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madisonfriday 09-07-2010 10:20 AM

My horse and I have steering issues at the canter lol!
I have a 14 year old ottb - we just moved to a barn where we can finally get some lessons in and they are helping us out a bunch! I got him about a year ago he was never retrainned from the track and sat for 7 years. I just fooled around on him till now. Our biggest issue is steering.
We are getting better at the trot - if I'm relax (I have a hard time relaxing my shoulders) he puts his head down and has a nice floating trot. BUt our canter is awful - I am sure its on me and my trainer is helping me relax and stop using so much rein action but I am trying up there on him!!
I'll try to explain what he does....
when we are going to the left he actually steers in along the outside nice but if i ask for a different turn for example a smaller circle at the one end of the ring he turns his head but not his body lol its hard to explain but my trainer says im using to much rein - so I try to explain to her i am pushing with all my outside leg he just doesnt listen to it....
what other aides can I use??
the reins isnt the problem cuz his head turns but not his body and normally he brings his head up...
I have been working with sitting back and deep trrying NOT to use so much rein and kick wiht my outside but then he just doesnt turn at all..ugh so frustrating! Maybe itll come in time??
He and I are still unbalanced..but he has come far.
MAybe I just need prac in the round pen..
OH here is a good photo if him doing what I am explaining lol

but u can see im using to much instead but believe me there is outside leg too - do I need to open my outside rein???

kevinshorses 09-07-2010 10:48 AM

You need to slow dawn and quit cantering until your horse will respond to your leg at a walk and trot. When we add speed the problems that were hard to see at slower gaits become glaringly obvious. You should also work on getting good control of the hind and front quarters. Many times I will start a horse and not canter him for the first month but when I do I am in perfect control. Wait until the HORSE is ready before you progress.

Scoutrider 09-07-2010 11:11 AM

Agreed with kevins. Little problems become big ones when speed is added. I would stick at the walk and trot until your mere thought of turning elicits the appropriate response. If you don't have a fluid, obedient turn at the trot, cantering isn't going to make it better.

Additionally, some of your problems turning in canter may be attributable to a lack of balance. Trotting work is the remedy here, as well.

Best of luck! :-)

madisonfriday 09-07-2010 11:43 AM

thanks guys! Our trainer does have us working out the straightness of my horse at the walk/trot and it is improving guess it need sto be perfect till we can perfect the canter

Silvera 09-08-2010 03:47 PM

How is he for leg yeilding, turn on the haunches, turn on the forehand, side passing, etc? You should really get his leg ques working really well to help him understand what you are asking him. Work a lot at the walk/trot like the others have said.

Work also at being aware of what your legs and body are doing. Also if you work on roll backs along the rail that will help with his turning and flexing.

Valentina 09-08-2010 03:55 PM

Yes - open outside rein and keep it low to prevent him from popping his shoulder. Make certain when you turn inside leg stays at the girth and doesn't slip back.

If he ignores outside then teach him to repond to it by teaching him leg yields. Start on the ground on his left side, bend his head slightly left (more nose) then "bump" him where your heel would go (on left just behind girth). If he moves his weight from LH to right Hind tell him good boy, better yet if he takes a step.

Work on his moving his hind legs AWAY from the bumping on both sides (of course bend of head/nose changes since he should be looking to the left and stepping right, then you switch standing on his right side, bend nose right and bump behind girth on right side). Horses arean't the brightest stars in the sky so you ALWAYS MUST do BOTH sides when you teach them something.

Once he takes steps on BOTH sides until you quit bending and bumping him work on the LY under saddle. Do it at walk until he "gets" it, then move onto trot then canter.

Once he know LY that means he understands to move AWAY from bumping leg - so THEN you can bump him with outside leg at canter to keep him from throwing haunches out or moving out.

That will also allow you to teach him the spiral out/in on a large circle exercise.

If you don't understand this get your trainer to help you.

lilruffian 09-08-2010 04:32 PM

You could always have someone work you on line just so that you can gain a better seat while, as others said, working him to circle at walk & trot. You may have to spend time even at a stand still getting him to yield his hindquarters away from pressure.
If you felt confident enough about your seat & skill (or knew someone who was) you could use spurs to help him yield at the walk/standstill until you felt better about it at trot & canter (this is just a suggestion though).
I know my new mare does the same thing at a lope/gallop. She's great at a walk/trot but when she doesnt want to run in a circle anymore/ slow down she refuses to turn. Very frustrating! I've had others suggest using a full-cheek snaffle and i've been thinking of giving it a try if by winter we still doesn't have the turns down consistently!

tealamutt 09-08-2010 08:27 PM

you need more outside rein. Don't think of turning with the inside rein, think of turning with your outside rein and leg.

Kayty 09-08-2010 10:30 PM

Just adding to what others have said, rather than thinking of turning with the outside rein (sometimes people start pulling back on the outside rein to do this) think instead of opening the inside of your body, and closing the outside. So if you're cantering to the left and want to turn left, open all of your inside aids, and close your outside aids.
Open inside aids: Open your inside hand out sideways away from your body (think of putting your hand over the place where you want the horse's inside fore leg to land) rather than the common mistake of pulling the rein back in towards your body.
Weight your inside seat bone/stirrup. open your inside knee point off the saddle. You should see the stirrup leather under your thigh! Turn your shoulders/upper body to the direction that you want to turn, and put your outside hip forward.

Closes outside aids: Outside rein needs to have a contact, but not pulling backwards. It is there to support the turn and prevent lateral over bending. However you DO need to give it enough to allow the horse to make the turn. It is all good and well to be told to steer entirely with your outside rein, but the turning is actually due to the closure of the outside aids and opening of the inside aids, which encourages the horse to move into the area of comfort, Ie towards the open aids.
The outside leg should be on the horse's side, slightly behind the girth but not kicking madly. Like the outside rein, the outside leg is there to support the bend and keep the hind quarters from swinging out.

Deerly 09-09-2010 01:21 AM

Wait until the trot is better before picking up the canter. I went something similar (steering issues, veering off the rail) with each of my horse's gaits and am currently in the middle of working on the canter too.

On top of the suggestions you've gotten from others it may also just take miles. Miles will help you relax with your horse and trust him and miles will help the horse find his balance and calm down at that gait and listen better and it will also help build your communication and understanding of what is expected. Good luck!

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