teaching an older mare to canter
 
 

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teaching an older mare to canter

This is a discussion on teaching an older mare to canter within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
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  • 2 Post By Cherie

 
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    09-24-2012, 07:39 PM
  #1
Foal
teaching an older mare to canter

Last year I bought an 18yr old mare that doesn't seem to know how to canter. She has a beautifully smooth trot or jig. But if I ask her for more speed, instead of breaking into a canter, she speeds up her trot, at which point her trot becomes very rough. She seems reluctant to break out of this rough trot, and when she finally does, she breaks into an all out gallop. What is even more disheartening is that she does the same when she's out on the field w/ the other horses. The other horses will be cantering across the fields, & she'd be trying to keep up w/ her rough trot, until she breaks into an all out gallop. Anyone has any suggestions?
     
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    09-24-2012, 07:58 PM
  #2
Showing
I'm wondering if she's sore in the front hooves. Something you can try is to lead her in a straight line at the walk then make a tight turn to the left. Watch to see if she turns fairly smoothly, crossing one front in front of the other, or at least almost, or appears to hop or shuffle. Do the other side. If this is what she's doing either the vet or a good farrier should put the hoof testers to her plus do other assessments.
     
    09-24-2012, 08:10 PM
  #3
Banned
What breed is she?
     
    09-24-2012, 10:31 PM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexS    
What breed is she?
She's Arabian.
     
    09-25-2012, 07:58 AM
  #5
Super Moderator
Do you have access to a round pen? Ours is 65 feet in diameter. One much smaller would probably not work for this horse.

If you can get her into a round pen, you can force her to canter/gallop and make her stay in the gait. The only thing that really works for horses (and mules that are really bad about building an aversion to the lope) is to make them lope and lope and lope until they get comfortable enough doing it that you can start doing the same thing mounted and in the open. Then, you can use a long trail or big pasture to lope and lope and lope.

Loping her at length in a round pen will also let you evaluate how well she travels. She may be getting arthritic with her age. Make sure she is sound enough to do a lot of loping. If she is showing her age and getting arthritic, she is probably not going to improve much. Then, she is what she is.
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    09-25-2012, 11:13 AM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
I'm wondering if she's sore in the front hooves. Something you can try is to lead her in a straight line at the walk then make a tight turn to the left. Watch to see if she turns fairly smoothly, crossing one front in front of the other, or at least almost, or appears to hop or shuffle. Do the other side. If this is what she's doing either the vet or a good farrier should put the hoof testers to her plus do other assessments.
Thanks for the suggestion, Saddlebag. I tried that this morning, and she didn't have any problems making a tight turn, no hop, shuffle, or anything that was different than one of my other horses. She's never given any indication of soreness, either. Thanks.
     
    09-25-2012, 11:30 AM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
Do you have access to a round pen? Ours is 65 feet in diameter. One much smaller would probably not work for this horse.

If you can get her into a round pen, you can force her to canter/gallop and make her stay in the gait. The only thing that really works for horses (and mules that are really bad about building an aversion to the lope) is to make them lope and lope and lope until they get comfortable enough doing it that you can start doing the same thing mounted and in the open. Then, you can use a long trail or big pasture to lope and lope and lope.

Loping her at length in a round pen will also let you evaluate how well she travels. She may be getting arthritic with her age. Make sure she is sound enough to do a lot of loping. If she is showing her age and getting arthritic, she is probably not going to improve much. Then, she is what she is.

Thanks, Cherie. 19 yrs for an Arabian isn't all that old. And she moves fluidly, whether she's getting up from the ground & walking around in a cool damp morning, or the day following a long trail ride. Regretably, I don't have access to a round pen, because I tend to agree w/ you, she just has an aversion to the canter.
     

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