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howrsegirl123 11-18-2012 11:09 AM

Crazy while cantering at shows
My horse hadn't been in shows till I got him and I took him to 5 this summer and fall. He got better each time about being in a new place, and he got better overall about doing well in the arena and actually showing. However, he still does not canter well at a show. I can warm him up in the arena cantering and he's perfectly fine; but when he's in there with a bunch of others cantering he freaks out and tries to go really fast and race everybody. I don't know if he's scared or just really hyped up. What can I do to get him to be calmer while cantering? He normally has a great canter but completely loses it once we're in the class.
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howrsegirl123 11-18-2012 11:11 AM

He has gotten a bit better about it though; our first time in a canter class he ran off with me, and this last time he was still fast but more controllable. I just hate it because I know he can do sooo much better but I can't get him to. Does he need more experience riding in a group?
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Celeste 11-18-2012 04:15 PM

He probably is too excited. He needs more experience.

Cowboy Ringo 11-20-2012 02:20 AM

The fact that you can contain yours after only 5 shows means your heading in the right direction.
I usually show one of my stallions and its a headache when they first begin. Give it time, after another year, youll see a major improvement.

howrsegirl123 11-20-2012 07:54 AM

Thanks Cowboy Ringo. That makes me feel better!
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Iseul 11-20-2012 09:48 AM

That's what I dealt with all show season with ST..not evens seriously showing. I could canter her on a pattern and she'd be fine..but try and canter her down the long side of the arena? Pfft, forget went all the way back to the end gate on the rail where she'd then decide to slam the brakes on, regardless of cues to move her forward.
I can take her out to a field and canter maybe 20 yards and she'll pull up just fine, takes off in an arena though.
My fix wasn't experience though..I get to shows early and get in the arena before anyone else and run her along the rail until she wants to stop..and then we go another half lap. I figured that out (I was just trying to get her to change her lead, actually, lol) at a show after we quite literally almost ran a world class pleasure horse over..After she gets that run in and her excess excitement of cantering (she's a walk/trot trail horse..hadn't cantered until I was taking her to shows to train) out, she'll do anything I ask of her and be responsive.
I figured the first time she took off was because I pushed her on the long side..had no idea she'd take off in the middle of a pleasure class, haha.
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PintoJumper 11-21-2012 01:34 AM

Is there a way you can practice having horses pass him at the canter where you board as practice? It might help. I always ask people to do this when i'm training "babies".

NBEventer 11-21-2012 07:45 PM

Food for thought. Is there any small tiny little part of you that panics at the thought of cantering in a group? 99% of the time that is what it is. Your body language without you even knowing it is expecting this explosion of wanting to race. You said yourself he is fine in the warm up ring, and there is more chaos in the warm up ring then there is in the show ring.

Even the smallest tension in your body language(anticipation) feeds to your horse which makes him/her go "wahoo we're off to the races!!" Even just THINKING it makes your horse think it too.

Horses are mind readers. When I start beginners they never believe me. So I will have them on the lunge line and they will not have their reins. I tell them to think the word halt. They think it, and horse stops. The reason this works is because your thought process controls your body language. When you think the word halt you automatically sit deeper and block the energy which results in them halting. When you think walk your body language opens up and gets a bit lighter which results in a walk.

So now you go into the show ring and go "oh god they are going to ask us to canter and he is going to run off" you automatically go into panic mode which makes you tense up and allows your horse to take off like hes in the kentucky derby and you have a hard time getting him to settle. Next time you go into the ring think "okay we are just going to have a nice lovely quiet canter like we are out on a sunday trail ride and there is no other horse in the ring with me la la la la" just pretend it is only you. Just think quiet relaxing thoughts, your body language will be nice and light and relaxed which means your horse will be nice and light and relaxed.

Saddlebag 11-21-2012 08:49 PM

howrsegirl. when all the horses canter your's thinks it must be a predator and there's no way he's going to get eaten.

NBEventer 11-21-2012 09:15 PM


Originally Posted by Saddlebag (Post 1767597)
howrsegirl. when all the horses canter your's thinks it must be a predator and there's no way he's going to get eaten.

If that was the case then he would be doing this at home, in the warm up ring, on trail rides etc...

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