Getting Strong at the Canter...? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-12-2011, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Maryland
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Getting Strong at the Canter...?

My horse has always been a very easy ride. I used to be able to ride her on the buckle over 2'6" courses and she'd just plod along willingly and calmly. This year, she's moved to three different barns. Once in Jan. for interschool, where she was ridden by many other people who all called her very easy and would often fight over riding her. Near finals, the girl who would be riding her asked me how to keep her from getting heavy on the forehand. This was the first sign of trouble. Her attidute had changed a little bit and realizing the barn wasn't a happy place for her, I got her checked by my vet before moving her near me after interschool. The vet said she was healthy but needed her teeth floated. I blamed the behavior on her teeth because soon after, she was back to normal. after a few weeks, however, I noticed she'd get heavy in the mouth and pick up speed every jump. Nothing too severe, because she'd stop when I asked. I still worked on transitions every ride and didn't ride in her mouth or anything. Nearing july (right before we were supposed to move to yet another barn) I was having issues with her brakes. She had become increasingly heavy and strong at the canter and while jumping. When we moved, the issue got worse, then better for a while and now its worse than ever.
Every time I work with her now, I lunge her for about 15 minutes to make sure she's listening. then I do transitions at the walk. Collected walk, extended walk, medium walk, halt. I change up the order and the steps and add in circles and surpentines as well. When we go across the diagnol or near a jump she gets a little excited so I keep doing whatever I'm doing until she calms down.
Then we do trot work. Her trot is very energetic at first and takes several laps before she starts to relax. I do the same transitions I do at the walk, trotting. I do circle after circle practicing on one lap very slow, one lap fast, and alternate, stopping occasionally. When we work in the middle of the ring, it takes a little more time for her to calm down, so I do a lot of work there. Eventually, she calms down and I can ride easily on light contact and slow her with my seat and have her pay attention. After I decide she's behaving well, I add in jumps. (lately they've been fairly small, I just want calmness, not height) and for the most part, she's pretty good about maintaining rythm and speed and listening to aids, and stopping.
After working forever on trotting exercises, I add in the canter. I generally like to go a lap at a gait before adding in transitions or circles, or whatever.. But at the canter, I go straight into transitions now because of how forward she can get. At first, she's very tense and doesn't give to aids at all and it takes a few steps before she drops down to whatever gait I'm asking of her. but no matter how long we work at the canter, she's still very quick. I do circle work until she's dripping sweat. Her stops at the canter are never what they used to be and I'm still not happy about them. Cantering jumps isn't too bad as long as I ask for a downward transition soon after the jump. Two jumps in a row equals wayy too much speed and not enough control.
I'm worried about what's causing this. I haven't ridden aggressively or in her mouth.. I sit at a full seat now and maintain contact and I don't get afraid or nervous.. She just wants to go! all the time.
I'm wondering if it was because of the change in her bit. She had a regular copper full cheek snaffle all her life but because of poor fit I decided to get her a D ring snaffle with copper rollers. Maybe she doesn't like it?
Is there anything else that could be the cause of this? Anything I could do to change this?

Videos of her jumping from oldest to most recent:
(my friend riding)

“Have fun - Stay on top.”
"There's nothing like sixteen hands between your legs"

Last edited by LoveTheSaddlebreds; 08-12-2011 at 01:54 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-12-2011, 02:19 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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My suggestion, do lots amd lots of trot to halt trantions before going into the canter, when he feels strong halt and make him stand and then trot and halt a few times, this will really get him to use his back and sit down.

You can also flex him left and right at the halt and it will get him more relxed in his neck and poll there fore he will not be so strong.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-12-2011, 11:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Southern California
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you sound like you already have an idea of what is going on with your mare. As well as a confident, educated rider.
My gelding LOOOOOVES to jump. He is really quite spry and when we start to jump full courses, he can get pretty hot and becomes heavy on my hands. I have done a couple thing... so i will tell you what worked for me when he gets this way.
First, i started on the ground. i worked with him a TON on the ground. Transitions, stopping, backing up, just listening to me. We especially worked on the word "whoa" and the word "easy". They are two very different words when i am working with my boy. Whoa is exactly what it means... it means i want you to stop. period.
Easy means "hey, just relax... this isn't a race... we can just take our time... don't stress!" Since he has learned "Easy" it has been a whole new ride. I can literally sit up, open up my chest, say "easy" and his canter goes from belligerent and strung out, to nice, collected, and relaxed.

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-14-2011, 11:21 AM
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You're not kidding. That horse loves to jump! One exercise I've found to be helpful with keeping the horse tuned into the rider and not the jumps is to set up jumps at 3:00 and 9:00 o'clock. Jump the first jump and then proceed onto a canter circle until you have the exact canter tempo you asked for. Then move onto the other fence and repeat the canter circle. If the horse gives you a nice steady circle the first time, great, move onto the next jump. If she decides to motorboat around it, just keep circling until she listens to you instead of getting locked in on the fence. One caveat, make sure to put the fences in spots where you can do the canter circles in a way that does not line your horse up with the fence each time you go around. You want the horse to see the fence, but know for sure that you will not be jumping it until you say so. Good luck!

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-15-2011, 11:11 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Pasadena, Maryland
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I'm sorry I have nothing to help you with :/ But that second video looks sooo familiar. I think I might have seen it before, was your mare advertised for sale? I'm pretty sure I saw it on a for sale site, maybe not..
lubylol is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 08-15-2011, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Maryland
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Yea she is for sale right now actually. I've actually gotten her back to normal, with consistant work she went back to the way she was ^^ Thanks for all the help everyone

“Have fun - Stay on top.”
"There's nothing like sixteen hands between your legs"
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