Improving my horses balance..?

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Improving my horses balance..?

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    01-10-2014, 11:28 PM
Improving my horses balance..?

I have a 7 year old aqha mare, who hadn't had much training except on the ground. When I got her, I trained her into a hunter under saddle walk trot horse. But every time I ask her to canter, she either trots really fast, or breaks into a gallop. She's always really willing to do whatever I ask, except when I ask for the canter. I think her problem is that she's not balanced enough, so she just tries to trot really fast or gallop simply because it's easier for her. So, my question, how can I help her improve her balance? Or do you think that's not the issue?
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    01-10-2014, 11:41 PM
Cantering takes a lot of balance, yes. It also takes a lot of strength from the hind end/back. If she is stronger in the shoulders, she would prefer to trot. Also, she could be confused about what gait you expect. Sometimes you have to be clear that its not FASTER that you want. Its a different gait all together. How does she canter on the longe line? Personally, I would teach her to have a balanced canter from the ground first. I would make sure she understands the verbal command "canter." And I would make sure she can pick up the correct leads. All of this aids in balance... But if you're having trouble from in the saddle, I would consider going back to the ground and working her until she understands more of what you're expecting from her. It will be less stressful for both of you.
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    01-11-2014, 03:24 PM
She canters great on the ground, and will 90% of the time pick up the correct leads (if she doesn't I make her stop and pick it up again).
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    01-11-2014, 04:42 PM
SHe out of balance, take her out of the hunter frame and let her carry her head where she is more balanced. I teach hunter too but the propblem is the frame we put our horses in when in hunter frame, it can put most them out of balance if not trained corectly and heavy on the forhand, this can cause many diffrent problmes. Get her off forhand, she get balanced up and the canter will improve. Do you have an coach? Also work on some dressage training to help balance your horse!!
    01-11-2014, 05:49 PM
My horse used to be wobbly cantering while carrying me! Until I got him trained over the summer now he's ok but he goes n the wrong leg when we canter on the right rein :/
    01-11-2014, 11:31 PM
How is your balance? If you're off, she will be too. Are you allowing her enough rein to get into a good canter? Its so hard to say without seeing it. I agree with Whitaker. Dressage might be best for your balance, her balance, and your balance together.
    01-12-2014, 01:21 PM
So far, I haven't tried putting her in the hunter frame yet because she seems so uncomfortable with it while holding her head however she wants. I've been doing some massages, and they seem to help a little, but not a significant amount. It's just confusing; why will she canter in the pasture at her own will, in the round pen when I ask, and on the lunge line when I ask. So why won't she canter under saddle?

Note: She behaves better in general when I ride bareback (either in a halter or a bridle), with 2 poles set up on one side of the arena so she can check herself at the trot (she gets kinda speedy if she doesn't have those poles to keep her thinking). I don't know if that has any significance but I just thought I would add that in.
    01-12-2014, 01:26 PM
I have great balance, and keep her on a loose rein when I ask her to canter.
    01-17-2014, 12:06 PM
You mentioned that she's better when you ride bareback - There is much more communication through the body without a saddle between you. When you ask for the transition to the canter under saddle, are you staying deep in the saddle, going into a half-seat, two-point? She might be loosing contact with you if you are using the latter two, which may be confusing her. I would try whichever method you use when you ride bareback, if not already. Just what came to mind when you mentioned the bareback part.
    01-17-2014, 02:56 PM
Green Broke
Hate to say it, but dressage dressage dressage. Or if you like, good solid flatwork. First I'd start off with making sure that your horse is tuned up to your leg. Softly, harder, hardest. (I can elaborate if you need me to). Then get to where you can move around her hind end (turn on the forehand, then leg yield). The footfalls of the canter start with the outside hind. So if you can leg yield your horse it's much easier for them to transition into the canter. Imagine: as they leg yield their inside hind crosses underneath them, so the next step is the outside hind, which then leads off into the canter. This might a little more advanced. For horses I'm starting or even a green broke horse I'll let them trot until they "fall into" the canter just so they can get the idea of cantering undersaddle. But as soon as they have an idea I start getting more precise with them for this very reason. But you are correct, if she is having trouble she could probably use more balance. This is where flatwork comes in handy again. :) If you can get her trot nice and balanced the canter will be a million times easier for her. Start with lots of simple things like circles and serpantines, and start little steps of turn on the forehand and leg yield. Gradually start asking more of her and her canter departs will improve.
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