Teaching a Canter on a Lunge Line

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Teaching a Canter on a Lunge Line

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  • How can i teach my horse to canter on lunge line
  • Canter on the lunge line

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    02-21-2012, 04:16 PM
Teaching a Canter on a Lunge Line

I'm curious on how to go about this... I can successfully do walk and trot in both direction with good transistions and a good halt. He reverses directions well as well.

Now here's the 'but'

When I ask for a canter he just speeds up into a power trot and starts pulling ... HARD. He'll hop a little, like he's about to transition but then will fall straight back into a trot.

I'm currently using just a regular halter and lunge line attached to the bottom ring for this, and I wonder if I should switch to a bridle. But if so, I don't know if there's a special way to rig up the lunge line.

Also, we work in an open area, and I give him about 15-20 feet of line when I ask... so I assume I'm giving enough room. It also baffles me because about a year ago I had him boarded somewhere else where there was a small enclosure that I practised free-lunging him in, and he learned to canter off the voice cue in there in both directions.. Silly me never thought to teach him to do it on lunge line though while I had the enclosure at my aid.


So how do I build upon what he already knows to achieve a canter?
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    02-21-2012, 04:23 PM
I'm probably going to get yelled at for this, but it's the only way I know how to fix the issue.

I would put a snaffle on, and feed the line thru the bit, over the top of the head, and attached it to the other side of the bit. Then I would attach the reins the the shoulder "D" ring, having the inside rein tighter than the outside. You want the inside to be tight enough to discourage bending to the outside, but loose enough that if he's bending correctly there's no contact (pressure vs. release). As far as picking up the canter, I would get after them until they pick it up, if they try to kick at me, I force them to face me, yell at them or whatever to assert that I'm the boss, and do it again. Once they pick it up, verbally reward them, let them go a few strides, bring them down, and repeat.
    02-21-2012, 07:35 PM
So in this case it would be best to lunge with a saddle - or better yet a surcingle then I'm assuming... if I do, does it matter what loops I use on the sircingle for the side reins?
    02-21-2012, 07:52 PM
A surcingle works as well, forgot about those. I'd start with the one closest resembling your handset and play around till you find the right spot. I do a lot of adjusting with a horse at first until I find what works for them
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    02-21-2012, 08:02 PM
The other thing to add is to watch the inside back leg. At its furthest point back, encourage with your voice by clucking a bit as it comes forward, increasing the pace of your voice...you want to go from the two beat trot into the three beat canter "cluck," :). Eventually they will, or should anyway, break into a canter. When under saddle, this is also the best time to ask for the canter, when the inside hind is coming forward, since that is the "take off" leg.
    02-22-2012, 06:53 AM
Addendum here :)...sorry I was tired last night. Add not only voice encouragement when the inside back leg is coming forward but also a gentle flick of your lunge whip. As I indicated previously, it simulates the same action as what happens under saddle when the horse steps off that inside hind leg to take the correct lead into the canter.
    02-22-2012, 07:59 AM
Im having a similar problem, the trot just gets faster and faster! I havent asked him for a canter yet and it's been taking a lot to just get him to trot at a normal pace. But I believe mine is immaturity as he is an OTTB that is used to running in straight lines and is still trying to find his balance on a circle. I took him back down to trotting until he has the basics perfected. He wants to break into a canter every so often but battles with keeping a circle. He "runs out" the circle every so often - that side rein idea might be a good idea
    02-22-2012, 08:45 AM
You shouldn't be lunging with one side rein shorter than the other. Not ever.

Work on the cue before worrying about the lead. If he starts to trot faster, push harder with your body and your voice. The second he canters... leave him and stop pushing. Don't stop until he does canter though. If he canters and then breaks back to a trot, push him forward again until he is cantering. Let him know that the canter is what you want by stopping the pressure to go forward when he does give it to you.
    02-22-2012, 09:12 AM
^^^ Noted!
    02-22-2012, 09:17 AM
Lol, ironically, my guy is an ottb as well. I've had him about two years now and they're just wonderful horses!

I think the bridle will definitely help with the pulling, which in turn should help with being able to cue him properly...

Being a western trail rider for the most part, I've never had a need for lunging except as a form of correction. I only recently decided to add this skill to my arsenal, and to my horse's.
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