Horse WON'T canter!
 
 

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Horse WON'T canter!

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  • Horse won't move forward at canter after riding a bit out of shape
  • Why doesnt my horse canter

 
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    04-12-2011, 02:50 PM
  #1
Foal
Horse WON'T canter!

So silly. Never thought I'd have this problem... but my saddlebred cross will not canter anymore! I'm almost positive it's a 'me' problem but I am unsure how to fix it.

Basically I have not had any problems with gettting him to canter in the past... (I've only had him for a few months though) but he's always been very heavy on the forehand and pretty unbalanced. It's hard to get him to work from his hind end and use his body correctly as he is SO out of shape and is exhausted after only a few minutes of canter work. Did I mention he's about 150 pounds overweight? .... yeah were working on that lol.

Anyways, so when I ask for canter he picks up this SUPER SUPER fast trot... it's extremely bouncy and uncomfortable and sometimes causes me to lose my balance... but even when I'm sitting it fine and pushing him forward he will NOT pick it up! I've spent so long trying ... it's so frustrating.
So anyways, after he picks up this super fast trot, I push him and push him and you'd think eventually he'd break into a canter... the thing is, he doesn't. He will do that rushy trot for like ever... It's almost a little bit of a mixed gait too- it's strange.
I've also tried getting him into a very forward balanced trot first and then asking... also doesn't work. I've tried getting him to canter from the walk, which surprisingly has worked the best... at least in the past when he did canter.

Anyways I'm ranting. Any ideas?? Could it be me that is getting in the way? Or is it a lacking in muscle thing? How do I get him to be more balanced...? How do I get him to work from his hind end more?

Any help or suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks.
     
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    04-12-2011, 03:02 PM
  #2
Teen Forum Moderator
Well it seems like the two of you have quite a few problems that need addressed, but first I want to know exactly what you're doing when you ask him to canter. There is a good chance that you could be sending him mixed signals. When you ask him, do you have a clear, obviouse cue that tells him its time to canter? Many horses will get upset or confused if you simply push them forewards until they break into a canter. Do you pull at his mouth at all? He most likely needs a steady, even seated rider to help him transition. Ideally, you should be offering him more rein so that he can move his shoulders and neck the way he needs to- but not enough that the reins are slack. Try imagining a straight line from his mouth to your hands, with your hands sort of 'cradling' his mouth, giving him leeway to move but not let him 'fall. Do you sort of understand what I'm saying? And what about your seating? At a canter, do you flop all over him? He might be reacting to that. Try to sit deep and soft in the saddle. That will give him more comfort and allow him to use himself properly.

I can maybe help you if you tell me a bit about all of this ^_^ so be truthful! Its no fun to have a horse who doesnt like to listen, but it can be fixed.
     
    04-12-2011, 03:30 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Endiku    
well it seems like the two of you have quite a few problems that need addressed, but first I want to know exactly what you're doing when you ask him to canter. There is a good chance that you could be sending him mixed signals. When you ask him, do you have a clear, obviouse cue that tells him its time to canter? Many horses will get upset or confused if you simply push them forewards until they break into a canter. Do you pull at his mouth at all? He most likely needs a steady, even seated rider to help him transition. Ideally, you should be offering him more rein so that he can move his shoulders and neck the way he needs to- but not enough that the reins are slack. Try imagining a straight line from his mouth to your hands, with your hands sort of 'cradling' his mouth, giving him leeway to move but not let him 'fall. Do you sort of understand what I'm saying? And what about your seating? At a canter, do you flop all over him? He might be reacting to that. Try to sit deep and soft in the saddle. That will give him more comfort and allow him to use himself properly.

I can maybe help you if you tell me a bit about all of this ^_^ so be truthful! Its no fun to have a horse who doesnt like to listen, but it can be fixed.
Okay I'll give you a pretty detailed reply lol. He KNOWS the cue for cantering, and he knows what I'm asking for. Outside leg behind the girth inside on the girth.. and he definitely knows it. I've tried having loose reins... infact actually since I have finesse parelli reins, I tied them up and held on to the front of my saddle and asked.... so that literally gave him complete freedom, but he still couldn't. I've also tried holding the reins a bit tighter as well but NOT pulling... doesn't make much a difference.
I don't think I flop all around in the canter... but then again I don't have a coach to correct me, so maybe... ..SOMETIMES when cantering he gets a little bit too excited and takes off and it causes me to pull on the reins quite a bit.. maybe that's why?
Or maybe that he simply just doesn't want to canter. He's also extremely barn sour in the way that he will go faster in the direction towards the door and slower away from it. I've tried using that to my advantage as well but he just doesn't pick it up. Bleh. I'm stumped.
     
    04-12-2011, 03:35 PM
  #4
Teen Forum Moderator
Hmm. It does sound like he's just being a bit lazy, doesn't it? XD will he canter on a lungeline/in a roundpen? Or by himself just to have fun? If not, you might want to check for soreness. Theres always the chance that he's in pain at a canter.

You may just end up having to get a little strong with him and carry a whip. Try just carrying it with you at first and see if he understand that you mean business, and if that doesn't work, a single whap on the shoulder right after a canter cue might work.
     
    04-12-2011, 03:53 PM
  #5
Weanling
Good advice so far. I'd also suggest going back to the round pen and aggressively (not abusive, I just mean "ask, tell, DEMAND" and don't back off) remind him from the ground what the cue to canter is.

When he's at a nice trot, kissy politely for the 'ask'. Follow with a rope/ whip swing for the 'tell', and basically swing and skip along by his hip, kissy (even if your lips fall off) until he breaks into a canter for the demand. This can be exhausting, but it's always worked for me. Tell him 'easy' and let him go back down to the trot. Start again with a polite kiss, etc. Usually only takes a few times for them to get it. Both directions, and once he's got it head back to the saddle. HTH!
     
    04-12-2011, 04:11 PM
  #6
Banned
Maybe you are giving him too much freedom to get into it.

Have you tried holding him together some and asking him to step off?
You have said he is unbalanced and heavy on the front end. Having him run like a crazy man at the trot only makes him more unbalanced and unable to lift his front end to step into the canter.

Pick him up, help him lift his front end, and then ask.
     
    04-12-2011, 04:41 PM
  #7
Weanling
Had the exact same problem with my saddlebred at first. What helped me the most was riding him uphill and asking for a canter. After that, he would give me a canter whenever I asked. I also kind pointed his nose toward the fence when I asked for the canter, it really helped! Asking for it around corners can also help.
     
    04-13-2011, 02:05 AM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind    
Maybe you are giving him too much freedom to get into it.

Have you tried holding him together some and asking him to step off?
You have said he is unbalanced and heavy on the front end. Having him run like a crazy man at the trot only makes him more unbalanced and unable to lift his front end to step into the canter.

Pick him up, help him lift his front end, and then ask.
Exactly this. A horse that falls into canter from an unbalanced, on the forehand trot, will immediately have an unbalanced, on the forehand canter. This can scare some horses... imaging the feeling of running uncontrollably downhill. You're legs have to go super fast to keep up with your body to try and not fall over. Same goes for a horse on the forehand. It's leg will go a million miles an hour to try and stay upright.
You need to balance your horse before you canter. Unless you trot is of excellent quality and balance, don't even bother with canter at this point in time. I would be doing a lot of leg yield on circles, down the long side and from 3/4 line - the track to get some more balance established. Multiple walk - halt - walk - trot - walk - halt etc. transitions will hugely help with balance, but make sure you are not allowing the horse to 'fall' into the transition, or they will do nothing to help your cause. Keep your leg on, hold yourself upright, engage your core, stop your body and THEN touch your rein if you need to, for downward transitions. It should feel as though the horses croup sinks behind you, rather than you being thrown forward over the dash in an unbalanced transition.

When I work with horses who are not confident, and are unbalanced in canter, I ask for the transition from a 10m leg yielding circle in a steady, rhythmic trot. So stay on a 20m circle, ride at least 4 transitions per circle. When you feel that the horse is totally on your aids and off the forehand, start to put some 10m circles in, and leg yield out a few steps before continuing with your transitions on a 20m circle. Do this a few times until the 10m circle is balanced, upright with the shoulders staying straight (horse is not allowed to drop shoulders in or out - that is unbalanced), leg yield out, and as you are about to come back to your 20m circle, give your canter aid. The aid must be clear and strong, use your inside hip to 'lift' the horse into canter. Just using legs does nothing to support the horse.

If he runs on, bring him back, go back to transitions, 10m circles and leg yields until he's balanced and steady, then ask again. NEVER accept an unbalanced or resistant transition. A few people will say to push through it, but if the horse is unbalanced, I don't like using scare tactics to force them to run into the canter. Instead, allow them to regain balance and confidence, then ask politely again.
     
    04-13-2011, 04:07 AM
  #9
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie4469    
It's hard to get him to work from his hind end and use his body correctly as he is SO out of shape and is exhausted after only a few minutes of canter work. Did I mention he's about 150 pounds overweight? ....
Just wondering: since this is the case, perhaps he's feeling his extra weight & it contributes to his lack of confidence to try & balance himself & go faster.

Perhaps you should get at least 100 lbs. Off of him before you focus on cantering. You could do all of the balancing & strengthening exercises as he loses the weight, & then he'll be prepared to go into canter.
     
    04-13-2011, 04:16 AM
  #10
Foal
Thanks everyone for all the great advice! I really appreciate it! I'm going to try out everything, but like stated in a few posts I'm going to start working in the trot more before I ask for the canter. I think getting him to lose a few pounds first, and getting him more balanced and have him use his hind-end more will make a big difference.
...I'll tell you all how it goes, lol.
     

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