View Full Version : Lunging a 4yo for the Canter

Jun. 25, 2009, 08:29 PM
I have almost 4yo Clyde/TB mare (turns 4 in Sep). We're working on flat work with occasional cross rails/poles. I have a very small ring at my barn - 20meters by maybe 40 meters. She can handle W/T in this ring, but struggles on her weaker lead to canter in this small area - so I haven't been. On trails/larger rings, she'll canter on the right lead, but it's clearly her weaker side, she doesn't hold the bend as long or as easily.

My question is would short bouts of lunging (10-15 min) in the small ring be a reasonable method to keep building her muscles and balance on this lead? I will continue to canter on trails/larger rings, but don't know if the lunging will help or hurt.

For the last few months, she's been getting ridden 3-5 days a week for 30-60 minutes, combinations of ring work and trails/conditioning.

I am working with a trainer, just curious about other opinions.

Jun. 25, 2009, 08:39 PM
First, make sure that her hips are aligned correctly. If she can't bring her inside leg underneath herself then it'll be harder to keep that canter lead.

Second, sometimes horses need a little help staying in a frame and for this, correctly adjusted side reins are very helpful. It teaches them to keep their shape, carry themselves, and move underneath him or herself.

I wouldn't overdo it with the lunging in that direction at the canter - possibly more transitions getting her to sit on the inside hind leg.

Good luck!

Jun. 25, 2009, 09:21 PM
I have a four year old TB/paint mare who was very awkward at the canter. I started her slowly and did intersperse some cantering on a LONG longe line with her and it did help. A lot. I didn't do it every day and eventually was able to longe her at the canter with loose sliding side reins. I don't longe for very long, twenty minutes at the most, and not every day. I defnately saw the development of her balance and ability to maintain a nice rhythm on her own.