clicking and tap him with the crop. She always says, never be satisfied until he is committed to the canter. Each time you get to a corner, tap him with your legs and move him on with your hips, for some reason, most horses like to stop or slow down when they reach a corner, so it's important to keep them going. Once he is committed make sure that you give him his head a reward and don't hold the reins back. If you have to, sit in your 2-point point position and keep him going.

Good luck and hop I helped.

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post #16 of 16 Old 08-14-2008, 06:16 AM
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if you havnt ridden this horse in 5 years, i think it could be lack of fitness? ive re-trained a pony, last year, that hadnt been ridden for over 2 years, i started right from scratch with the riding side

the go and stop button (in your case its the go)
stering (so he nos to stay on a circle of a straight line, when your legs and reins ask him)
i will then work on his transitions (walk to halt, halt to walk, walk to trot, trot to canter, back to trot, back to walk, back to halt) yeah u get what i mean haha

also lunging will be great to his fitness, as well as letting him relax on a trail ride, and that will improve his confidence, and give him a break to just be a horse! lol all this training may be making him feel like a robot. My horse gets VERY sour if i do to much dressage, so once a week, i let him go for a nice canter on the beach, lets him relax and have fun.

also i do agree with Jazzy, the balence could be an issue to. As she said do some spirals at the walk to trot, and serpentines (loops) and figure 8's.

Shetlands are also naturally LAZY ponies. so id expect them to not canter long distances. make him canter 5 strides, then back to a trot, and give him a reward. he will then learn to love cantering, and his canter wont be so FAST, and he could slow to a nice pace with lots of rewards, and different things to do.

good luck!
ChestnutEventer is offline  

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