Helping your horse canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-13-2013, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Helping your horse canter


I'm currently riding an off track standardbred (driving) who never really learned to canter due to her previous use. I've been riding her for a few months now (just for pleasure) and every once in a while we she seems to try cantering after she spots another horse doing it. She usually get a few steps in but it seems like after that she gets discouraged and gives up.

The BO has no problem with her learning but hasn't given much input except for saying "Canter" once she starts going, which I've been doing. We're going to start taking lessons with her soon and that we're comfortable with each other, so maybe she'll give me more details then.

Until then, any advice on how to keep her confidence up and keep her going once she starts?
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-13-2013, 04:49 PM
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Aren't all horses capable of cantering? isn't it inborn in them? what if a lion were chasing them, wouldn't they gallop away?
Can you work on this horse cantering unmounted for awhile, on a very long lunge line, or in a large round pen?
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-13-2013, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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I know it's born into them, but apparently when you're doing competitive driving (or the kind my BO used to do) they're only allowed to trot or they are disqualified. She did this for about 7 years so she's just not used to the gait I think.

I'll definitely try the lunge line- the round pen isn't very large and I think she might do better if she has more space...
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-13-2013, 05:12 PM
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The mare can canter but after 7 years on the track she was told "NO" every time she cantered. The best thing to do is build flexibility and muscling. There are those that say you can get them to do it on a long line like you would a raw horse. The other option is to take her out with a bunch of other horses. Get a flat stretch, let the others canter have her pick up the canter and give her loose rein and act like she just won the lotto when she does it.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-13-2013, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks rookie! The fact that she gives a try when she sees other horses doing it leads me to believe that trying it on a flat stretch with others might be the tricks.

I'll try the long line as well, seems like that might be helpful so I can see where/if she is doing anything wrong. Maybe it will help her find her balance easier if I'm not on top of her...

Thanks guys! I appreciate the tips.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-13-2013, 07:08 PM
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I used to get retired STBs from tracks for a dollar each. All good old racers. I remember just having to push them into a canter, and also that it was quite uncoordinated at first. They all got better at it and went on to be steady little hunters.

Seriously, I just kept encouraging a faster speed and went they broke their trot or pace, I praised and made quite a big deal about it to them.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-14-2013, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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My only problem with waiting for her to break her trot is that I've been told she can hit about 35mph... Thankfully hasn't happened yet while I'm on her!
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-14-2013, 08:23 AM
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You will have to find a very smooth very large area to get this done. Like Boots said, the only way I know is to get the horse to go too fast to trot. That means you have to really be going.

When a horse has been corrected (actually punished) for breaking gait, I know of no other way to get them started cantering without just going too fast to trot. I do not think you will get it done on a line or in a big round pen. It is just too small an area to get a horse to go as fast as they need to go and would not be good for their legs if they did. It would also require a lot more coordination to circle at the canter than these horses have at this time. They just need a big open flat area to practice in. They should improve with each ride.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-14-2013, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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There is a spot near me on one of the trails that is flat, smooth and about a mile long. Maybe I'll take her out there and give it a try.

I'll let you know how it works out!
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-14-2013, 09:37 AM
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