from trot to canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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from trot to canter

my horse is horrible at transitioning from trot to canter. i ask him on one side of the arena and he wont get it until the other side of the arena no matter what i do. he gets it fine on the lunge, all i have to do is ask for it and he gets it almost instantly but when i try to do it while riding him he gets all stubborn. he does that extended trot until he other side of the arena and with a LOT of encourgement he'll finally get it. he's fine once he's in the canter its just getting it thats the problem? anyone have any ideas on how to fix it?
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 04:34 PM
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Keep in mind, its easier for a young or unfit horse to pick up the canter on a bend (like a circle, when you lunge). Not only are their bodies in the proper frame to take up the 3-beat gait more easily, but they have to carry themselves more to achieve the circle, as opposed to stringing out and leaning on you. If you are still having problems, even on the circle, examine your riding: are your aids strong and clear enough? Are you leaning forward at all? Are you asking at the right time?
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 05:18 PM
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As said before, exaimine the way you are riding him. Make sure that you are asking him correctly and that he is in a bend. Make sure you are not leaning to one side or another, etc.
After you have checked yourself, if that is not the problem, then concentrate on the horse. Some horses have a harder time picking up the canter than others, either because they really have not developed the muscle to do so or they are lazy or something is hurting them, etc. Do some uphill work and let him develop the muscles in his back end. Just start by doing it a couple times a week and it will make a big difference. Try asking him to canter over a pole. Set them out and say ok we are going to canter over the pole, at first ask him early and let him run into it, then once he starts getting the hang of it decrease the space in which you are asking him. Make sure to not canter over the pole everytime. Sometimes throw in a walk or trot, just so he knows that poles do not always mean canter.
If there is any pain, you would most likely see it in his expression. If his ears are back and his tail is swishing, then thats a sign that you may have an issue.
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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i'll check my position but i usually have a really nice seat. i just think he needs to learn to canter when i ask him. he's still really green, im training him myself. he's deffinitley got butt muscle, that's not an issue. we do a lot of poles and occasionally do some hill work. i dont think its a pain issue because as soon as he gets it his ears prick forward and he calms down. he likes cantering he just doesn't like me pushing him into it. i'll deffinitely do the pole thing though. i think that will make a big difference. thanks for the advice!

My horse's feet are as swift as rolling thunder, He carries me away from all my fears, And when the world threatens to fall asunder, His mane is there to wipe away my tears.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 06:44 PM
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I find that sometimes when asking for speed I brace myself in an attempt to get ready for it. Perhaps that is the cue that the horse is picking up on and its canceling out the canter cue. He may just be confused. I'd check to make sure you're not sending mixed signals. Just my 2 cents.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

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post #6 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 10:58 PM
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I would make sure you ask for the canter when your horse is in a slow trot, and every time he goes into that fast trot, just slow him down. Also check yourself and make sure that your not doin anythin that may cause him to not proceed into the lope. Also have you tried Kiss/kick/and maybe a slap with the crop all at once..

Hope that helps,

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post #7 of 9 Old 07-07-2008, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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yes, i got him to do a perfect transition with a crop in my hand. i think he was just honestly being lazy at not wanting to canter. but he learned to pay attention quick with a crop in my hand. i didnt even need to use after the first couple of times.

My horse's feet are as swift as rolling thunder, He carries me away from all my fears, And when the world threatens to fall asunder, His mane is there to wipe away my tears.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-08-2008, 03:35 AM
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try talking to your horse, use voice commands, you say he responds on the lunge so use voice when you ride.. if he rushs forwards into a fast not continue to ask him to canter, check him back, steady him, and ask ask.. it may tke 15 mins of checking him back and asking again but otherwise hes just learning to run into canter
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-08-2008, 08:08 AM
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Just thought I'd toss my 2 cents in.

I have a "lazy" horse that was hard to motivate to canter . Usually once he'd made that transition a couple of times, he'd warm up to it, or the idea of it. Anyhoo, when I was training him (maybe it's my training that made him lazy, too :roll: ) he was slow to learn his leads and to figure out how to not cross fire. He was what I call a late bloomer (so much for being a descendant of race horses ). It took a lot of conditioning to get him to figure out how to pick up a canter. I don't know if I would make a huge deal out of it just yet, just keep building those muscles and don't quit trying until he gives you a few strides at least.

I found that slapping with the reins on the rear did more to motivate that anything, much like you would use a bat. I got careless with my spurs once out of frustration and he bucked, reminding me that wasn't very nice. But I always used my regular cue before resorting to the rein slap (and I have really long reins, so I knew I wasn't pulling his mouth at the same time) and he got it after a while.

Also, I find if I pushed him into a fast trot and did't LET him canter, he suddenly found that trotting is a lot harder than cantering and willingly wanted to breakover into a canter . A little reverse physcology.

My lazy horse still requires more effort to get into that first canter of the day than some horses, but we're talking just a firmer leg cue and a split second slower to pick it up, not a significant delay. He just makes SURE I want to run first. :roll:
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