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  • Canter transitions for ott thoroughbreds

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    12-10-2008, 09:22 PM
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Hey Everyone,

I've just got a horse off the track he has been racing heavily and succesffully for 6 years. He is 8 years old and is coming along well apart from his canter.
Now I know it takes time and he is really shaping up for the 8 months I have had him.
But my problem is, is his canter.
He canters with his 2 back legs bouncing like a kangaroo or bunny.
He also loves to pulll and rush.

Any help at all is much appreciated!

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    12-10-2008, 09:35 PM
First, are you talking about a standardbred?
    12-10-2008, 09:48 PM
Have you had him checked for any pain in his back/ rear legs?
Does he do this undersaddle or while cantering in a field?
    12-10-2008, 09:59 PM
He pulls because that is what a race horse does to balance himself. He also was taught that pulling and releasing on the reins means go faster. Work on lots and lots of transitions - up and down, within and between gaits. Use poles, circles, serpentines, and half halts to help balance him and slow him down. The more balanced and relaxed he is the more he will slow.

If at any time he breaks into a canter, allow it and put on the cue you use to canter. Never let him run into the canter when you ask him - bring him back to a walk or a controlled trot (whichever gait you asked from). Cantering on the lunge will help him be able to canter undersaddle as it will help him develop better balance. By riding over poles (singles and sets of two or more) will help regulate his stride. If he's unbalanced and discombobulated he will have a much more difficult time balancing over poles!
    12-14-2008, 07:05 PM

Okay everyone, he is a thoroughbred and I have had him fully checked out, teeth, back, saddle, bridle etc.
    12-14-2008, 07:30 PM
I once had a friend who did lots with racers and ex racers, and they said that often of the track TBs were harder to work with than unbroken ones because you had to sort of unteach them everything they know and reteach them everything right.

Racing and race training isn't usually aimed for anything but speed, the balance, aids etc are not going to be great. I would do a lot of walking on a loose rein, I wouldn't even canter until he is totally settled at the trot and able to do it evenly on a loose contact, because I find canters can often just rile them up. Do lots and lots of circles. Transitions are good to. Race horses just go in a straight line, so circles make them think more.
    12-14-2008, 08:19 PM
Do you have access to a round pen?
    12-17-2008, 04:12 AM

BeauRebu yes I Do have access to a round pen.

And to everyone else who has left posts thankyou very much. I will take theses ideas into account when riding him and on the ground.
I understand that thoroughbreds have been trained for different things and that kind of stuff.. but I was just wondering if there was anything to help him along in the cantering stages.

Thanks to everyone again!
    12-18-2008, 12:36 PM

It sounds like your horse is a bit too balled up. He's got lots of energy and he's used to exerting that energy on the track. My advice? Harness the energy.

Sit deep in the saddle with your knees open and your hands firm on the reins. Try bringing him into frame at the trot, then ask as subtly as possible for the canter. As soon as he transitions, start working to keep him in frame.

Do lots of different exercises at the canter, particularly circles. In other words, give him a direction. Work on extending and shortening the canter stride on the long sides of the arena and through circles to show him that he can lengthen out without speeding up.

I would also work him lots in the round pen. Ask for tons of trot-to-canter and canter-to-trot transitions. He probably has adequate impulsion and plenty of forward momentum; the trick is getting him to even out.

Hope that helps,

ETA: I see that Andi offered a lot of the same advice. Circles are definitely a good thing. Try serpentines, as well, coming down to a halt at every change of direction.
    12-19-2008, 05:37 AM

Okay thanks for the help!

Thanks once again to everyone else!

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