View Full Version : adjustability at the canter help

Dapple Dawn Farm
Nov. 29, 2009, 08:15 PM
OK, OTTB peeps...my guy will oh so willingly go forward at the canter but we're really having issues coming back to a collected canter after a lengthening. He easily will lenghten and shorten at the walk and trot but just doesn't seem to understand the concept at the canter. Any good adjustability exercises I can try?

Nov. 29, 2009, 08:26 PM
Canter rails. There is an exercise with rails set fanned a little bit....going to the otter edge is a noral step and moving further to the other end helps create a shorter step. going through thos myself with a young horse with a huge step. Was thinking today about exercises for this. I also use the short ends of the arena as areas to shorten stride but the rails makes life a little easier. Can be a tad messy at first so have someone to reset them when you plow thru them a few times :lol: Also bounces help if you are jumping....they help show a horse they indeed can sit on their hind end.

Nov. 29, 2009, 08:31 PM
Collection requires a lot of strength, that he may not yet have developed. You could try cantering circles, spiraling in to get as small as he can go (he'll have to collect/rock back), and spiral back out. That will help build strength and balance without pulling on him.
Make sure you are using leg when trying to collect. There should be more leg than hand.

Dapple Dawn Farm
Nov. 29, 2009, 08:37 PM
He is more adjustable on circles for sure but down the long side of the arena he'll just try to barrel down it.

Nov. 30, 2009, 12:09 PM
Work on the half halt (HH) - start with a walk/halt/walk shortening the time you're halted until you get a Walk/HH (horse continues walking). Idea is not to push horse forward following halt or HH but "soften" and allow horse forward, AND horse MUST bring hind legs underneath body (not leave them behind) in a proper square halt - for this wot work.

Repeat at trot. Once you have it there canter.

Don't forget to NOT stay in trot or canter for long periods of time (e.g. 4 canter strides to 1 second halt back to canter then change to 4 canter HH continue cantering).

How to perform a proper HH: leaving legs ON horse (but not pushing/squeezing unless you need it to get legs under body and not trailing behind) push straight down (NOT forward) on stirrups and squeeze reins while rider is looking straight ahead but NOT leaning forward.

If horse takes trot steps between halt and canter he does not have legs underneath - so go back to canter / halt / canter gradually shortening the time in halt until you're back to the HH. Do NOT pull backs reins unless horse fails to stop. Following squeeze on reins in HH soften elbows allowing them foprward about 1/4 to 1/2 inch as a reward for shifting weigh to hindquarters.

After you can get a good HH then ride a gallop do a HH and come down to working canter/trot/walk - whatever you want. Should work well IF you did all your pre work fine.

Practice HH's before EVERY corner, change in pace, change in direction. The more you practice them the more responsive the horse will become and the easier to get the desired throttle on the gas petal. :cool:

Nov. 30, 2009, 06:41 PM
In addition to Valentina's excellent excersizes you can try:
Lengthen down the longside and collect at the end by doing a 10 meter circle. The circle will help your horse to collect and encourage you to keep your leg on to collect. Try not to use your hands too much in this excersize, just stretch away from the horse with your shoulders and you should get a nicer transition from the lengthen to the collected.

Nov. 30, 2009, 08:52 PM
Its probably due to lack of muscle. If your facility allows, try lots of hill work, that will really work those hind muscles! If the horse isn't physically ready for the collection, don't push it. I also like canter/trot poles as well.