Problems w/ slipping when cantering - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-12-2011, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Problems w/ slipping when cantering

I have a new horse - an OTTB rescue. We have a small arena (about 40 feet wide). I thought the small arena would really be an asset at this stable. He had a heck of a time just learning to collect enough to not run into the walls at a canter. He can really move out.

The problem that I see is when he canters on a free lunge, his back feet slip. I think some of this is due to muscling (he was in really poor shape when I got him -condition 2). I have been limiting his work under saddle to just walk/trot and using the free lunging to canter.

I'm looking for ideas to help him place his feet correctly or strengthen his tendons/ligaments.
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-12-2011, 01:53 PM
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I can't say anything for sure because I haven't seen exactly what's happening... but perhaps he's lacking a little muscling in his hindquarters? I find that canter more than any other gait really requires to horse to use some "rear wheel drive" so to speak in order to have a good quality canter.

Hill work might be really helpful... walking/trotting and even cantering uphill will build up some nice haunches over time. Before starting a muscle-building program though, make sure he's getting enough calories and protein in his diet so that his body has all of the necessary "muscle building blocks" readily available.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-12-2011, 11:49 PM
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my horse did that a lot and my trainer said just to keep lunging her on the lunge line not tied up in anyway. she said that she would figure out her footing on her own and build the correct muscles that she needed. right now it seems to of worked shes also slowed down a lot which is great too.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-13-2011, 01:19 AM
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Sounds like it could possibly be a stifle issue. Slipping in canter (unless the footing is not so good) is usually a sign of problems in the upper leg. Most of these issues particularly in young/green/out of work horses will be alleviated when muscles in the hind quarters are significantly developed.
I had a little ottb 3 year old mare that had stifle problems and often slipped in canter, after a few months of work with her I have since sold her and she has not had a problem since.
Basically it was a matter of lots of hill work (walk and trot only - canter is just about useless as far as muscle building up hills is concerned!) and strengthening exercises under saddle. Lots of leg yielding, turns on the forehand and shoulder in to try and promote muscle development in her hindquarters.
Lunging is probably not great at this stage, as you can cause more problems working them on a small circle continuously if they have leg/joint damage already. If you do need to lunge, do it in an arena and walk up and down the arena so that there are lots of straight lines in the lunge 'circle'.
Weight is another thing to consider, if your horse is a little 'light on' in the weight department, the ligaments in her stifles are not overly well supported so more likely to 'slip out' of the patella. If this is what is happening with your mare, make sure she's a good healthy weight, nice and round with good covering over her ribs. My mare wasn't a big eater and was very light on as she'd just come down off the track, so I ended up having to give her Vitamin B12 injections to stimulate her appetite.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-13-2011, 01:27 AM
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Aside from a health issue as Kayty stated, working in circles is hard on an unbalanced horse. An OTTB has been trained to go really fast in a straight line, with a gradual turn. I would imagine that your horse is unbalanced and you would probably be better off doing much larger circles or riding til he builds balance.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-13-2011, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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I hadn't thought of the B vitamin side for weight gain. I have him on a foal supplement right now at twice the label recommendation. But he may need more B's than what he is getting. Thanks Kayty

He has moved up from a 2 to a 4 on the condition scale. As cold as it's been I'm just glad he could put on weight! He is blanketed 24/7.

It sounds like I just need to pull back my training plan and concentrate on more ground work. I may have been over working him a little too. Going slower to go faster is sure hard to do! Thanks everyone!
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-13-2011, 04:15 PM
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Is this horse dropping an inside shoulder and cocking his head to the outside of the circle? If so, that is your problem. A horse doing this not only has its hind feet slip, but can fall flat out on their side very easily. They just 'pancake' when they do this to an extreme.

Gradually adding side reins with an elastic link in them helps a lot. Be sure that if you do this, you do it gradually and you should adjust the inside rein so that it is 2 inches shorter than the outside rein. Then, reverse the adjustments when you reverse directions.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-13-2011, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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That is exactly what he does! Looks outside while going around.

He actually is having a lot of problems trusting people. I just thought the looking away thing was one more example of that! I have had him 8 weeks and just today he dropped his head for me for the first time! I feel like a new mom who's baby just learned to turn over!

I was planning on adding a surcingle eventually to build his top line up. I've just been starting out like he is a yearling/2 yrs old who is just starting out. Take lots of time at the baby steps before really starting to ride. The slipping thing had me really worried. As soon as he graduates from backing, lateral, stopping, starting, etc. I'll add the side reins and see what happens.
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