My mare is 5, she was backed at 3 then turned away to mature and has been in light work now for just over a year. She was out of work for 12wks there due to no fault of her own.
Brought her in to work yesterday and started with some lunging. She is striking off to canter on correct leg on both reins but is disunited at the back. I rode her too for a short while and found she felt a bit stiff/straight around corners and when changing rein and also she was missing her cue for canter which she is usually very good at. She felt quite unbalanced in canter and came back to trot at corners.
I suspect this is of course all due to her being standing in a field most of summer. I'm planning on working on lunging to build up muscle and supple her up and also using trot riding in circles before worrying about ridden canter. However I've never dealt with the disunited in canter issue before. Any advice??
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It's a balance issue - she's young and doesn't have the "carry the rider" muscling yet. Suggest you stop cantering and work her on walk trot - focusing on teaching her to carry herself. Once you do that you can re-start the canter and if it's still dis-united then placed her into the shoulder fore position (which you should introduce during the walk/trot phase).
But she really needs to build topline and stomach muscles to carry both herself and the rider before you introduce shoulder fore.
Good for you for recognizing this! I'm going through this with my 10 yr old (I got him as a green-broke horse last January). Our goal for the winter is lots of walk, trot, half halts, softening and developing a stronger back to get his canter under saddle improved. Right now he's so inexperienced he hollows out and very uncomfortable for both of us.
Hi guys, thanks for response. I worked her again today and rather than lunge I long lined with two lines and used the whole arena. Found she can canter on the straight united but struggles at corners so definitely balance and cornering issues (with or without rider) I can't believe 12wks out of work has taken us this far back, before this we were cooking with gas!!
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12 weeks is quite a long time, especially for a young horse.
Just take your time, as Valentina said, get your trot work cooking first, build up muscle, get her very balanced and confident and only then, try for some canter again.
In canter under saddle, I'd be getting up off her back, keeping a light contact so she doesn't feel like she's doing it all alone, and just keep her going forward on long sweeping figures. If you can canter her on a trail or in a big open paddock that would be ideal.
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