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relaxing/balancing the canter

This is a discussion on relaxing/balancing the canter within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    08-14-2010, 10:39 PM
Originally Posted by riccil0ve    
Yes. Don't accept a sloppy transition. Ask from the trot you want, and that's the trot he's going to transition from. It may take most of your ride to get it, most likely because it will take some time to get him back to your good trot. So you may not be able to do much cantering.

Something to remember is that trot to canter transitions are actually very hard on a horse, much harder than a walk to canter transition. Think of the gait, how the legs are moving at the trot, and then at the canter. Then the walk. See how similar the walk is to the canter?
This I was watching when lunging him today. He seems to get stuck with his feet, for lack of a better description. Like that first stride he doesn't know what to do with them. I think that's why he gets it easier over a pole. I've stopped worrying about the amount of cantering as to the quality of the canter.
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    08-14-2010, 10:45 PM
Yes, once you actually watch the legs during a transition, you realize how tough it is. Then it's a little easier to be patient of your horse, which is where a lot of problems start. You're asking him to do something hard! Haha.

Best of luck, I'm sure with some time you'll get there. You've got the right ideas and the right attitude, not to mention the right goals [quality VS quantity] so I don't think it will take you too long. =]
    08-14-2010, 10:49 PM
I think in the past I've been blessed with horses that had a natural canter transition. I never remember this being so difficult, even with babies. I will probably cry the first time it all comes together.
    08-14-2010, 10:54 PM
You probably just got a more awkward, clumsy guy. =] My little one, Gracie, is certainly NOT going to live up to her name. She falls over just bucking in the pasture. Haha. =P
    08-15-2010, 01:11 AM
Originally Posted by MudPaint    
This seems par for the course for our barn. Granted it did not start off with this much work, when I first had him he couldn't trot 10 minutes without tuckering out.

Though he stays quiet when not ridden, his canter work severely back slides if I'm not working him nearly everyday. I do not canter every day undersaddle, more like 2x a week, but I usually work on it on the line each time he is lunged.
Oh well then that sounds like a good workout for him. I agree with other's about making his transitions smoother. Don't let him run into his canter, if he does stop him and make him trot more.
Sounds like your on the right path. Good luck.
    08-15-2010, 12:32 PM
Yea, I'd say give him some breaks, and let him run about in a pasture for a while. I also agree with what one person said about him maybe feeling confined in the indoor arena. That was my first thought. Free lunge him more than putting him on a line or side reins. He needs to find his own balance alone.
    08-15-2010, 02:36 PM
Sometimes we hit these plateaus, where nothing seems to improve. I think you'll be fine, just be patient. It will probably improve in steps, rather than gradually. That's been my experience with the canter.
    08-15-2010, 02:58 PM
You've already gotten some good advice about the cantering issue. I'll just throw in, since you mentioned about moving up to BN, the dressage test is usually the same. If jumping is his stronger suit, there's no reason to not move up.

Also, in case nobody said it already, a good canter comes from a good trot. Trot improves balance, so if you consistently have a good trot, it should slowly translate into more fluid canter transitions and he figures out which leg does what.
    08-16-2010, 09:11 AM
I just feel that for us to move up we need to be schooling above a BN level. Currently we are doing 2'6" on a regular basis, but I don't feel the need to push it. It's not like I'm planning to sell him and need him at a certain level. I didn't move up from Starter till we had 2 top 3 placings. I've got a little over a month to get the canter down for the test. Though I am hoping by the end of the fall season we are able to do BN... I'd like to go Novice in the spring and do some recognized events. Once Primo meets my dressage trainer anyways. HA HA

I still haven't picked colors. It's a very difficult choice.

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