Tricks and tips on getting your standardbred to canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-20-2008, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Tricks and tips on getting your standardbred to canter

I've been given an off the track standardbred gelding. He's never been ridden before until I got him. I've been on him a total of 3-4 times, and I've already gotten him to trot a little. And I just wanted to know for the future if there's some trick or is it just time and patience to get him to canter under saddle?
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-21-2008, 12:37 AM
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Good question, I'd personally love to hear some ideas, as I have a gelding who walks, trots and canters on the lunge, but I can't seem to get him to canter under saddle... what I usually do is not working haha!

I tend to lunge them first in the canter. Most of them I've watched canter out in the paddock so I know it's there, it's just finding it. I think if you establish it on the lunge, and then give the usual cues for canter and just really ask him forward, they should at least attempt. I'm not too sure... my mare just cantered for me the first time I asked... and obviously Evo's just too long and not supple enough to even attempt... he goes to and then backs off.. no matter how much driving forward I do! I'm in no hurry, but would be interested to hear some ideas too :)

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post #3 of 14 Old 10-21-2008, 01:33 PM
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I own a 13 year old ex-racer standardbred. We have owned her since she was a yearling and she frequently raced free-legged (she was a pacer, she didnt race with hobbles).

To get her to canter I got her to balance herself on the lunge line first. I found if I was on the ground and she didnt have equipment on she thought it was "ok" to canter. Once in the saddle though we just ended up in a full tilt pace.

So I had a friend lunge her while I was on her. I basically sat there (but complimented her balancing not being a bump on a log lol) and my friend encouraged her. We only got a few strides in at a time but everytime she was given lots of praise. Once we could get a few canter rounds on the lunge I started trying it in a round pen by myself.

Its a matter of extreme patience. Remember they are taught not to canter at all costs and also may not be balanced well at a canter. Ofcourse every horse varies (obviously haha) But good luck!!

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A cat looks down on a man,
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-21-2008, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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thanks, for the lunging idea!
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-21-2008, 07:28 PM
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Lunging is definately important. If he is an ex racer like my horse, he will need to get used to balancing in a whole new way. He now has to carry a rider and its definitely different for him. I lunged my standardbred a LOT. ITs important.

Also for cantering, reward every single stride. some pick it up easier, some dont. My horse raced A LOT and won like 800K so i know it was difficult for him to break out of his racer ways =P
make sure youre experienced enough to handle it, some horses will be good tempered, but some will not like the scary feeling of being totally unbalanced at a canter until they get used to it and gain balance. So be prepared. Also be prepared for some serious speed LOL

Definitely start with a lot of circles. Standardbreds that are off the track are very stiff and won't bend readily because they need to stay straight most of the time. So do a lot of circles to reeeally get them flexible before you ask them to canter. Patience is really reallly important

OKay so when youre ready to canter be ready for tripping and its only gonna be a few strides at first. But be very rewarding. When they were trained a lot of riders would snap the reigns when the horse cantered at a young age. So give him his head. If you pull back to balance yourself or slow him toooo much he'll consider it a reprimand and stop immediately , he'll already be nervous in the gait.

Let him build up the necessary muscles on the longe. He'll need to get used to this. So a lot of longe work in the canter will definately be helpful

some tips:
collection- dont let him trot fast into a canter, keep the trot REALLY slow and ask in a corner. I cant emphasize the corner thing enough, they wont wanna pick it up on the straight at first. of course they will soon enough, but begin in corners.

aids - you need to use the exact same aids to ask for his canter every single time. every rider is different, some emphasize different things more than others, which is fine, but youre horse needs to be fine tuned TO YOU. so be sure to stay very very consistent.

IF you have anymore questions contact me anytime =D Ive successfully retrained a standardbred and am still training with him, so i can easily answer any of your questions and i certainly wish you luck

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post #6 of 14 Old 10-21-2008, 10:50 PM
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I don't agree that the lungeing is SOOO important. I have two otstndbds now. I have had two others. All learned to canter with me in the saddle, except the newest one ( a trotter) who is still in serious training.

I don't lunge for various reasons. What I did do was watch them in the paddock -- when did they canter on their own? when did they pace? when does the trotter trot? I saw that where the ground is even and predictable, they would pace; where the ground was rough they would canter. So, when I started training them under saddle I asked for a canter on rough ground.

Anytime I asked for more speed on the gravel road I live on, or in the even field I have, I would get a pace... but now, I can get a canter all the time from my girl! Also, The bending does help a lot... it seems to be extremely difficult, if not impossible to complete a defined turn in a pace, so ask for lots of corners. The trotter -- well, that's a whole other story...

Good luck.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-21-2008, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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This gelding, his name is Snafu, has been basically a pasture pet for the last 3(ish) years. He had a leg injury when his old owner (the lady who gave him to me) bought him straight off the track, quite literally. She treated it, and it hasn't been a problem for at least over a year and a half. She keeps him on joints supplements though. He knows how to canter, I've seen him run around in the paddocks playing the 'halter game' with other horses. And I have noticed the tripping. He did it sometimes while I was riding him. Is this normal/common for these horses? While I was riding him I was asking him to bend, and he does it very well, but that is probably because for the last few years I did bending exercises on the ground with him. So I guess that payed off. :) Do most standardbreds know how to lunge already? Or do I need to teach him? I've ground driven (if that's the word lol) him in a circles before both walking and trotting, but I don't think that really counts...
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-22-2008, 02:00 AM
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No in my experience with Standardbreds, they don't know how to lunge and you have to teach them.

Good advice, seems like I'm doing it right by the way everyone else is then :) Just gotta play the patience game with Evo then :)

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post #9 of 14 Old 10-23-2008, 10:32 PM
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I found part of the trick is to let them know they are allowed to canter. ie, give them lots of positive feedback as soon as they do. They are used to being prevented from cantering.

Also, realise that they won't have the muscle tone initially and it will be awkward for them.

And the old trick of asking for a canter in a corner/turn works too because of the shifting weight/balance.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-23-2008, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HTS View Post
And the old trick of asking for a canter in a corner/turn works too because of the shifting weight/balance.
I do not own a standardbred, but when I was training Vega, I would always ask her to canter in a corner, and I would slowly (after a few days or weeks of her mastering the corner canter) move away from the corner and onto the straight away.
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