Helping the horse balance at Canter

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Helping the horse balance at Canter

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  • How to balance a horse at the canter
  • Improve horse canter balance

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    04-24-2010, 08:34 AM
Helping the horse balance at Canter

Any suggestions on working with a 'goey' horse that tends to be very unbalanced at the canter? If cantering in a circle, she will lean to the inside dramatically. I have been applying the inside leg and sitting slightly to the outside however the horse reacts by zooming around even faster. This horse is 9 years old.

Just a thought - Perhaps sitting to the outside would help her to actually balance while she is leaning to the inside, and therefore make her even more comfortable at this stance. Although there is a fine line between sitting in the middle and sitting to the inside, perhaps I should try to sit dead centre? I have only been sitting to the outside because that is what I was taught.
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    04-24-2010, 11:09 AM
Green Broke
Sit in the dead center, and keep balanced, don't lean forward, make sure to lean back to slow him down. And half-halt him when he speeds up.
The reason your horse is leaning in and going faster is because he is crooked.
Spyders thread should help you understand crookedness if you need it.
    04-24-2010, 01:02 PM
Look into Karen Rohlf's ground work exercises. They work WONDERS!!
    04-24-2010, 02:28 PM
Super Moderator
He is not crooked, the horse needs to learn to bend! He is actually too straight.

He is acting like a bicycle going around a turn. It can't bend, so it has to lean to turn. When the horse leans, it weighs his inside shoulder making it even more difficult to bend. The lean throws the saddle ( and YOU) to the inside too. This adds your weight to the inside shoulder increasing the problem exponentially.

You have to be creative to help solve this. At the walk and trot, do lots of bending/suppling exercises like serpentines and turns through the circle.

When riding, for now, you cannot sit in the middle of your saddle! The saddle is leaning in with the horse. You must shift your weight to the outside, as you have been trying. This is only for now. Your upper body needs to be perpendicular to the ground not the leaning saddle. This will help bring some of all of that weight to the outside shoulder lessening the load on the horse's inside shoulder. It will help.

Then, as you work on the bend through inside leg and light inside rein, you can move the horse back under yourself. Since the horse is using speed to balance, you must use constant half halts to try to bring the horse back onto his haunch. You might need to half halt on every stride for a while.

Every once in a while, drop that inside rein to keep the horse from leaning on it to balance. They will often do that. Drop the rein for a couple of strides (between half halts) and then softly take it back.

As the horse starts bending, your upper body will now stay perpendicular to the ground. You will find that the saddle is no longer being thrown into the circle, and you will be in the middle of the saddle again.

Hope this helps.
    04-24-2010, 02:49 PM
Yea, I think my mare has the same problem. When I go to canter her or try to lope her, she actually gets this really nice slow lope, to where I barely move, than she speeds up to this rough canter. I'm going to try what Allison said.
    10-06-2010, 11:07 PM
Green Broke
That was great what Alison said
Sorry about the revive but I had been going through all the old posts and this one has helped me greatly so thought I should say thanks haha
    10-07-2010, 12:31 AM
Super Moderator
Glad it helped you!!

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