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SoCalCowgirl 11-22-2011 04:31 PM

Western Pleasure Training Help
So this is my first post here and in need of some help.

Where to start?

I'll try to keep this short and not so lengty. So basically i'm training my horse for western pleasure and we are having some problems. We used to ride hunter/jumper but due to navicular *he is sound for flat* I have switched to western pleasure. After lurking around here and watching youtube videos i've gotten the basic understanding of how to riide western.

I've gotten him to have a really nice collected jog by ballancing him, i've been working with serpantines, circles, and figure eights and he has really been pushing underneath himself and getting a really nice jog. He has a natural level headseat and the correct stride length for western pleasure and has come along real nice. Now the problem comes at the canter. We go from having a really nice jog to an embarresingly bad canter. He gets extremely stiff and tosses his head up and is nearly impossible to work it down. He doesnt move his hind end beneath him and moves very up and down. Watching him on the lungeline he moves the same way. Today I ran my hand along his spine to see if the saddle was causing him to be stiff and he didn't flintch at all. Is the canter/lope something that we'll just get overtime? Or are there some training methods out there that i can use to get the canter/lope to improve?

Sorry no pics/videos but I will try to get some in the near future. And I know putting him in training would be best but there isin't a good western trainer where I ride. So I have to learn this new disciplin from reading and youtube videos.

stacysills02 11-22-2011 07:34 PM

I had the same issue. my horse is 4 and his jogs awsome his lope was well bad . but weve been working on it alot. its been 4 months and hes just now figureing out his head sopost to go down. he still tosses it a little but its getting better. What really help was we loped for a few weeks without asking for his head i allso had his teeth done. you could try this hopefully it will work for u

farmpony84 11-22-2011 07:48 PM

Worry about the head and the speed last. If he was a local level hunter then chances are he rode somewhat on the front end and probably carried his head higher using the rein preasure as a "third leg". He needs to move forward from the rear first then you can work on lowering the head and slowing him down. Do not slow him down until you get him moving correctly. The "hopping" is him trying to shorten his stride because he knows he's supposed to go slow. What he's going to end up doing is a broken gait. Trust me, I'm speaking from experience! Get the forward movement then lower the head and slow the horse...

Good luck.

Annnie31 11-24-2011 08:01 AM

She may have some stiffness at the lope due to the navicular.

Dreamcatcher Arabians 11-24-2011 10:15 AM

Western Pleasure requires some pretty extreme collection and I don't know if I'd ask that of a navicular horse.

smrobs 11-24-2011 12:36 PM

I have an urge to agree with Annie and DCA, I am really wondering how much of the issues at the canter have to do with the navicular, especially since you said he does it both with/without rider.

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