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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I am riding my horse, she will go up to a trot and I have to nudge her a couple times. She will go to a trot and nothing more. She is extremely responsive to turning, but not running cues. I wanted to know how I can get her to go to trot, canter, then gallop in just a couple nudges. Thanks :)!
 

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Hi,

First & foremost, horses frequently have physical &/or saddle problems that mean anything above a trot is difficult, so rule out/treat that first. For eg. tests have shown that cantering under saddle, if not a perfect fit, increases pressure on different areas at least 3 times as much as at walk or trot.

More info regarding training? Are you new to horses/her? Is she mature/educated or young & green? Will/has she cantered much for others under saddle? I like to start green horses cantering under saddle in a way they're most likely to do it of their own accord, such as running with another horse up a hill. Add the cue to the behaviour.

On the other hand, if you know she's well trained/does it for others, then it sounds like she has your number & you're not being effective. If so, I'd be getting 'stronger' with your cues, & perservere until you get the behaviour, to tell her you mean business & ignoring you won't work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I think it's the saddle. She had been using another horses saddle when I rode her, a Thoroughbred's. She doesn't have her own saddle since I am still raising some money for hers. This was the first time she was ridden in a while, because I just moved and just started going to the rescue to ride. I have known her for about 1/12-2 months, so I am still new to her. The first time she had been ridden for a solid hour or two was last Saturday. I don't know how she reacts to others, because nobody has ridden her in a while. She is mature and I assume educated, but the rescue/boardinghouse she is kept at doesn't know much about her background. Now that you mentioned that an ill fitting saddle can be and issue to speed, I think it could be that. Thanks for your help :)!
 

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I would also ask about your experience. Just the fact that you call it "running" as opposed to a gait name would suggest to me that you are a newbie. Rule out pain, and perhaps get a trainer to help you before you end up with a horse who is numb to the aids.
 

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I would also ask about your experience. Just the fact that you call it "running" as opposed to a gait name would suggest to me that you are a newbie. Rule out pain, and perhaps get a trainer to help you before you end up with a horse who is numb to the aids.
That's what I was thinking.

Some horses that don't feel like their rider is balanced or stable enough to allow them to transition without them losing their own balance will just refuse the transition. It's basic self preservation.

What is your riding skill level, and amount of formal training?
 

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If the saddle don't fit, don't wear it.

Often times it is easier for a horse to canter when they have been lunged at a canter. I NEVER lunged my gelding at a canter and could only get a few strides out of him on the ground and in the saddle. When I started building up his canter, he got better, and now he'll canter laps around the arena.

I would work with a trainer to get this horse cantering well and make sure there are no other problems. I, myself, have some balance issues cantering and if my gelding feels me 'falling apart' he won't canter any more. If you crash up and down, it will hurt their back, and they can have a bad experience from that, too. I rarely rode the canter, and I worked on cantering on different horses to get used to it. Some horses have a really nice canter, others... not so much. Riding a nice canter will help you learn how to move with the horse.
 

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What discipline are you riding?

How are you asking her to canter? If you're just kicking her, or "nudging" her she may not have a clue what you want. My horse certainly wouldn't, nor would many others.
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With my horse, he has literally 18 or 20 speeds of trot. he does every single one if he doesn't want to lope or above - and on his fastest one you can't even stay IN the saddle and you have no choice but to slow down and stop to regain your balance.
Keep asking your horse forward and forward until he gets a little faster. Also try leaning forward and standing in your seat - if you are an english rider then ride at two-point - so your weight is more forward so he knows for sure you want him to go forward. If you just ask him to go faster, but your body is sitting deep and back into the saddle then you are asking your horse forward but to slow down. Your cues ask him forward, your body asks him to slow.

If you ride western I would consider trying a romel.
Romels work very nicely one your horse knows it means.
First, you give him warnings, each warning gets closer to his body - which lets him know that he has so many chances left to get faster before the romel reaches his withers. This training tool can go along with - ask, tell, and demand.

this is how a romel is used:

The first warning, or to ask the horse faster
take the end of the romel and tap it one both of your shoulders once.

If he doesn't go, tell him to go.
Now tap your thighs or your lower back.

If he still doesn't go, demand him to go forward.
Now you tap his withers. He may not go the first time you tap them, so what you do is you keep tapping his withers harder, but keeping the same speed until he goes forward.
You might also want to ask with clucking or kissing sounds and/or the light tap of your foot, which if you want then your foot pressure can also get harder but keep the same speed.

This technique works very good on my horse and when he hears the sound of the romel tapping my shoulders he knows I mean it for him to go forward and all of a sudden he is alert and walking forward with joy - because he hear my first warning and didn't want to be touched with the romel, so he listens at the first sound and walks on.

Good Luck!!
 
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I've ridden horses that you can ask, tell, and demand a gait on but they will NOT pick it up if their rider isn't capable of riding it without them potentially getting themselves (the horse) hurt.

Again, self preservation. If the rider is wildly out of control on their back (bouncing everywhere, hardly any seat, yanking on their mouth, completely unbalanced) a lot of horses won't pickup a canter since they could end up tripping and going down.

The other likely situation with a with an inadequately skilled rider is giving conflicting commands - asking for go, but subconsciously (or unknowingly) giving conflicting commands for whoa - many horses will opt for the whoa option if they're confused. Since the OP mentions that this horse is new to her it's entirely possible it's combination of many things causing this issue - the horse may have been trained for cues she's not using, she may be unbalanced, the horse may have medical or pain reasons for not wanting to transition, etc etc.
 

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I don't know how much experience you have but sometimes when a horse has had a long time off its a good idea to go right back to basics and re-teach them verbal cues on the lunge that you can then use from the saddle along with your leg cues
If you don't know how to lunge correctly you should find a good trainer to help you get started
 

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Keep asking your horse forward and forward until he gets a little faster. Also try leaning forward and standing in your seat - if you are an english rider then ride at two-point - so your weight is more forward so he knows for sure you want him to go forward.
I don't agree with this. I you try to get the horse up into canter by just asking him to pick up the speed of his trot then the horse is going to run into canter and be completely off balance. Great way to get a horse to fall.

I do however agree with a few other posters- this sounds like an issue of the horse not feeling confident enough in the riders balance to move up to canter. I think people forget how much hard work it is for a horse to do- and if the horse is unbalanced at the canter just from lack of training, add in a wobbly rider and you have a fall waiting to happen.

OP have you had your instructor try to ride your horse? If so, what was the outcome?
 
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Agree - and its also not easy to push a horse forwards with your legs when you're in 2 point.
As above also - have you seen someone else ride the horse in canter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would also ask about your experience. Just the fact that you call it "running" as opposed to a gait name would suggest to me that you are a newbie. Rule out pain, and perhaps get a trainer to help you before you end up with a horse who is numb to the aids.
I called it "running" to categorize canter and gallop together. Yes, I am still a newbie, but I am learning from the people at the rescue I ride at currently. Thank you for the suggestions.
 

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The best investment you could make for both you and your horse at this point would be formal lessons at a good reputable lesson facility. A good coach will be able to tell you if your horse is suitable for you to be learning on or if you should be considering some lessons on a schoolie before you transition back to your own horse.

You want to start off on the right foot. Depending on who is working with you at the rescue you could be receiving good advice, or bad advice. You want to avoid the latter or your experience moving forward will not be positive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's what I was thinking.

Some horses that don't feel like their rider is balanced or stable enough to allow them to transition without them losing their own balance will just refuse the transition. It's basic self preservation.

What is your riding skill level, and amount of formal training?
I am still new to riding, I have been doing it regularly for about 2-2 1/2 months now but just started riding Cinder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What discipline are you riding?

How are you asking her to canter? If you're just kicking her, or "nudging" her she may not have a clue what you want. My horse certainly wouldn't, nor would many others.
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I ride Western.
 

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That isn't a very long time to be riding and trying to retrain a horse with probably no known history of previous ability as well
I would suggest you have some lessons on a horse that's easy to get into canter first so you can get a feel for it
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Agree - and its also not easy to push a horse forwards with your legs when you're in 2 point.
As above also - have you seen someone else ride the horse in canter?
No, she does only a trot with everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That isn't a very long time to be riding and trying to retrain a horse with probably no known history of previous ability as well
I would suggest you have some lessons on a horse that's easy to get into canter first so you can get a feel for it
I had been riding a Quarter before I rode Cinder. She would go from walk, to trot, to jog, to canter, and I had been riding her for about a month and a half.
 

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Is she a rescue? If so, they often have all kinds of underlying issues that may have been the reason for someone to "throw her away". Until all of her possible lameness issues (however subtle) and the tack fit issues are resolved, you may not have a horse who wants to canter/gallop out of simple pain. It is not often for a rescue horse to be completely without physical or behavioral issues, IME.
 
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