Working with a bad canter...! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 04-01-2009, 09:02 PM
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Vet vet vet!
I had an old horse who physically could not canter on his left lead.
Also, at 20 you really have to think about drastically reducing the workload of the horse. Many horses at this age should be restricted to mainly walking under saddle and all round penning and lunging should be ceased in order to maintain soundness and good joint health for a longer period of time.
If you continue to ride her hard well into her 20s, she will probably not stay even pasture sound and will have to be put down much before her "time".
im going to have to stongly disagree too! i have a 24 year old and i still do averything with him! walk, trot, canter, gallop, jump, 7 hour rides etc.... and he has no problems at all and he loves it!!! even though his gallop it quite slow but he still gallops! lol! i had a friend whos horse was 30 and she was still riding her! and i have another friend who has a 39 year old and they stopped riding him when he was about 35 i think jsut cause he was getting old, no physical reason.

and also i think someone mentiond above that it will be harder to teach cause she is 20, i could have miss read, but age doesnt matter, even if she was 30 you cans till teach her new tricks! lol!!! unless there is a physical reason of course!

as for fixing the problem, i wouldnt really know. but the ground poles sound like it definatly worth a try! id give that a go! Good luck!!

Horses lend us the wings we lack
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post #12 of 18 Old 04-02-2009, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by koomy56 View Post
You can just teach her to be aware of all her parts. She knows to canter correctly in the front, but somehow along the way she's lost touch with her hind end. lol
A good exersize is to put her on a lunge line, small enough of a circle where you can touch her with the end of a long whip. Start out by touching her everywhere with it, to make sure she isnt a whip shy horse. If she seems okay with the whip, ask for a walk and just gently start to tap her on various, random parts of her body. Tap her inside hock to see if she will reach that leg due to the aid of the whip. If not, you may need to tap harder to get her to re-awaken her senses to the back part of her body. Do that on both legs, teach her that she has 4 legs, not just 2. Send her into trot by tapping that outside hock or wherever you get the best response on her outside leg. You want your timing so that as that outside leg is about to lift, you tap, the leg lifts takes a step, them comes back down, you tap, the leg lifts and takes a step, etc etc etc. That will encourage her to straighten herself so that she can canter correctly behind. It will also get her to engage that old hind end of hers and eventually put her into a whole package.
If she comes back down to walk, allow it, then ask for trot again. Once y ou feel you can easily send her to trot with a tap on that outside leg,you can tap for a bigger trot, and then you can slowly let the lead out and see if that helps her at all. It will take a while, wont be a quick fix so be patient and allow her to find it with plenty of time and patience. This problem wont be fixed by force or by rushing her, you have to teach her how to use herself again.
She will need to build up the appropriate muscles, things will feel weird, so just go with the flow and dont expect too much. You will get there.

She is EXTREMELY whip shy. and shes all voice commands. NO leg what so ever.
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post #13 of 18 Old 04-02-2009, 03:51 PM
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I've been working with a horse with a similar issue. She never has found her feet and was just a mess with cantering.

It's taken six lessons (1 hour each) to get her to relax into the canter and now she finally is learning to relax and use her four feet correctly.

I didn't use poles or anything other than a simple 22 ft line and a halter. We're in an open arena. I'd recommend an arena over a round pen. Simply because some horses feel too closed in in a round pen and can move more freely in an open space.

Anyhow, I just send her off and half circle stopped her by disengaging her hips and sent her out and change directions, repeat repeat repeat.

She would stay humped up and tense and would buck a lot and bounce around, rearing and bucking....because she just wasn't finding her feet.

But with so much go and stop (by disengaging the hips) and loads of hips over with her head flexed to the side (flex at a stand still then move her hips over then release and repeat a million times)......

Point is....the more HIP work that you do, you strengthen her hindquarters and you also help her find her balance.

Because when you disengage the hips correctly, the horse must cross the back feet and this takes balance.....because you are unbalancing the horse...he must relax his body to do this correctly and if he relaxes his body THEN he can find his feet to canter.

And I totally disagree with the age thing. Doesn't matter if the horse is 20. As long as there are no healthy issues, you can build this horse up and work just as hard as a young horse. Heck, there's horses that are competing at the NFR as barrel racers that are in their mid-20s.

Anyhow, the more HIP exercises you do (hip disengaging both sides, not just one)....the more you can help this horse find his feet.

Today I had an awesome session with the mare I'm speaking of. She's finally learned to find her feet and she canters on command....her owner says it's the first time she's seen her canter like that, a "normal horse"...and it's all because of the hip work.
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-04-2009, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks so much calamity jane!!
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post #15 of 18 Old 04-05-2009, 03:49 AM
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This is a video as I've started working with her. She is actually better now, if you can believe it from the first few frames. She was EXTREMELY uptight and very tense. You could literally see her body be bunched up as she was so frustrated about not finding her back get them in sync with her front feet. She loped really funky.

In the video I got some footage of the better moments of lope (eventually)....but she still needs more work to make that consistent and to get rid of all of the tension to pressure that she tends to harbor.

Also, you'll see the flex at the stand still and hip overs. Awesome exercises. I highly recommend them to soften up a horse. In that order.

She's really a nice horse, she was just bucked out when she was started and got stuck with the bucking attitude of tension in the body when pressure is applied. Her feet were sticky and she resented all requests for forward movement (thus the hoppity hop stuff at the beginning. It's a throwback to her old bad training from another trainer). But she's getting better.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Calamity Jane; 04-05-2009 at 03:56 AM.
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post #16 of 18 Old 04-05-2009, 04:10 AM
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For a weird reason I wasn't allowed to add more to that post. Anyhow..

I was asking her to disengage her hindquarters and she was too tensed up and would rear up and bounce around. Then I asked her to go forward a little so I could then disengage her too, and that wasn't pretty, either. I wasn't pulling on her and there was no fighting. I was merely asking her two things: go forward a little and then stop by disengaging. Reason I used a 14 ft line and kept it short was because she was so wound up, I didn't want her to blast off like she did the first couple of times I started to work with her.

I gotta build her up in her body strength as she's out of shape (totally) because of her rehab. She's fine to work, but I don't want to let her go zooming around, that can get her to become sore enough to swell up her back legs, so I only want a start of a Go forward and shut her down with the hip. She is very animated in the beginning as you see.

Note: I put "Lope was imbalanced" because she used to be (the past 2 times she's been way better)

For the loping I used a 22 ft lead.
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post #17 of 18 Old 04-07-2009, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah i can see that in the video. and its obvious you were not trying to hurt her what so ever.

Ive been free lounging her in the round pen and that seems to be helping out. i have yet to try the ground poles on the ground, and have her trot/canter over them. the weather out here is literally 75 one day and the next where having a snow storm.


=) but yes, your video helped.
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post #18 of 18 Old 04-08-2009, 07:26 PM
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Does she do this with both leads or just one? If she does it with both, then when you ask her to canter, look to the outside. (If she isnt crop/whip scared) carry a crop on your outside hand. When you go to canter, look to outside and give her a tap on her hind. If she wasnt tought properly on how to balance her self. She may need some correcting. By looking to the outside this makes sure you dont look down to throw her off balance. And by tapping her with the crop its letting her know that she does have a hind end and to use it. Add some ground poles. Try putting them on the corners, and ask her for the canter right before you go over the pole. This will tell her to pay attention to her feet and where she is carrying them..
Try this and let me know. I am currently training a 5 year old, and she has no balance what-so-everrr. And by looking to the outside this is also shifting your weight to the outside, so she has less weight on her inside, so she can pick up her feet and put them where they should be at the canter.. (lol make sure you look back straight after you get the canter so you dont run into anything lol =])
Practice makes perfect
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