View Full Version : need help with ideas on getting pony round at the canter

May. 30, 2011, 05:32 PM
I have a student that struggles with getting her pony round at the canter. Pony is very nice, goes on the bit easily at walk and trot, but stiffens up and raises head at the canter. Student is a very good rider, but I cannot get her to get the feel for connecting him at the canter. He is shorter necked and the student has a hard time maintaining the connection when he does canter.

This is a good rider, they score 60 plus easily at training level. I would love some ideas, exercises to help her get the feel for getting him softer at the canter. I am a good lower level trainer, but this one has me stumped. I have tried many different exercises already and would love to hear if anyone has something that I have not thought of. How do you explain when to use the connecting aid or half halt at the canter, with out loosing the energy.

May. 30, 2011, 05:58 PM
How does the pony do at the canter on various sized circles without a rider? And straight, without a rider?

Some horses have a difficult time balancing at the canter. If you analyze how pony does moving freely, it will clue you in to whether the reason he tenses and hallows out is to do with the rider/weight on back, or just pony's way of going. For example DD's Haflinger mare had to work much on the lunge and on free lunge to develop a balanced canter on circles 20m and smaller--she is a trot machine, but canter was just not so natural for her without getting fit at it. SHe had to literally work up the fitness to stay supple and balanced on a 20m circle canter--then we worked circles down from there.

If however the pony doesn't stiffen and hallow out when worked sans rider, you should look into an entirely different line of solutions--back pain, hip pain, stifles, how hard your rider is coming down in the saddle and how she is balanced at the canter, whether she flaps elbows, what are rider's hands doing to the mouth, whether she pushes into her heels, the saddle fit (especially width), back and whither soreness.

Any more info?

May. 30, 2011, 07:43 PM
I guess I should add to this, If I ride the pony we have no issues. He is very fit, very strong and has a very good canter. His tack and saddle fits very well too. The rider jumps him, hacks him, rides dressage, and does all of those things very well. He receives above average care, and has no soundness issues.

The problem is getting the rider to understand the connecting half halt. I cannot explain to her how to do it and the timing involved. She looses the connection and the timing goes all to heck! I have "hit a wall" on this and am looking for ideas. I have tried numerous exercises with rider and pony.....as soon as she starts trying to bring him round, he tenses and tries to quit by slowing the canter or trying to break. OR he inverts slightly and uses his neck against her and goes into his lovely little jumping frame, uphill but above the verticle. AT the same time the rider cannot understand how to connect in his timing of the gait. So I feel like as her priamry instructor I need to get more creative to find a fix and a better way to teach it. IF all else fails I need her to go out to someone else and do a lesson on just this issue.

May. 30, 2011, 09:54 PM
what do you mean by "connecting aid" or "connecting half halt"?

as you know, canter is a special gait because a) horse has time to really brace due to 3 feet on the ground and, b) horse can get very out of balance because of 1 foot on the ground.

also, the timing is so precise, so if it were me, i would not worry too much about rider connecting and instead get her to understand what he affect of her aids are in each phase of the gait. in other words: she needs to understand that if she HHs while horse is on its foreleg then it will ground the canter, and if she HHs at the correct time how this will instead help rebalance etc.

May. 31, 2011, 12:41 PM
So can this rider canter other horses on the bit and just not this one? Or can the rider not ride the canter yet at all? I'd say the missing ingredient is bend, but if the rider doesn't have a proper canter seat, that should be addressed on the lunge line.

May. 31, 2011, 09:44 PM
If I understand the problem correctly, get here to do canter walk canter transitions. If she cannot do them on the flat, do so between jumps.

Aim for 6 strides of each and see what you get. Adjust accordingly.

You sort of need to learn some refined HH work to do those transitions. She may be overaiding trying to do a HH without a clear goal, or visual or feeling cues.

May. 31, 2011, 11:30 PM
Ok yes I like ^^"