Slowing down his canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-22-2013, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 22
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Slowing down his canter

Hi guys. I'm in need of some help.

When I first got my horse way back when, he was strictly western and had the most perfect trot and lope. However, for the past six years, I've used him only english as a hunter. Now that he's getting older, I am retiring him from jumping and am starting to transition back to western.

The issue with that is, my horse now has embedded in his head, "Oh, forward canter - I'm still a cute hunter!" His sitting trot is still fine, but how do I work on regaining his lope?
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-21-2014, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Just like you did to get his cute peppy canter, use for a lope. Practice! Maybe try some circles and some extending and collecting of all his gaits. Slow down his canter until a lope and just teach him to keep steady and rhythmic. Just try out little things and keep asking for a slow, easy pace.
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-26-2014, 11:42 AM
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Wisconsin
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What I suggest for slowing the lope is first starting with you. Start with the walk- make sure that it is your body that is telling the horse how fast it is able to move meaning squeeze your thighs together and get all your weight on your butt. Only let your horse move as fast as you are moving. It is a lot of work but it is the best way to manage speed as it will eventually allow you to ride with no contact with your reins. Once you have mastered the walk move to the trot and again only allow your horse to move as fast as you are. For the first bit you may have to use some minor hand aids. Once you do that and you can control the speed of the walk and trot with only your legs, hips, and butt you can move on to the canter and eventually slow it to a lope.

Some fabulous exercises for getting weight off of the forehand don't involve much loping at all for instance,
-lope off on the right lead and go a few yards then stop. Pivot or turn to the left as fast as you can and lope off right away, after going another few yards stop turn to the right and pick up the right lead. Constant stopping and doing 180 degree roll backs make the horse keep all of its weight on its back end essentially lightening its front. These wont be pretty at first but they will do wonders.
-Counter Cantering
Make sure that you start on the correct lead and start doing serpentines and figure eights staying on the same lead. This makes the horse balance and work against itself. Lots of counter cantering makes back and rump muscles stronger, and they realize that it is way harder to counter canter on a heavy front end
After working on controlling the speed with your legs, doing lots of roll backs, and counter cantering just ask for the lope and get her where you want to speed wise and stop right away. The longer they lope the greater the chance there is for increased speed so as soon as they lope as you want them to stop. They will realize that their reward for going slow is to stop doing what they were doing.
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-26-2014, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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I like to do turn backs. Work about 6' off the rail and as he picks up speed turn him tight toward the fence to turn back. He'll likely stop the first time and that's ok, just get him back up to the lope. Continue in the opposite direction. As you work the rail he'll begin to slow down which is when you allow him to move straight until he speeds up again. Be sure to reward him by putting him away if he manages to maintain a slower speed once around the arena. He needs to build muscle to maintain the slow lope so be happy for now if it's not as fast.
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