when can i start cantering - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Question when can i start cantering

im looking into a new horse and the owner said she is too young to canter yet she is three years old. Which if she(the mare) can trot shouldnt she be able to canter. I want a good barrel horse and it said on the post where I found the mare that she cantered her a few times but the owner said she shouldnt do a barrel pattern at a canter, is this right? If so why and how? I understand that most horses arent developed until about four or five years of age but this mare looks really well developed it might just be the pic but can anyone give me advise?
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 01:00 PM
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IMO, if you haven't dealt with starting and training of young horses you should not be looking at this mare. It sounds as if you want a horse you can get on and run right away. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, she is only 3 years old and it will be a couple years before she is fully developed and is able to run hard without breaking down.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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I actually have dealt with training horses but when I get other opinions I like to take them in to consideration which this one I needed other persons to quote in on. I understand I can't just get on and go and that's not what I want, I have a year until my other horse can even start riding so I have that whole time to work her. But I need to know if the owner is right or if there could be a problem with the horse if it can't canter.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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but I also have a good trainer to help me in problem areas. I would wait until next fall to run her but its just a starting point and if I buy the horse I want to at least have knowledge it will canter and not be a walk trot horse. Ya know? So not tryin to sound mean just stating things
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 01:36 PM
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to be fully sure she is developed already would take x-rays most people don't like to do that so they either waite till 4-5 or lightly start them then put them out to pasture for another year I believe. This saves your horses legs in the long run. I would say you could canter her but only a couple of strides and no you should not canter the pattern yet you should start off lots of walking and trotting before cantering at all

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post #6 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 01:36 PM
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My thoughts would be that if you were simply loping the pattern it may not be so bad. But the owner probably doesnt want her running barrels yet.It would not be beneficial for a young horses joints or mind to be worked heavily like that. On the other hand... at 3 I'd think if the horse is being ridden, it should also be lightly cantered to learn correct balance and how to carry itself. But this isnt something the horse needs drilled into it.

You mentioned having a year until your other horse is ready to ride. A year is not very long, so although you can definitely progress, I want you to know you will not be able to ride her hard just because you have a year to work her. If you already have one in training, i'd suggest looking for a more seasoned horse to ride until you are training your other one.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 01:50 PM
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She's not too young to canter. I would start by cantering her on a long lunge-line first. Do many short sessions and then after she has begun to find her "rythm", introduce her to cantering with you in saddle, but still on the lunge-line, have someone else hold it for you. After she learns to balance herself cantering with you on board take her off the line and ask for the canter in a large open round-pen. Practice for short sessions in one direction with maintaining form and keeping a steady pace. I wouldn't start introducing patterns and turns until you both look and feel balanced and under-control. Don't rush the training and don't do cantering work for more than 5 or so minutes or so each session when you first start training her or unescessary strain will be put on her not yet fully developed muscles. Good luck!
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 01:59 PM
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I don't have a lot of experience in barrels... I had a good barrel horse in high school but my focus was on the pleasure, so I only did a few years of it. So in my very unprofessional opinion....
If I'm reading this right, she's not loping at all? Or just not loping patterns? If she's not loping at all, there's no reason why you can't get that horse in gear and get her moving. In my opinion a horse should be loping within the first few rides. Some like to take it slow and go months of walking and trotting, but I get mine loping within the first few rides.

Loping a pattern though, needs to be done carefully and after they're done growing. There's a reason you don't see good barrel horses until they're about 8 years old; most haven't even seen a barrel until they're 5. It's a tough job they have and their joints don't fair too well if they're pushed before they're done growing. Just because she may look fully developed at 3, trust me, she's got more growing to do.

I think she probably needs a year as it is to get the basics down anyways. She needs to be BROKE before you venture into the barrels. I mean: moving off your legs, soft mouth, soft sides, taking cues, lead changes (simple is a must, flying lead changes are preferred). As of right now, as a 3 year old that doesn't lope, she certainly should not be getting into barrel patterns for quite a while. So there's my 2 cents. :) Good luck to you with your search!
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 02:01 PM
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Actually horses are not developed till 5 or 6, and some it takes up to 7 (depending on breed). With barrels you definitely want to wait till she's 6 or 7 as barrels are hard on legs. As for loping... 3 is still very young, most of them are still very unbalanced. May be some introduction to the lope would be OK (if her knees are closed, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) they may not be still for some at this age?), but definitely not a heavy work. If you want a horse to run soon, I'd look for older one.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-10-2011, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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thanks guys. It really helps and I think I've figured to look for an older horse. Does anyone know of anything in michigan?
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