Why is cantering such a problem for her?

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Why is cantering such a problem for her?

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    04-05-2009, 07:24 PM
Why is cantering such a problem for her?

For some reason, cantering under saddle has seemed to become a problem with my horse. She is now 7 years old and I have had her for about 3 years. Her "good" way is the right lead, I think because she is blind in her left eye and going this way she could see me while I was round penning her. She would go fine when I lunged her, but as soon as a rider got on she would turn into the center, buck, crowhop, etc. Eventually I got her to go comfortabley that way when I rode her, but the other direction was the problem. She would refuse and pull the same tricks she did while going the other way when we started, except she still is troubled. I don't think there is a pain issue because she has done it quite well before (on those good days, but after that it was back to square one). Now she will attempt it, but most of the time she just won't pick up her left lead. My coaches taught me to put my outside leg back when asking for a canter, but if that is wrong please tell me. I think that she does that because when she picks up the wrong lead, I bring her back to a trot and then try again and keep doing this until I am completely out of breath and then stop for a minute, so she gets out of work by doing this. It gets so frustrating sometimes, and I'm not quite sure what to do. If anyone can tell what I am doing wrong from reading this, or have any suggestions they would be much appriciated.
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    04-05-2009, 07:47 PM
Could be a saddle issue, just had to say that.

Have you tried just not worrying about her lead,but just let her canter? Sometimes they have to learn how to balance themselves, and letting them do the wrong thing helps them learn on their own. It's harder to canter with the wrong lead in small circles. So for now,just get her going, and steer her in small circles. It will be ugly at first,but it works. THey get tired and many times will want to change over on their own, especially if they get the correct lead without a rider. I also find that once YOU stop worrying about the lead, so does the horse. If you are overly concerned, then the rider will start inadvertantly sending confusing signals. Just relax, go back to square one, and she'll get it. When she finally gets it, just go a few strides, enough to enforce you did want her to canter, then let her stop or slow down and rest. Get 3 or 4 good lope offs and stop drilling on it for that day. Each day you can let her go longer, and she will be building muscle and stamina and balance on that lead. It won't take long before it just won't matter.

Keep cueing her the same as you always did, just don't bring her back down immediately if she flubs up, at least initially. And dont' worry about steering her in a small circle when she gets going. Let her lope off before you start spiraling in, and let her make bigger circles when she's on the correct lead, making the "right" thing easier, the wrong, harder.
    04-05-2009, 08:40 PM
Barefoothooves - thank you so much for that tip. You made me realize that I was worrying so much about the right lead and I wasn't getting anywhere. :)
I have one last question - will it hurt her at all to go in small circles on the wrong lead?
    04-05-2009, 09:09 PM
If she's just missing her lead out of ignorance or lazyness, no, it won't hurt her. In fact, it will just wear her out faster than if she were in the correct lead. Just like you write with one hand all the time,and you try to write a letter with the other, and you're hand will get tired and you'll get frustrated quick, but it won't hurt you. But if you try it every day and just write a word or two at a time, you'll get to where you can write that whole letter with that hand, maybe not as well as the other, or as comfortably,but it will happen. You're still right or left handed, and that side will always be your "go-to" side, but you are just more balanced. It's pretty much the same with horses.
    04-06-2009, 03:31 PM
^ thanks for the help! :)

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