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Kkmitch 12-30-2013 10:01 PM

Cruising exercise help!
Training is going really well w/ my four year old horse. He recently did a big city Thanksgiving parade like an old pro and is stellar on the trail but we're still working out some kinks in the arena. I thought a good place to start working those out would be to do the riding exercises from Clinton Anderson's book (can't afford DVD's yet) one-by-one. So, we've made it to cruising except at the canter, he hurtles us towards the fencing, repeatedly. Fortunately, I've switch from my English saddle to my husband's western, which is helping me stay on but how can I correct this behavior? I've started picking up on one rein to turn him at the last minute but that defeats the purpose of the exercise. If I don't, he will literally crash into the fence or do a wicked 180 at the last possible second. Any ideas or experience would be appreciated!

gssw5 12-30-2013 10:28 PM

I have been following the Method for three years now and have done the cruising exercise with several different horses. Actually the cruising exercise is one of most favorite exercises in the fundamentals. They all seem to start out cantering into the fence, making quick direction changes, getting stuck in corners, next to gates. It is like they don't know what to do with all the freedom the only thing they have to do is keep the gait you set them on and it confuses some of them. The best advice I can give you is make sure your centered, balanced and ready for whatever he does. The 180 is normal, crashing into the fence happens. Once he has crashed into the fence (committed to the mistake) I have found that if you keep the pressure on as you approach the fence, squeeze, cluck, spank, no steering, they tend to keep moving and stop crashing or getting stuck in the corners. If you think he is thinking about crashing increase the pressure, and release it as soon as he moves on. Make him uncomfortable for even thinking about it. Remember they learn from the release of pressure so when he does the right thing give him relief, when he does the wrong thing make him uncomfortable. Some of the stuff they do while cruising at the canter will take your breath away, and it is scary at times but stick with it and it gets better. Eventually he will pick a path and keep going around and around on the same path. Make sure your saddle is tight, grab the horn, relax your hips, breath and don't tense up and remember your there for the ride, ride like your drunk as CA says. If your really having trouble go back to cruising at the trot until he is more relaxed. I have found that doing the cruising at the canter after lots of trotting when they are a bit relaxed and thinking helps. Good luck to you.

KigerQueen 12-31-2013 01:47 AM

My issue with cursing is my mare starting making smaller and smaller circles -_-'. that and she ether brakes into a gallop or trots, my lil mare is a pain lol.

Kkmitch 12-31-2013 08:31 AM

GSSW5 _ thank you! I needed the advice of someone who had done it several times. We've only done the exercise once, last week, so I just need to keep with it. I really like the exercise too - I can tell already it will improve my riding as well as his training. He does great at the trot (but breaking gait really hasn't been an issue) but just really hasn't cantered for more than about 10 or 20 strides in the arena all that much yet so lot's of learning. Thanks again! We'll keep at it!

2BigReds 12-31-2013 11:53 AM

KigerQueen, that's exactly what my horse will do with circling if I don't consciously keep him on the edge of the arena. I guess after awhile they will probably decide that it's too much work to keep going in circles that small if they have to keep up the pace? I've been wanting to try it but fear losing a leg or something lol.

gssw5 12-31-2013 04:05 PM

The goal of the exercise is teach the horse to be responsible for his own feet at the gait you tell them to go. If your horse canters in circles as long as they don't break gait then let them eventually they will come out of the circle because they will get tired. When they break gait squeeze, cluck, spank and get the gait back. If they go to fast for your comfort then you can shut them down with a ORS then ask for the gait again, they will figure out that every time they speed up they get shut down and will learn to slow themselves. But the easier thing to do as long as your comfortable and feel safe is let them go at the speed they pick, eventually they slow down out of getting tired. If they get you to close to the fence pick up your outside rein and turn them into the fence so they bop their nose after a few times of getting bopped they usually stop getting to close to the fence. I always set the timer for 5 minutes minimum for cruising at the canter, sometimes it feels like an eternity, but you have to commit to the exercise and it helps me to have a set amount of time to go for then reevaluate. Then set the clock for another 5 minutes and usually by then they are getting it. Just make sure to quit the horse before they quit you. If they are not in shape then look to canter for only 5 minutes finish on a good stride and go back to it the next day. The cruising exercise really is a great exercise, when you finish up with all the fundamentals and move into intermediate you really gain an appreciation for your horse being responsible for their own feet, and once the horse gets it it is fun to do.

Saddlebag 12-31-2013 05:36 PM

Has anyone watch CA with Tricky Warrior. He's doing arena work something along this line altho I didn't hear the term cruising. It's on RFD TV.

Kkmitch 01-01-2014 07:05 PM

I have all the OTTB episodes recorded but am trying to make sure I'm doing each exercises correctly myself before moving on to the next episode, so I'm still on ground work but am loving the series. My horse is a draft cross so he's not as hot but I'm still getting lots out of it.

Kkmitch 01-01-2014 07:06 PM

I may need to skip ahead and see if they specifically do the cruising exercise though.. good idea Saddlebag!

Kkmitch 03-05-2014 08:35 PM

GSSW5 - Glad to report had a great cruising day today. Pushing/pressure did just the trick... Didn't crash once. Once he figured out I was going to keep on pressuring him, he actually started making much less dramatic turns. Thanks! K

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