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View Full Version : bouncy trot = dreamy canter?



mustangsal85
Nov. 18, 2011, 08:55 AM
This may be a completely coincidental observance on my part but a friend and I were discussing yesterday how a horse that she tried out had an awfully bouncy, springy trot but a to-die-for canter. She asked if there was a correlation and I said I wasn't sure. But the more I thought about it, back to all of the horses I have been on, I distinctly remember those with that smooth, buttery canter were the ones with the trot that was harder to sit. Whereas the horses with less knee action at the trot and less suspension tended to have decent canters but nothing that was a dream to sit.

Does anyone have any insight on this, or is this pure coincidence?

hunterjumper06
Nov. 18, 2011, 09:00 AM
I have no insight, but I totally know what you mean. Every horse I've ridden is like this. And it went both ways, dreamy trot, lousy canter.

TesignedInGold
Nov. 18, 2011, 09:01 AM
My horse has an awful trot - not just bouncy as in "boingy" because of alot of suspension, but rather feels chopping and rough - much like sitting to a cake mixer.

His canter on the other hand is gorgeous - huge stride, flowing, flat kneed.

When we show, he always starts off at the bottom of the hack pool and quickly climbs his way up once they ask for a canter. Granted, he's not a hack winner, but he usually gets up there with the best of them.

Oh, he's also registered AQHA, and PHBA.

forestergirl99
Nov. 18, 2011, 09:10 AM
Never thought about this, but it's true for my guy. His trot is decent to look at but terrible to sit. His canter is a dream to look at and sit though. Interesting observation!

PaintPony
Nov. 18, 2011, 09:14 AM
I have noticed this too. My horse is the same way - uncomfortable trot but a canter like butter.

eclipse
Nov. 18, 2011, 09:48 AM
I've noticed this too! My mare has a powerful back end, and holy cow is her trot bouncy (in a good way though not rough). Her canter, on the other hand, is lovely. It's kind of like you can feel it coming from her hind and rolling to the front and she's sooooo light in the hand you could ride it all day (not sure how else to describe it)! :lol:

MySuperExAlter
Nov. 18, 2011, 10:04 AM
I've noticed this as well.. my jumpers trot is impossibly bouncy but his canter is a couch.. My hunter is a beautiful mover, but both gaits are relatively comfortable.

Hauwse
Nov. 18, 2011, 10:07 AM
I have always given great consideration to the amount of suspension a horse has at the trot when evaluating them.

I do not know if my definition of bouncy is exactly what the poster is referring to, but in my experience, a horse with a lot of suspension can really bounce you around at the trot, especially if you are a little out of the sweet spot, or out of the center of balance.

It has generally followed the same horses that can bounce you around are like rocking horses at the canter. They tend to have great rhythm, and seem to just float. I guess this is the pendulum effect that a highly efficient horse can express at the canter when they are completely balanced.

Kristy-nnn
Nov. 18, 2011, 10:13 AM
I had a hunter/eq mare who had a lovely trot and the loveliest canter ever. She was easily the most comfy, balanced, easiest horse to ride and equitate on. My horse now has a very bouncy trot, and while his canter is lovely, it's so huge and there's so much suspension and rock to it that it is really hard to sit quiet on.. but that's probably mostly due to the fact that he's 18hh and has the most insane action in the backend.. sometimes he'll cycle so hard with his hind legs he'll kick himself in the belly.. haha. I also have a horse with a choppy trot and a choppy flat canter, but while it is really hard to get him balanced his canter is super easy to sit.

mustangsal85
Nov. 18, 2011, 10:13 AM
I have always given great consideration to the amount of suspension a horse has at the trot when evaluating them.

I do not know if my definition of bouncy is exactly what the poster is referring to, but in my experience, a horse with a lot of suspension can really bounce you around at the trot, especially if you are a little out of the sweet spot, or out of the center of balance.

It has generally followed the same horses that can bounce you around are like rocking horses at the canter. They tend to have great rhythm, and seem to just float. I guess this is the pendulum effect that a highly efficient horse can express at the canter when they are completely balanced.

Yes, the definition of bouncy is what I was referring to. Now there are also rougher trots that do not necessarily feel floaty or balanced but are just choppy. There is a horse at my barn now who has kind of an all over the place trot but a dreamy canter.. I think both gaits will only improve with more fitness and training though.

I think you are spot on with the balance aspect. A truly balanced horse will be light in the bridle and have an uphill canter, which is exemplified in these horses that seem to have a more uphill, rocking horse type canter.

ohsareee
Nov. 18, 2011, 10:21 AM
I agree. My current guy has one of the most unseating trots I've ever ridden. I guess I didn't think that one through when picking my Eq horse. Showing around the state and VSF I've had more than my fair share of flat wins which I can only guess is due to the canter. I swear I look like im glued to the saddle - its amazing to sit!

One of my previous horses had the most amazing movement I have ever seen, comepletely flat kneed w/t/c, daisy cutter, tracked up and his "collected" stride was easily 12ft. I found him from a dealer and bought him simply because of the way he went. Ive never seen anything like it. He enjoyed jumping a little too much and I was a little too unexperienced at the time. But I kid you not when saying you could literally hold yourself down onto the saddle and still get a good 5 inches of air with every step! Trot and canter! I'm guessing he just had so much impulsion from behind that is popped you right out. My greatest times of joy were when other riders would tell me they could ride the horse better and they would get on and look like the beginners just learning to trot haha

pattnic
Nov. 18, 2011, 10:57 AM
My mare has a very smooth, easy-to-sit trot, but she also has a very smooth, comfortable canter. However, she is a bit lacking in suspension and push from behind; she doesn't step under herself as well as I would like, and she's a bit long in the back (but still short compared to many horses). She's green - as in energy conservation!

My gelding has a pretty bouncy trot and a nice canter; he is overall more athletic and uses himself naturally better than the mare. He has a short back.

My friend's mare that I ride has a bigger, bouncier trot and a nice canter. I would say her length of back is a bit long.

Sarabeth
Nov. 18, 2011, 11:04 AM
In my experience, this is true.

I spent years thinking I could sit a canter gracefully because the horse I learned to ride on had a canter like a magic carpet ride. no effort required, just sit and smile :D

His trot, however, was an aerobic workout experience :lol:

Losgelassenheit
Nov. 18, 2011, 11:12 AM
My greatest times of joy were when other riders would tell me they could ride the horse better and they would get on and look like the beginners just learning to trot haha

Hahaha, YES! Isn't that great? :D I would generally agree with this as well. The last mare I had was such a big mover, you really had to find & stay in that "sweet spot" or else she could really throw you off balance. Her canter was to die for, though, and I remember the first time I rode her I was shocked that it was so easy to stick to the movement. She also covered SO much ground compared to the little 16h, far less athletic gelding I'd just gotten off of, and she'd just step over the jumps that my little guy would have to actually make an effort over.

I remember one day I was out in the ring flatting her & the barn know-it-all was sitting with a few other snarkies in what I'll call the peanut gallery, watching & making their armchair comments. :rolleyes: Anywho, I wanted to take a look at something from the ground so I asked if someone could get on her, to which there was some hushed chatter about how she could ride just as good if not better, and they couldn't possibly understand what the problem could be since the mare was obviously SUCH an easy ride.. I kept my mouth shut & pretended to hear nothing. ;) She climbed on and asked what to do, to which I told her to just walk down to the far end of the ring & then trot down the long side. The mare took maybe three trot steps and I thought she was gonna get bounced right off! :lol::lol::lol: Her eyes were huge & she ended up pulling her up.

When it was over, she jumped off, threw the reins at me, and said "I don't know how you ride that horse" in a huff before stalking off. Made my afternoon, and I never got any side-comment lip from her ever again.

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 18, 2011, 11:29 AM
It depends on a lot of factors. If the horse is downhill, they can often have both a rough trot and canter. Likewise, an uphill horse will be much easier to sit the trot and canter in general.

Also I have found that very flat kneed movers that lack suspension often have smooth trot but are more likely to have a lateral canter which is harder to sit IMO. Horses with lots of suspension have bouncier trots but typically have good joint articulation which usually gives that rocking horse feel at the canter (which some people love and others don't).

Lastly length of stride will greatly influence the smoothness of the different gaits.

So lots of factors can lead to "smooth" or "rough" gaits. Those were just some of my observations but I think uphill balance and length of stride are probably the most important factors. I have ridden some very lateral canters that were uphill and comfy, but a lateral canter on a long backed, downhill horse? Awful.

LoveJubal
Nov. 18, 2011, 11:37 AM
My horse has an awful trot - not just bouncy as in "boingy" because of alot of suspension, but rather feels chopping and rough - much like sitting to a cake mixer.

Ha Ha! This is my 4 year old EXACTLY!! The Barn Owner calls him the "Sewing Machine" at the trot :yes:

But, his canter is very nice! He even does the little TB huff/snort breathing thing to keep the tempo for me :lol:

mustangsal85
Nov. 18, 2011, 12:13 PM
It depends on a lot of factors. If the horse is downhill, they can often have both a rough trot and canter. Likewise, an uphill horse will be much easier to sit the trot and canter in general.

Also I have found that very flat kneed movers that lack suspension often have smooth trot but are more likely to have a lateral canter which is harder to sit IMO. Horses with lots of suspension have bouncier trots but typically have good joint articulation which usually gives that rocking horse feel at the canter (which some people love and others don't).

Lastly length of stride will greatly influence the smoothness of the different gaits.

So lots of factors can lead to "smooth" or "rough" gaits. Those were just some of my observations but I think uphill balance and length of stride are probably the most important factors. I have ridden some very lateral canters that were uphill and comfy, but a lateral canter on a long backed, downhill horse? Awful.

Can you explain what you mean by a lateral canter?

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 18, 2011, 12:27 PM
Can you explain what you mean by a lateral canter?

It's considered a gait impurity. Basically instead of a clearly defined 1-2-3 rhythm, you get a muddy 1-2/3 where the inside fore touches at the same or nearly the same time as the inside hind and outside fore.

fordtraktor
Nov. 18, 2011, 12:33 PM
I have always given great consideration to the amount of suspension a horse has at the trot when evaluating them.

I do not know if my definition of bouncy is exactly what the poster is referring to, but in my experience, a horse with a lot of suspension can really bounce you around at the trot, especially if you are a little out of the sweet spot, or out of the center of balance.

It has generally followed the same horses that can bounce you around are like rocking horses at the canter. They tend to have great rhythm, and seem to just float. I guess this is the pendulum effect that a highly efficient horse can express at the canter when they are completely balanced.

I agree with Hauwse --horses with a lot of suspension in the trot can often have lovely canters but I find those trots the best if you are in the swing of them. I don't think they are "bouncy" but they sure can be if you aren't with the rhythm.

A horse that a truly "bouncy"/choppy trot that doesn't have a center rarely has a nice canter either, IMO. Think Standardbred trots. I can't seem to get in the middle of that kind of big trot, not like a big swingy WB or TB trot.

luv2ride113
Nov. 18, 2011, 03:44 PM
This is certainly true of the horse I ride. His trot is really bouncy and has tons of suspension. It feels like sitting on a jackhammer, though. His canter, however, is as smooth as butter. It is a nice rocking horse motion and easy to sit.

indygirl2560
Nov. 18, 2011, 04:22 PM
My friend's horse, who I ride a lot, has a trot with a ton of suspension. The first time I rode him, it was definitely rough! Now I hop on him and since I'm used to it, it doesn't bother me. Compared to his trot, he canter is actually quite nice. Someone came to try him the other day, (he's for sale), and commented on how bouncy his trot was. I think it just takes some getting used to.

Sunnyhorse
Nov. 18, 2011, 04:25 PM
My QH fulfills your theory -- bouncy trot (although I've come to like it because it means less work in posting) and a gorgeous rocking chair canter that I could ride all day.

ASBJumper
Nov. 18, 2011, 04:39 PM
I have Saddlebreds and Saddlebred x Warmblood crosses. So they're bred for comfy, smooth gaits - and they have them.

The ones I have ridden most recently, my 5 yr old ASB mare and my 3.5 yr old ASBXOldenburg gelding, are super comfy to ride. My gelding's trot is sooo incredibly comfy (very flat and Hunter-y) and his canter is to DIE for - HUGE flowing stride.
The only time my mare's canter gets a little lateral (and so, hard to sit) is when she is in dire need of a chiro adjustment/massage. Otherwise, she's a lovely, comfy + easy ride.

Honestly i have gotten somewhat lazy now cuz i'm so spoiled with my sports-car horses. :lol: Now if i get on anyone else's horse i'm like "holy crap, this is uncomfortable - and haaard!". :lol:

But, fwiw, i did ride a TB gelding for a friend a year or so ago and he had a nice comfy trot but his canter was AWFUL. So, i do have some experience with what the OP is talking about.

mustangsal85
Nov. 18, 2011, 04:57 PM
It's considered a gait impurity. Basically instead of a clearly defined 1-2-3 rhythm, you get a muddy 1-2/3 where the inside fore touches at the same or nearly the same time as the inside hind and outside fore.

Got it. So is this more from a conformational defect or a lack of self-carriage or..?

fourmares
Nov. 18, 2011, 11:52 PM
My OTTB mare has a comfy trot and a rocking horse canter that's to die for.

SomethingChronic
Nov. 19, 2011, 01:05 AM
ever thought of it this way. Jumpers are cantering 90% of the time. Why take the time to breed a really nice trot?

AnEnglishRider
Nov. 19, 2011, 11:06 PM
My horse has a little bouncy trot and a little bouncy canter... :( It's getting better though. But still bouncy.

fordtraktor
Nov. 20, 2011, 01:37 PM
ever thought of it this way. Jumpers are cantering 90% of the time. Why take the time to breed a really nice trot?

Smooth trot and nice trot are rarely the same thing...my children's hunter won his share in the hack but he had a lit if suspension and a big trot. It takes skill to sit the trot on a nice dressage horse. They are great trots, but not bred with smooth as a goal.

Most smooth trots are not the hack winners. I have a cute QH pony with a trot like glass and while she is cute, she is not going to clean up at Pony Finals.