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SidMit 08-26-2010 10:32 PM

Will. Not. Canter!! Arg!!
My horse will not canter. I mean she will not. I can get her to go a couple of strides, then she drops back down to a trot. It is the same under saddle and on the lunge line. I do not have a round pen. I had her checked and she is not lame. No reason to not canter. I have never owned a horse like this, most of them respond to the lunge wip. She could really give a hoot about the wip. She does not care about a lot actually. This is proving to be both a blessing and a curse. She will trot super fast before she ever canters. I have gotten her to canter a few times under saddle, but sometimes she appears like she may buck me off. She is a Perch/Qtr. cross and is extremely laid back and agreeable. Maybe too laid back? We mostly trail ride, but I moved her to a boarding stable for the Winter so we could work on all the basics again. I have only owned her since May. I feel like I do most of the workout just getting her to go! I am so frustrated. I really hope you can give me some advice. She is not my first horse, but all my others were hot blooded TB's or Tenn. Walkers...She is 8 and was started when she was 6.

corinowalk 08-26-2010 10:50 PM

Either give her a long stretch and really push her...when she does break into a canter praise her *during* the canter.
Race. Horses in general love a good chase. Get a friend to canter in front of you and ask her to follow. We always had to teach ponies how to canter this way as they can do that jack-hammer pony trot faster than most horses can canter! LOL

She probably just needs the proper muscles to actually pull off a canter. This way, she can get into it...get the muscles and the praise.

Good luck!

smrobs 08-26-2010 11:01 PM

^^That's a good way to do it at first Cori. Sometimes, if I am having trouble with a greenie, I will take them out on the trail behind my Dad on his horse. He will kick it up into a lope and my horse naturally wants to follow. After they are going pretty decent, I will urge them up beside Dad and keep going. Many horses, especially the bigger ones, have trouble finding their balance at the lope, especially with a rider. If you can get 4 strides out of her now, then ask for that and praise her while she canters and take off all pressure for forward. Next ride, see if you can get 6 strides with just a bit of encouragement, then go for 10, then 15. That will help her to get her balance right and build up muscle and endurance enough to be comfortable at the lope.

And as always, escalate your aids. If she doesn't respond to a bit of leg, squeeze a bit more, if she still doesn't respond, then give a little bump, then a harder bump, then flick her with the whip, then give her a good whop with the whip. Anything to get her going. If you feel she might try to throw a buck in there, ride with the inside rein short and the other long so that you can immediately get her head with no adjusting if she decides to be a twit.

MyBoyPuck 08-26-2010 11:12 PM

She might just be looking for a change in scenery. Find a big field or nice stretch in the woods and hit the go button. If it's not pain related, she'll let you know quickly. If she's still resistant, she's most likely politely trying to tell you she's hurting somewhere. My horse sometimes acts like I'm trying to kill him by asking him to canter in the confines of an arena. In a field, waaay different story.

riccil0ve 08-26-2010 11:33 PM

Did the vet just do a lameness test? I would also make sure to look into her saddle fit and chiro to see if her back hurts. The vet may have just been looking for lameness in the legs/gait but back pain doesn't always show up in the gait.

Once the pain is completly ruled out, I really like Cori's suggestion; race. Brilliant. I never would have thought of that, haha. Just to add to the advice of everyone else, make sure to ask her to trot before she breaks into it. Beat her to the punch line. Good luck! =]

PintoTess 08-27-2010 12:17 AM

just keep pushing her...then as soon as she canters give her a rest to tell her she did somthing good :) you could wear spurs......not to kick her but just to show her you MEAN for her to canter..


mom2pride 08-27-2010 12:18 AM


Originally Posted by corinowalk (Post 731467)
She probably just needs the proper muscles to actually pull off a canter. This way, she can get into it...get the muscles and the praise.

Good luck!

I totally agree with this!!! My mare wouldn't canter willingly on the lungeline OR during round pen work. However, up till I got her last year she hadn't been worked, as she had developed some behavioral issues that were way beyond the owners she had at that time. She wasn't sore, so I figured I would just work on solidifying walk, trot, stop, etc on the lunge and round pen. She then had nearly 5 months off (due to my own health problems), so has "just" gotten back into work about 7 weeks ago. Well guess what? She canters on lunge, in round pen, and under saddle quite willingly now-she did before, but not 'comfortably'. She is also in superb condition, compared to what she was when we started out, hahahaha! I can also do smaller circles in trot and canter, than before, as well, and I really believe that's due to me taking the time to build her body condition back up again, and giving her muscles a chance to get strong, helping her balance better.

NOW, that said...I'm not sure how you are cueing for your canter, but be consistent, and always start out 'soft', something like a "kiss" or smoochy noise, if there is no response, use your legs, and if that don't work, use a crop. Don't immediately start kicking and cropping, because that's why horses become "dull" to our aids...when we do it, but have no 'meaning behind it'... I would also start getting her more responsive on the ground in the canter before you attempt undersaddle; if you keep getting on, and consistantly NOT getting the response you are wanting, that is only going to keep the behavior going. Teach her to respond to a 'vocal cue' from the ground, and then use it from the saddle as well. it's easier 'shown than explained'...hahahaha.

kitten_Val 08-27-2010 07:27 AM


Originally Posted by corinowalk (Post 731467)
She probably just needs the proper muscles to actually pull off a canter.

That was my thought too. I had problems cantering my youngsters too for while till they develop the muscles and learn the cues. Cantering (especially with extra 150 +/- lbs on back) is not all that easy for the horse. :wink: Just take is slow. Even 2-3 strides of canter is great, let it rest and praise. Then just try again. Then you'll go with 4-5 strides, half-loop, loop, 2 loops.... :-)

SidMit 08-27-2010 09:29 AM

Thanks everyone! I will try some of those tips. After reading I do think it is a muscle, or I guess lack there of, issue. Again, thank you for all the tips!

Cobalt 08-27-2010 09:29 AM

Does she ever canter in turn out?

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