won't canter to the right - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-15-2009, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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won't canter to the right

The morgan gelding that I ride has been taking on the nasty habit of refusing to canter to the right. He happily canters to the left, but if I ask him to canter the other way, he flattens his ears and swishes his tail at me and refuses to stay on the rail. Any advice for me.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-15-2009, 06:06 PM
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I did not clearly understand what you were trying to express throughout the chatroom. I would definitely get the veterinarian to come out and do a thorough examination of him. Sometimes horses tend to act up when they have an underlying problem or complication that is causing them pain. Animals tend to show pain in strange ways, but that could be what he is trying to communicate to you, as the rider. Typically, when a horse "swishes its tail", it is a symbol of annoyance, so you would definitely have to consider that. Stop for a brief moment, and take it in, what could he be annoyed at? Put yourself in his shoes, if we all stop to think before reacting, it will make us better riders as a result.

If the veterinarian cannot find and injury that could result in this, it could be because you are letting him get away with it. My horse used to be really funny like that, he would canter one way PERFECTLY but wouldn't stay on the rail in the opposite direction, it's just a matter of forcing them to do it (unless, of course they have an injury). Use strong aids, you have to teach the horse that YOU are the rider, not the other way around. Keep your leg on him, use your outside rein and your inside leg to guide him on to the rail. Is this horse known to have any vices? Buck? Bite? Kick? Rear?


Last edited by Angelhorsegirl; 12-15-2009 at 06:09 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-16-2009, 12:57 AM
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Angelhorsegirl- Having a vet out to check on a horse that is having problems is not always the best advice. In fact, rarely does a horse hurt so badly that it will manifest the pain by misbehaving and not be lame or have other obvious signs. Not every horse has a sore back.

Horsegal16- The fact that this is the second horse you have posted about that you can't ride or can barely ride leads me to belive that you are very young and new to horses. The only advice I can offer with a clear consience is to get an instructor and a good gentle old horse and learn to ride. Now you may want to refute my assumptions but your own post tell the story. There is nothing wrong with getting the help you need to enjoy horses. The only people that should be ashamed are those that refuse to see what they don't know and wallow in thier own ignorance.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-16-2009, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your concern. It does sound like I don't know how to ride . . .quite the opposite. I have been riding for almost four years now under an instructor and we owned horses until a few years back when we had to sell them. The horses I am working with are the ones that never get ridden by other people, problem horses, or new to the whole riding. Though I have been riding older horses so not to neglect my seat and improve my other fine riding skills. The horse above name is Johnny and he did what he does to his former rider, so that doesn't make me feel so bad. And I might say that that is his only vice. He doesn't rear, bite, kick, he will throw in the occassional buck, and he is my wonderful, willing jumper. However, I won't be able to get a vet out because he is not mine and he is my lesson horse so my instructor helps me out when he is feeling "full of it". Could it be something I am doing? Thanks and any more advice would be wonderful. (However, I am certainly no expert . . .that's for sure.)

Last edited by Horsegal16; 12-16-2009 at 08:35 AM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-16-2009, 09:34 AM
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Like us, horses are either right "handed" or left "handed". Most tend to be more right "handed". That means that they will tend to drop more weight onto their right shoulder. When the right shoulder is overly heavy, they will be unable to lighten it enough to "bend". They need to put weight into their outside shoulder to lighten their inside shoulder enough to pick up the inside lead. Instead of bending, they will LEAN into the circle putting even more weight onto the inside shoulder. When the horse leans in, the rider's weight is thrown in adding EVEN MORE weight to the inside shoulder. This makes picking up the correct lead sooooo hard.

This may be why your horse hates the right lead. It is a very common problem that I see in all my clinics. It is easily fixed by moving the horses center of balance into the outside shoulder through leg/seat/hand, creating more of a bend.

The reason the other lead is so easy is that he naturally puts weight on that shoulder when it is on the outside, making the bend more easily attained.

I have to say that I'm surprised that your instructor hasn't seen this, as it is the most common reason for cantering problems, in my experience.

Last edited by Allison Finch; 12-16-2009 at 09:38 AM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-16-2009, 11:20 AM
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I wish it was possible for all of us to give you the advice you are asking for. The reality is that it could be a host of different things but usually it is a combination of you and the horse. The "fix" is only possible by being there to see whats going on.

Best if you can find someone that can watch what is happening that knows.
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