Improving canter-work on the lunge - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-08-2010, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow Improving canter-work on the lunge

I've been encountering some issues whilst training my horse to canter on the lunge. To be honest we really haven't worked too much on the canter, as I have been trying to improve her head carriage, hindquarter engagement, accuracy to cues and transitions in walk, trot, and halt. It has been difficult to get her body supple and to achieve a bend throughout her body, but just this week I noticed a great improvement...we have stepped up the suppling exercises using groundwork and poles. I have a trainer but I am interested in hearing your opinions as well.

Frida seems to think canter means balls to the wall, let's go. Case in point, if I am lungeing and I notify someone else in the ring saying "Head's up, I am going to ask her to canter" she immediately speeds up the tempo of her trot. If she is at a walk, and I think to myself "I am going to ask for a transition to canter from this trot I am about to ask, the trot she picks up will even be noticeably more forward. She is a bit sluggish at times to pick up the trot, but NEVER so with the canter, I only ever have to ask once. In the beginning, she would buck a bit, try and pull me out of the circle, and break often when I would bump the line to ask her to be responsible for her own bends around the circle. The circle is quite large, she even brushes up against the wall, she's finally getting the point that bigger circle = better. Now that we hae been working on this gait for a solid week, she rarely breaks the gait or bucks. She responds really well when I ask for the bend by bumping the line. She is definitely assuming more responsibility for her own body.

Problem is, I can't seem to get her to relax enough, or to maintain the canter without rocketing around. I watch all these quarterhorses at the barn where I board, and their lope seems like a relaxed rocking horse bunny hop type gait. I know she is part arab, so I'm not expecting her to be the same as them, but I would like her not to act as if there is a pack of wolves chasing her each time she canters for me.

I know that some horses can propel themselves forward in attempts to achieve balance, but how can I help correct this?

P.S. All her tack fits, and she is not in pain. I lunge her in a lungeing caveson and brushing boots. Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-08-2010, 12:52 PM
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Post a video of it. That way we don't have to write a book of possible guesses, most of which will not be applicable.
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-08-2010, 01:23 PM
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I don't think there is anything to correct necessarily. She needs to go faster until she builds strength and gains balance. She will become more relaxed as she gets comfortable at this gait with the more work that you do. You've only been working on the canter for a week. Wait 3 weeks or a month & then come back here if she's still running like a fool.

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post #4 of 14 Old 02-08-2010, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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ok, i was assuming it was like riding a bicycle, gets smoother with time, encouragement and guidance. What I'm getting at is asking what everybody else does to help improve their horse's balance from the ground.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Seahorseys View Post
ok, i was assuming it was like riding a bicycle, gets smoother with time, encouragement and guidance. What I'm getting at is asking what everybody else does to help improve their horse's balance from the ground.
No, it's not like riding a bike. A bike is not a horse. A horse is a free-willed creature, with a skeletal structure that can make some things easy and others hard to do, with muscles that need to be conditioned systematically, and so on.

Just doing basic exercises 'correctly' will improve the horse's balance, strength, suppleness, and so on. If you don't do them correctly, in the correct dosage, then the horse never gets better. If your cues are inconsistent, the horse doesn't get better.

Again, a video would be the best way for 'us' to tell you where it's going right and where's it's going wrong, and then how to continue. Anything we say at this point is purely conjecture and therefore useless. Let's 'see' what's going on.
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 03:48 AM
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Two years ago, my horse used to veer around like a motorcycle when I asked her to canter on the lungeline. Now when I lunge her, she goes into a balanced and slower canter. All I did to achieve this was school her canter undersaddle. It took a long time, but riding her canter correctly helped her to find her balance.
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 01:36 PM
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Patience. You're improving, so no worries.
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercedes View Post
No, it's not like riding a bike. A bike is not a horse. A horse is a free-willed creature, with a skeletal structure that can make some things easy and others hard to do, with muscles that need to be conditioned systematically, and so on.
Ok, Thank you so much. For a moment I was confused as to whether my horse had two wheels and a set of handlebars or four legs, a mane and tail. Just the other day I was like "A bike, a bike that both poops and eats hay?" Then I realized I was being silly and that my bike is in the garage and that my horse is in a stall. I forget sometimes. Perhaps if you were not so quick to jump on the chance to sound condescending and seemingly belittle others, I was referring to the way you start out shaky when you first ride a bike and then after you practice, develop your balance and muscles, it becomes like second nature. I'll get right on taping that video, because I'm really interested to hear what you have to say, being that you are so encouraging and all.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-09-2010, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Seahorseys View Post
Ok, Thank you so much. For a moment I was confused as to whether my horse had two wheels and a set of handlebars or four legs, a mane and tail. Just the other day I was like "A bike, a bike that both poops and eats hay?" Then I realized I was being silly and that my bike is in the garage and that my horse is in a stall. I forget sometimes. Perhaps if you were not so quick to jump on the chance to sound condescending and seemingly belittle others, I was referring to the way you start out shaky when you first ride a bike and then after you practice, develop your balance and muscles, it becomes like second nature. I'll get right on taping that video, because I'm really interested to hear what you have to say, being that you are so encouraging and all.
Your sarcasm is under-whelming. Perhaps when you paid me for my knowledge and experience, we could discuss how the information is delivered. Until then, I am unmoved.

Explain it any way you like, it's still not anything like riding a bike for your horse. When your bike becomes a living, breathing creature, subject to skeletal conformation and equine biomechanical laws, then we'll talk.

Okay, I am making a note for future reference. You wish to be 'encouraged' rather than have your questions answered. Had you just said that initially, I would have known exactly how to answer your post.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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What truly "under-whelms" me is worrying about posting a question, comment or sharing a general thought on this forum without receiving a backlash from somebody instead of a tactful, friendly response. Instead you just decided to play Captain Obvious, which is not something I think anyone would pay you for. I understand I'm not some world-renowned horse trainer, and I know there are people that know much more than me, which is why peruse these forums, ask questions and continue working under the guidance of a professional. Anyway, I'm done. I'm not carrying this on until the thread is locked. I just needed to assert that I felt you were demeaning.
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