Counter canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-19-2012, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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Counter canter

My gelding has a counter canter problem. When lunging. He is on the correct lead to the right. But when he goes to the left he counter canters. His front lead is correct but his back lead is not right. I do not notice him counter cantering under saddle. Just when lunging. Why is he doing this? He doesn't act up or avoid cantering. So I don't think it is pain. What else could it be?
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-19-2012, 03:14 AM
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He is disuniting, not counter cantering. Counter canter has the horse on the same lead with both front and hind legs, but it is bent in the direction of travel. It's actually quite a difficult movement and most dressage horses aren't introduced to it until they are at a very solid level of education.

I would say your horse is either lacking balance on the lunge circle, or has a pain/discomfort issue. Cantering disunited is not something you want to encourage.

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post #3 of 18 Old 03-19-2012, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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Oh okay I was told counter canter is when the leads of the front and back legs are different. He doesn't avoid cantering. He canters willingly on lunge and under saddle with no problems. He shows no signs of pain. He really seems to enjoy being ridden. He doesn't disunite under saddle. I don't know how to discourage it. How do I get him balanced?
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-19-2012, 05:18 AM
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Just as an aside, the other term is "cross cantering".

Some horses will cross canter on the lunge but I have found, at least in my experience, that it doesn't necessarily casue an issue under saddle. As Kayty indicated, a horse that cross canters on the lunge is probably simply unbalanced but you need to rule out discomfort as well. Cross cantering can result from lack of muscle, lack of coordination, being lazy and not bending/using themselves properly.....I also find that horses will correct the cross canter themselves (if it is not discomfort related), either coming down to the trot on their own and recantering or doing a lead swap to get to a true canter even if on the incorrect lead. Obviously you want to correct the lead so it is the proper one for the direction you are lunging since allowing the wrong lead on the lunge just encourages more imbalance.

In my horse's case, he will do a swap in front and then yank away going sideways if he gets a wild moment on the lunge. He also has to be perfectly balanced to maintain his proper canter on the lunge; he tends to swap behind as soon as he loses even the slightest bend to the inside and this also occurs under saddle..we are working on it :)
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-19-2012, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Oh okay. I understand. Yeah it could be lack of muscle. I haven't been working him as much as I should. When he does it I'll either turn him the other direction or cluck him to go faster. It seems to work but he still starts out cross cantering to the left. What would be making him unbalanced/uncoordinated? He's 15 so he's not inexperienced. Haha.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-19-2012, 03:41 PM
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Counter canter is different from cross cantering.

In counter canter horse is traveling to right but on left lead (or vice versa). In cross cantering horse is on one lead with front legs and opposite lead with back legs.

Since horse is OK when ridden then you'll have to be careful when to make/keep horse correct when lunging. Make certain you use lunge line to get head/nose pointed "inward" (bending towards lunger) and use whip where riders legs would go at girth to keep horse on perimeter of circle.

How do you attach the lunge line to the bridle? Do you attach on outside bit ring, thread over poll and down to bit, then go thru bit (ring) to lungers hands?

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post #7 of 18 Old 03-19-2012, 03:49 PM
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Try asking him for a little more speed. He may find your lunge line too short and sometimes by letting him go out farther the problem is corrected.

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post #8 of 18 Old 03-19-2012, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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I actually free lunge him in the round pen. Join up. When I do lunge him on a line, it's a 20 ft lunge line and I attach it to the ring under the halter.
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-20-2012, 10:04 AM
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Is it that huge of an issue? Most of the horses I've lunged/seen lunged do that.
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post #10 of 18 Old 03-20-2012, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know. I just want to know if it needs to be fixed and how to fix it.
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