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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently rescued a 4 year old and now that her health and weight are stable I am in the process of training and breaking her . First thing I did was bring her in the round pen to see how she moved and get a feel for her personally . She's very light on her feet but has a lot of attitude . She walks when I click forward and trots when I say trot , but she WONT canter . I've honestly tried everything . Even had the vet and a chiropractor out to look at her . I've tried the "throwing your energy at them" and she will canter for about half a stride then stop . I make sure to release all pressure when she does pick it up but she just stop right away and goes into a power trot . I was also told to USE a lunge whip . So I did . I hit it on the ground about 4-5 feet behind her and kissed , asking for the canter . When she didn't pick it up I hit it closer to her , and so on until I had to tap her right on the top of the butt with it ! She cantered about 2 strides and went back to trot . Under saddle is a LITTLE bit different . She has cantered a whole good two circles under canter after going over 3 trot poles that were set up . Only problem is I didn't ask for it so I had to slow her down . The next time however , after the poles (once we had come all the way off and she continued trotting) I say deep and asked for her to canter , she just bucked so I MADE her go forward , and she just did a very fast power trot which I don't want her doing . I don't know what to do and I can not afford to put her in actual training !!!! So please don't tell me I need to put her with an actual training because that isn't something I can do . Please help !!! She is a 15.1hh Anglo Arab and is 110% sound and healthy .
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It sounds like she is not muscled enough or collected enough to canter. She gets into the fast trot because she does not understand what the canter is. How is her trot? Are you able to get three speeds at the trot? (A slow, a medium and a fast/extended). Is she collected and soft at the trot? If not than she is not ready to canter. It should be that she is collected and soft and listening to the aids so that when you give your cue to canter she can easily propel herself into it. The fact that she is rushing and bucking indicates that she is frustrated and does not understand what you are asking. She may also be stiff and not supple/bending at the corners. If she is not bending and soft than she will have a hard time picking up the canter. It sounds like you are moving to fast. How long has she been under saddle? How long since you got her weight up? Is her muscling good?

Once she is listening at the trot you could try taking her out on a trail with other horses that do canter. On a straight away have the other horses take off at a canter and than ask her to canter. Once she pick up the gait praise, praise and more praise.
 

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It could be a lot of things that maybe relate to your timing of when and where and how to ask, but it could also have to do with staying too long in the round pen. Oftentimes if you stay too long in there the life in the horse starts to fall out because they figure out that there's no reason to go anywhere. Are you able to bend her and stop with her with one rein when she does canter? If so it might be time to try riding somewhere with a little more space. At least, I'd spend no more than 15 mins total in a round pen on the average day.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
She is very collected and soft at the trot . She can do all three speeds perfectly and is always listening . Her muscle is good , and shes very balanced . I was told she was started before I got her and had been ridden a few times . I can see that being true because she is so good with voice and body cues from the ground . I am currently trying to get her muscle up and she's come a long way :)
Even when I let her loose in the arena with my other horse , my Warmblood will canter and Leo and buck and all my 4 year old does is trot around ! She has picked up a full speed gallop while loose in the arena but she went straight from walk to gallop then stopped . Nothing in between haha
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She is very collected and soft at the trot . She can do all three speeds perfectly and is always listening . Her muscle is good , and shes very balanced . I was told she was started before I got her and had been ridden a few times . I can see that being true because she is so good with voice and body cues from the ground . I am currently trying to get her muscle up and she's come a long way :)
Even when I let her loose in the arena with my other horse , my Warmblood will canter and Leo and buck and all my 4 year old does is trot around ! She has picked up a full speed gallop while loose in the arena but she went straight from walk to gallop then stopped . Nothing in between haha
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That gallop-to-walk transition sounds kind of nice actually! You may want that someday when you're on her. ;]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It could be a lot of things that maybe relate to your timing of when and where and how to ask, but it could also have to do with staying too long in the round pen. Oftentimes if you stay too long in there the life in the horse starts to fall out because they figure out that there's no reason to go anywhere. Are you able to bend her and stop with her with one rein when she does canter? If so it might be time to try riding somewhere with a little more space. At least, I'd spend no more than 15 mins total in a round pen on the average day.
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I rarely have her in the round pen anymore , just started her in there to see how she moved . I usually lunge/ride in one of the three arenas here and always switch things up . When she does canter I can fully control her and get her bending in a nice big circle . I was told to set up a cross rail and get to go over it and pick up a canter after then praise her , would that work ?
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What if I were to get a balance system like a surcingle and side reins ? Would that help her canter on the lunge line? Oh and just to clear this up , when I lunge her the circle is NOT too small .
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I agree it sounds like she isn't balanced or muscled enough to hold a canter. I started riding a green horse for a lady, he had sat for two years since she didn't have the confidence to ride him and the one trainer she had tried didn't work out. When I first started riding him he would not want to canter and when I eventually got him into a canter he would run into it or buck into it then run around like a mad man. So I went back to walk and trot for a few weeks, working long and low and on getting him built up. I then started adding in canter again and he's had no problems since. You say she has three perfect gaits, but then you're saying she won't canter. So I'm a bit confused, is it only under saddle? If so I would look to saddle fit issues. If it's not only under saddle then I would look to balance/muscling issues. Is this your first time working with such a young horse and such little training? I ask because it seems so (I could be wrong!), you both would probably benefit by bringing a good trainer into the mix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Like I said I DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY FOR A TRAINER . Yes , I am quite young but there is a trainer who has been sort of helping me over the last couple weeks . What I mean with the speeds , when she picks up a trot under saddle she usually picks up a nice smooth medium speed working trot . From there i can either push her forward , or half halt her and have her slow her trot down . When I pick up a trot on her , she will lift her head but once I give her the cue to collect , she right back on the bit . When I either slow her down or move her up , she does the same thing but it's worse when I speed her up then when I slow her down . That's what I have been REALLY working on . Keeping her collected while changing gaits/speeds .
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Like I said I DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY FOR A TRAINER . Yes , I am quite young but there is a trainer who has been sort of helping me over the last couple weeks . What I mean with the speeds , when she picks up a trot under saddle she usually picks up a nice smooth medium speed working trot . From there i can either push her forward , or half halt her and have her slow her trot down . When I pick up a trot on her , she will lift her head but once I give her the cue to collect , she right back on the bit . When I either slow her down or move her up , she does the same thing but it's worse when I speed her up then when I slow her down . That's what I have been REALLY working on . Keeping her collected while changing gaits/speeds .
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I don't see where you mentioned not having money for a trainer, though maybe I missed it. Unfortunately this sounds kind of like a green + green situation. Is there a way you could work with a trainer? Maybe do barn work in exchange for them working with you and the horse? It is very easy to mess up a horse that young with that little training, that is why you generally only get that young of a horse after you have brought a long a few with the help of a trainer. Try and find a trainer and in the mean time work on getting her muscled up, just do walk and trot work. Use trot poles, raised trot poles, etc. And make sure you're riding her back to front. As far as the balance lunging system, I would steer away from aids like that unless you're using them under the guidance of a trainer. They can do more harm then good if not used properly.
 

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I rarely have her in the round pen anymore , just started her in there to see how she moved . I usually lunge/ride in one of the three arenas here and always switch things up . When she does canter I can fully control her and get her bending in a nice big circle . I was told to set up a cross rail and get to go over it and pick up a canter after then praise her , would that work ?
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If you can steer her at the canter then it sounds like you do have some impulsion already. Is it that you wish she would be more alive to your leg and canter more consistently? The ground rail may be a good idea and praising definitely is. If you're having trouble doing any particular thing with your horse you do want to make a big fuss anytime they do it so that they're more inclined to do it again!
 

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Can you get her to consistently w/t/c on a longe line? If not, I would go back to that and not ask for the canter on her back until you can consistently get in while she's on a line. You can give her lots of transitions to help strengthen her up and increase her work ethic. Work in an open area as it may be the round pen is just too small and she doesn't feel comfortable trying to canter in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I never really work her in the round pen any more . I bring her in there the odd time that my 7 year old cousin wants to ride her but other than that we are almost never in there . And it's not that the round pen is too small , it's quite big actually . I can get her to pick up a few strides on canter on the lunge line but she always goes back to trot . When she does however , as soon as she picks it up I release all pressure and make sure to praise her while and after she has cantered . She knows my "good girl" voice , her ears always ***** forward and she lifts her head and tail when I say it :) it's the cutest thing ! I'm going to try goin back to just walk trot both on the lunge line and under saddle and make sure to do lots of transitions and keep her balanced and collected . Yesterday when I rode she was so much better . Stayed collected for 99.9% of the ride :)
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Found out after putting her in training that she's standardbred/Arab . Hence why she can't canter . She's gaited and just can't get her footing right
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Found out after putting her in training that she's standardbred/Arab . Hence why she can't canter . She's gaited and just can't get her footing right
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I was just reading this thread and the first thought that came into my mind was that she might be gaited , and thus find cantering difficult. So , I s her trot a trot, or is it a pace?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
She single foots and will trot but then she starts pacing and goes really fricken fast haha
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If she just starts trotting faster and faster then its definitely a muscle and balance issue. For one you said she is an arab and sorry to tell you but their bodies don't develop as fast as other breeds. Their knees don't even completely close until they're 4 so there is no way she has the balance for it. Also you said she was a rescue which I'm guessing means she was under weight so you fed her to put on weight. Well that's not muscle its fat. She may look good but unfortunately if she hasn't been carrying a rider in the canter then she doesn't have the muscles to carry a rider in the canter. That would be kinda like saying oh I can squat 150lbs so therefore I can bench 150lbs. I know your anxious and ready but you really are moving way to fast and all you're going to do is make her frustrated. Take your time and build those muscles. At least 3 months of hill work. Trot down a slight hill to build back and shoulders and teach her to bring the back legs under her. Then walk nice and slow up a steep hill. Really make her take her time and dig in to build up butt muscles. Do this a few times o week. On the other days docavaletti work and give her her head so she can really stretch down and build those back muscles. Next you will also want to do some long and low with her. This is how we build up the young dressage horses. If you ride 6 days a week this will take about 3 months to have her fully conditioned. If you don't it will take longer. Just remember horses are like us and need physical fitness training. I wouldn't have you run a 5k if you hadn't trained and you can't expect that from your horse either
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well the standie in her just comes out . She never paces under saddle , just single foots before going into the trot . Found out from the vet that she is closer to 9-10 years old . She just had 30 says professional training and she has come a long way since I got her . She is on many suprements for weight gain and is being worked (not under saddle) regularly . She has out on quite a bit of muscle . We are only working on canter on the lunge line now and she's starting to finally understand it and get her footing right . We have a burm in the far arena and I've taken her up and down there at a walk and trot . I really wish I could post videos and pictures from my phone on here so you would know what I mean by "she can't canter"
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If she canters with a saddle then she can canter without it. I think the lack of results you describe might be from not understanding timing, how and how hard to push and when to release?

Canter without a saddle; If she will not change gait into the canter then you need to put on more pressure until she does canter. If you quit with just a trot then you have trained her to trot. If a lunge whip does stimulate here enough to canter then use a different tool that gets a better response. A flag “plastic grocery bag on a cue stick” sometimes will get better movement and if that does not work then toss your lariat rope at her feet. You might have to be creative but it comes down to doing what you have to do until she understands what you want. Once you get the canter a time or two then you ask for it with just the verbal Smooch or cluck and only use the flag if there is no response. Believe me they learn really fast that once they hear the verbal cute to get their feet moving of the flag is on its way.

Canter with a saddle. She most likely cantered right off because there was enough stimulation from the new feel of that saddle to get her feet moving, but I would not have stopped her. Rather let them stop on their own in the early training stages because the forward movement is more important. Trust me after she canters around for a while she will want to slow to a trot or stop on her own.

You also might consider just working her with the saddle on until she understands the verbal cue to lope off since the saddle seems to get her moving. Once this cue is well established and she lope off with only a smooch then work on the canter without the saddle. Additionally try these options with no lead rope so you are not tempted to pull on the horse, just let her move without restriction for a few sessions.

Best of luck
 
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