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So, I've had my Standie for almost 3 years now and I have NEVER been able to stifle a canter or a gallop out of him at all, until Saturday. He doesn't pace anymore, but he sure can trot fast! Like, super fast.. He'll only gallop once he reaches the speed where he physically can't trot anymore, and that limit is the speed they use when racing.

On Saturday, me and two other friends went on this 5 hour ride up the road and decided to go into a trail. It was just a big loop around trail that was probably 2 meters wide and it was all gravel (good footing for horses), and I started trotting. He heard the other horses coming up behind him and broke out into a full-blown gallop and it was actually enjoyable!

I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to engage my horse's canter or gallop without having to speed trot first?

Thanks!
 

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I was working with a young Standardbred I had (not saddle broken yet though) and he would stick to the trot a lot. I got him cantering to voice command in the round yard, its not being ridden but it sure would be a huge step there.

I think part of the problem is people ask Standardbreds to canter and they trot faster and faster, and then they eventually stop asking, release the pressure and pull them up. In a way that is teaching the Standardbred that your canter aid actually means trot really fast. He doesn't really understand he is meant to canter, he now probably thinks your aid means trot.

With my Standardbred I did round yard work with running reins, which taught him more of a long and low frame, and encouraged him to get a slight bend around the round yard. I did lots of little circles on ropes and got him really voice trained to walk, trot and halt. I then started pushing him in the round yard saying "canter" etc and eventually he gave half a stride of canter I completely stopped, completely backed off, stopped driving him and let him be. Then later I tried it again, and when I got the smallest bit of canter, I backed completely off. He eventually learned that canter was good.

I've heard of people using trot poles as well, or even small jumps can encourage a horse to canter.
 
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