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tempest 06-07-2010 04:46 PM

Rough canter
My mare Razz has a really rough canter and it's near impossible to keep you butt in the saddle throughout the gait. My riding instructor has told me that I'm obviously sitting it as best as I can because when I have Razz canter my legs don't move and are steady. But I look like I'm not sitting her canter well because every time Razz brings her hind legs forward, I get launched off the saddle making it look like I can't sit it. I'm been told a number of times by various people, one being a judge, (and it's really kind of getting annoying) that I need to slow her down. Sadly though, I really have no idea how to do that, I mean there's the obvious way of using the bit to slow her down, which is only so effective in both slowing a horse down and smoothing out a canter.

Sorry for the novel, but I thought it was necessary for you all to know that I really need help with this. Does anyone have any suggestions for me on how to not only slow her down, but to smooth out her canter.

smrobs 06-07-2010 04:51 PM

Circles. Millions and millions of circles at a lope. Use one rein to control her speed, anytime she starts to speed up, make the circle smaller until she gets the correct speed then let her back out to the big circle. Keep her loping even after she is sweating like a pig and breathing hard and when your side is aching. It will take a long time but you will feel when she starts to really flatten out and she will also learn to kinda rate herself.

MyBoyPuck 06-07-2010 09:01 PM

Do you have access to an instructor who can teach you the half halt? If the horse's canter is very quick, it's most likely unbalanced. A good instructor will be able to show you how to use your seat to rebalance the horse via a half halt. Tugging on the reins doesn't do squat. If you don't have a trainer around, do some searches on balancing half halts. That will at least give you some insight into what will most likely help you. It's much easier to show a person that to write about them, which is why I suggest find an instructor. Until then, when you do canter, make sure you're sitting upright and square in the saddle. If you tilt your upper body forward, it closes your hip angle which will cause you to bounce and it will also throw your horse off balance. good luck.

SorrelHorse 06-08-2010 10:45 AM

My OTTB Mare Annie does this too. She canters smoothly, but she canters incredibly too fast because all she knows is RUN RUN RUN and don't stop.

What I did was I would let her lope a few strides then break to the trot, then ask for th elope for six strides, trot a circle. They anticipate breaking to the trot and begint to slow. Annie was loping slowly by the end of the session.

Heatherloveslottie 06-08-2010 11:15 AM

i agree, lots and lots of transitions to stop the horse getting downhill and to get the weight back on the hind legs, trot to canter, canter back to trot, even to walk. Also when you canter, don't break into it from a rushed trot, you need to make a half halt in the trot first to stop the canter becoming uncontrolled.

Lottie has a massive stride, for some reason she acts more like a hackney than a dutch warmblood, so i struggle with sitting it, the advice i was given is to lean back a bit in the canter, you absorb the movement easier and the leverage slows the horse down a bit.

Hope I helped!

Tina 06-08-2010 04:18 PM

Great advice all! I couldnt agree more. I like the idea of regaining speed control through your seat, and also through the half halt rather than pulling on her face. I luv reading all the replies! Amazing information out there!

Cougar 06-09-2010 12:48 AM

What is her trot quality like? Cougar is a demon to canter if you ask and you allow him to rush. You really need to set the horse up at the trot so they can make a smooth transition into an even paced canter.

MissasEquineDesign 06-09-2010 12:59 PM

Great advice from everyone! I agree, half halts to balance, as well as many transitions and circles. Some work over ground poles might also help to slow the canter, as she'll have to think about what she's doing with her feet to navigate the poles. Just look up info on cavaletti for some exercises and ideas, and good luck!

Valentina 06-09-2010 02:01 PM


Originally Posted by tempest (Post 654212)
My mare Razz has a really rough canter and it's near impossible to keep you butt in the saddle throughout the gait. ...that I need to slow her down. Sadly though, I really have no idea how to do that....

So to both smooth the canter and slow it down you need to use some basic dressage principals. First you need to get her hind end underneath herself so that she is carrying her weight on her butt. That will smooth the canter. Then when you start to collect that will slow without nagging her with the bit.

Suggest you look in the dresage forum to learn abouty collection (slowing walk/trot and canter) and half halts (they get her butt underneath herself).

I've posted about both on this forum, COTH (Chronicle of the horse in the dressage forum) and Ultimate Dressage. Learning dressage (which can be applied to ANY discipline) will make your horse listen better, you ride better and the horse become more athletic.

DressageIsToDance 06-10-2010 03:29 AM

I firstly suggest working on collection. Half-halting, just a gentle squeeze to remind her to slow will help. Your body should slow it's motion as well.

It could be possible she feels unbalanced. Many horses will feel "rough" and rushy if they are, and if that is the case, try lunging her just a few minutes in each direction. This will help her practice her balance without the weight of a rider and in turn will make it easier with a rider.

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