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Different ways to ask for a canter

This is a discussion on Different ways to ask for a canter within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Western riding asking for the lope
  • Do you smooch for a trot or kiss to make a horse go

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    12-03-2011, 08:40 PM
Guys, canter cues are virtually one and only the same. Sit up, your ears, elbows, knees, heels in line. Exaggerate your cues a little bit. Ask him up a bit to bring him up underneath you, like kind of squeeze your hips together and up. At the same time, bring your inside hand slightly up, inside leg at the girth and outside leg behind. Kiss to get the canter. In all honesty.. I think you need an instructor :/
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    12-05-2011, 07:58 PM
If you're simply asking what we do to cue our horses to lope/canter, I just making a kissing noise, if my horse doesn't go from that I tap with the outside leg.

I have a horse right now that on the lunge line he won't lope unless I kiss like 20 times haha, you might just need a persistant way of going at it.

If you are asking him to lope, at a trot, and to make this story easy lets just say you were kissing. So, your horse is trotting nicely, you kiss and he only goes up to a fast trot, so you said before you bring him back down and then do it again. If I was the horse I would think your kissing for no reason because I react to it and then you bring me back to what I was doing before. In this case I would just keep doing whatever I was doing to get to the faster trot, just keep "pushing" the horse forward. If the kissing noise doesn't help tap him on the outside foot.

One person I knew tapped with the INSIDE foot, this was backwards to me but I guess you could try it. Might as well try everthing right? I use different cues, clicking for trotting, kissing for loping.
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    12-05-2011, 09:45 PM
Green Broke
I just went to a ASHA clinic and one of the things they were teaching was smooth transitions.
The ideal is to get the horse to canter with the kiss (I call it a clucking noise).
Kiss 1st then squeeze. If the horse doesn't respond then stop him and back him up several paces quickly so he gets the idea he did something wrong.
Then go forward and ask him again.
    12-06-2011, 01:09 AM
I don't like using verbal cues for anything because you can never be sure that you're horse will be listening to you and not someone else. If you always ride by yourself, it's not that big of a deal, but if you ride with other people, they may smooch to get their horse to walk. If you're horse takes that as a cue to lope off, then that could cause a ton of problems and even be dangerous. Same thing with teaching a stop at the word "whoa". The horse can't pick out context and if you say something that even sounds like "whoa" then you may end up eating dirt if you aren't prepared for a stop.

That's why I work to get my horses responsive off leg/seat/rein cues only. Horse can't get those confused with the cues another rider is giving their horse.
    12-06-2011, 01:28 AM
Super Moderator
I agre with smrobs. Verbal cues should only ever be used as a backup to the cues of seat and leg. Certainly in dressage you cannot make any noises at all to your horse during a competition.
    12-06-2011, 05:43 AM
Green Broke
Correct me if I'm wrong. When you tip the horses nose to the outside and use the outside leg to cue, you are trying to get a left lead at the lope/canter? If that's the case, don't worry about the correct lead until you get him to go into the canter easily. Then you can fine tune him.

I don't ride English or ride in an arena. We just trail ride so having the horse in the correct lead isn't so important to me. What I do to ask for a lope is squeeze both legs, cluck/kiss, then spank. That's from a trot. I usually never go from a stand still or a walk to a lope.

A friend of ours that we got a horse from trains his horses that one squeeze it to walk, two is to trot and three is to lope. I can see that working from a stand still but if the horse is already moving, I feel when you squeeze, the horse should speed up to the next gait.

I also disagree with using verbal cues first off. I've had to experiences that proved to me it's wrong. When we got our first horse, I was working him in a round pen. I was trying to get him to lope. At the same time, another person was riding their horse by the pen. I yelled "Yah" at our horse and the horse in the outside took off. The second time was when we were out riding and I was on Ghost which I was breaking. I wanted to have a cigarette so I had him stop. There was a breeze that day so lighting it wasn't easy. Each time I tried to light the cigarette, he tried to walk off. I couldn't figure out why he was doing that because the other horses were standing there too. He wasn't one to go first. Then I realized that the sound of the lighter was close to the sound I had trained him to walk with.
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    12-06-2011, 07:47 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by usandpets    
Correct me if I'm wrong. When you tip the horses nose to the outside and use the outside leg to cue, you are trying to get a left lead at the lope/canter?...
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What I meant was an inside lead. Not specifically a left lead. In my mind I was picturing the wall on the right side.

Also, if you tip their nose to the wall, aren't you kind of blocking their forward motion?
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    12-07-2011, 03:31 PM
Yes, I am sure that the saddle is not quite fitting right - that is why he does not like it. A saddle is a saddle to a horse. Make sure everything is comfortable for him and maybe his mood will change.
As far as cue-ing him into a canter, try using cues that he might already know instead of new ones that he might not. Ie: You said he was a western horse, try western cues. Squeeze your calves from the trot and see if he'll go. Make sure you have slack in the reins and you're in an area that is comfortable for him. Remember that it is never him that is messing up, it's us making it confusing.
    12-07-2011, 10:13 PM
I was always taught you use the outside leg (towards the rail) behind the girth to push his hip into the center (just a little bit!), and aid the horse in picking up the correct lead, so if you wanted to counter canter you would do the opposite. And it will help with lead changes, in the long run. I ride western so I do give a little kiss, along with the leg squeeze.
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