I have a 3yr old rescue gelding whom i have been ridding for the last 8 weeks or so on a regular basis... I asked him today for the canter for the frist time. I have cantered him on the lounge line before. We are finding out we think he has some reining training. He walks, trots, whoas, neck reins, backs, side passes, spins, ect all on a loose rein. When I asked for the canter he got nervous put his head up and just almost exploded. I got him to whoa (about a 1/3 way around the ring), and didnt ask again. Any tips or ideas? I have no idea of his past training at all. Should have I tried to ride it out and let him settle? I tried to make sure i didnt bump his mouth when he took off into the canter. I am ridding him in a kimberwick broken mouth peice because i want a short shanked curb bit....
Me personally, I would put him back into a snaffle until you figure out exactly what he is going to do at the canter. At least that way, if he decides to blow up, you can get his head around to the side without hurting him. What I do with a young horse the first time cantering is I will keep them in a long trot for quite some time so that they are tired and lacking a bit of air (makes them less willing to act silly). Then I will just start urging them to go a bit faster and faster. Don't try to force the canter, just encourage and encourage until they pick it up on their own. They all will, sometimes it just takes longer than others. Once you get him cantering, I would just let him canter in large circles until he relaxes. It may take quite a while and it might happen quickly, it all depends on him. You should be able to feel it when he flattens out and relaxes. For the first canter, I will push them to keep going until I feel that and then I will cool them out and quit for the day.
One other thing, since you don't really know how he will react, I really suggest that you keep the inside rein significantly shorter than the outside rein so that you don't have to re-adjust before getting control of his head if he acts silly. Also, make sure you have a good hold on something so that he won't be able to buck you off easy. That is, of course, if he does decide to buck and not just kinda act squirrelly for a minute.
Thanks for the advice! I have an o ring snaffle I will use that. He doesnt like it as well as the current bit because its a little heavier, but he will be fine. It seems as if I need to do the same thing with the canter as I did with his trot. When i first asked him to trot it was fast, bumpy, and not a steady speed... We just kept trotting every day and working on getting him to collect and slow down. I would reward him by letting him walk when he joged nicely. Now he has a great little western jog!
Yep, sounds like you are on the right path. :D
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