Major Canter problems (video)
I have posted a few threats on my horse cross firing in the canter, well, I now I have a video and that may give a better idea of what he does.
He is almost 18 years old, but he has been doing this ever since I got him in 2010.
I have had:
-the vet look at him (she says he is fine)
-had a saddle fitter come out
So I know it is not a pain issue at all. I put side reins on him,(in the video) they were on the tightest ring but he still put his head up. I don't know what to do with him really, if I slow him down into a slow canter he will do it more, if I speed him up then he will do it less but he practically is in a gallop.
Any advice would be great on how to solve this problem. Thanks!
To help your horse improve his canter, you will need to go back to basics to improve his frame - how he carries himself. In your video, he is in an inverted frame in all 3 gaits. That means his head and neck are up and his back is dropped. In this frame, he cannot bring his hindquarters well underneath himself.
He is also counter bent meaning his body is bent to the left when he is going to the right (and vice versa). As a result, he is unbalanced and falling in to the circle.
To perform at his best, the horse needs to work with his back at least level. This frame allows the horse to create impulsion by engaging his hindquarters as they reach well underneath his body. His hindquarters are driving his forward movement. His head and neck can then work as the balancing mechanism they are built to be. The further the hind legs reach under the body, the more the back naturally lifts. The horse can move with elegance and ease through all transitions and in all gaits even when carrying a rider.
You need to go back to basics with your horse and get him working in a long and low frame first. This will lengthen his tight back and neck muscles and start to strengthen his weak hindquarters. As his suppleness and muscle strength improve, the next stage is to bring him into a level frame.
Going back to basics means that you begin at the walk and development good walk/halt/walk transitions and changes of direction without any inverting (high headed frame). When those are consistent, move on to walk/trot transitions - again focusing on keeping your horse in a level or low frame. Only when you have developed consistency and your horse has built up the strength in his hindquarters and back muscles do you begin work on the canter. This takes time and it will help you if you can work with an experienced coach/trainer. Find one who does not use gadgets to "fix" problems. Your riding and knowledge will also improve.
Take a look at my blog for more information on how your horse's shape affects the quality of his performance.
Hm, looks physical to me. Did the vet study him while he was cantering?
Thank you! That helps alot! I ask him to get his head down while riding but he likes to put it back up. So you are not a fan of tie downs or martingales?
Not while cantering no, but I asked her. She said she thought is was a muscle issue and that he is middle aged.
Have you tried a chiropractor? Might think about it.
The vet said he did not have back problems.
Actually, I was thinking hip or stifle problems. I think he has lovely gaits otherwise, but it seems as if he's uncomfortable.
Rascal couldn't get his back end to keep pace with the front. We still have days where he has this problem at a canter. Even at a walk before we got some of his muscles built up. He had NO muscle and is still under muscled in his topline. He will most likely always be this way.... Time, therapy, chiro, diet, and loads of exercise have helped a LOT. But this will always be an issue for him.
ETA: This was also extremely painful at the canter to start with. He kept, for want of a better term, pulling a groin muscle.
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