PDA

View Full Version : Tell me your stories of getting your OTTB to do a normal canter transition



wildlifer
Jan. 24, 2012, 07:58 PM
And if he just did it automatically and magically, I don't want to hear it! :winkgrin:

I've had my guy about 4 months and we're trying hard on our flatwork. The jumping is great. But the canter transition is still runrunrunrunrunrunLEAP or just LEAP. We're working on halt/walk/trot transitions, etc, but I'm hoping to hear your tools to show them that they can just step nicely into canter and there are no more starting gates!

JER
Jan. 24, 2012, 08:04 PM
Define 'normal'.

:D

enjoytheride
Jan. 24, 2012, 08:14 PM
I don't have much experience with OTTB's but I have plenty with green horses.

What helps me is to not ask for the canter until they are soft. A tense trot means a tense pogo canter. The softer and balanced and quieter the horse is the better the transition.

Sometimes cantering for awhile once you get into it helps them relax, but some horses it helps to just canter for 5 or 6 strides so they don't get excited.

It also helps to make sure you are forward enough in the trot. Even if you feel the trot is a bit rushed you will get a better and smoother canter then from a trot that is too slow. I think there is a huge tendency (myself included) to pick pick pick at the trot right before we canter. We seek the perfect transition, we think that a slower trot means a slower canter, and we want to live to see tommorow.

Don't shorten your reins up before you canter either. It helps to hold the bucking strap when you ask for the canter. Keeps you in the saddle and keeps your hands from picking.

FairWeather
Jan. 24, 2012, 08:26 PM
Wildlifer, the canter can take a bit of time to develop. What I've found to be really helpful is to pop over a pole to help them learn to canter without running. I actually don't canter my horses in the ring for months, and only canter out of the ring. Typically I pop over a log, stay off the back when they do canter on, then sit and press into the hand to establish strength/rhythm for a gradually longer amount of time. I find this helps them get the necessary strength to eventually have a normal canter depart.

riverpup
Jan. 24, 2012, 08:34 PM
What helped me was to stay on a circle. Develop transitions with in the trot. Little trot, big trot, little trot. If she or he canters on one of your requests for a bit more trot, take it. It has to be not a big deal. And the circles help them learn that they are not going to get to go anywhere so there is no point in running! I hope this helps and best of luck with your horse.

Charlie&Me
Jan. 24, 2012, 09:13 PM
Not the easiest thing to do but try to ask when the outside hind is up - if you're posting when asking, you'll be sitting. I have to really think about this and therefore start prepping about 3 strides before I really want the canter. The other thing (and this is what I really struggled with because I was trying to keep him from running) is to stay soft in your hand, allowing him to move forward into the canter. The sequence goes something like this: prep aids, soft half halt, prep aids, soft half halt, canter aids ask for the canter and the hand maintains a soft conversation. Easier said than done but once you get the hang of it, it works beautifully.

I had a really tough time with the right lead because he would fall in really badly. I had to think of "popping" his left shoulder in order to keep him out on the circle while asking. Good luck!

JER
Jan. 24, 2012, 09:44 PM
I try to find what's easiest for the horse and then I try to make sure the horse stays relaxed and not pressured.

The pole exercise that FairWeather described is good, so is a small crossrail if the horse isn't impressed by a pole. If the horse needs to run, I let them run a little, so long as we do get a reasonably prompt transition. The focus is on getting to the canter, not about the quality of the transition.

But this is the single most important piece of advice I can give: be patient. It takes years to develop a really solid, good canter transition.

Last November, I posted a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN02bQZn_Cc) of my 5 YO TB doing her first Novice dressage test. Mike Plumb narrated the test. He's been working with Niina since she was 4; her rider, Glenbaer, has been riding/training her from age 3. That's a lot of quality training and riding for a young TB. But in the video, when she does her first canter transition, Mike says 'Pretty good. The judge doesn't know that's difficult for her.'

So don't be too hard on yourself or your horse. Just try to go up to the canter from the trot, ask a few times each ride, and don't let it become an issue. You'll get there.

:)

EventerAJ
Jan. 24, 2012, 09:59 PM
It has helped mine to do lots of trot/canter transitions in a row. The first ones are explosive, and gradually it gets less and less exciting the more we go. A horse can only "leap" so many times before it gets to be boring, lol.

Now, you can't just "go do transitions" right away...because it gets sloppy: leap into the canter, strung out fall into trot, runrunrun trot, leap/fall back into canter, and he's heavy in your hands, haul back to a runrunrun trot, etc. That doesn't help; if your transitions are like that, you're not ready for a series of trot/canter.

I do LOTS of transitions walk/trot, trot/walk/halt, etc, so the horse has learned to respect my half-halt before we get to the canter transitions. This is our warm up every day, sometimes for 25 minutes (for a month, it Was our day). Also working on "straightness" in these transitions-- no popping the shoulder. Lots of transitions on a circle and before corners, to emphasize "half-halt" before a turn (a major unbalancing possibility!).

Then, when horse is straight, soft, and responsive (he doesn't have to be "round" per se) I ask for canter on a circle. Leap ensues. No big deal, ask for trot before half the circle. Trot half the circle, re-organize, canter again. Repeat, canter half a circle, trot half a circle (large circles! 20m at least, 30m is better). It will probably be ugly at first, but just keep calmly insisting on a normal canter transistion, and an obedient trot transition. *Remember to keep your leg on in the downward transitions, especially if they lean!* If you can't reorganize in half the circle, that's ok, get relaxed (even if you have to walk) and ask again. But strive to have a balanced downward, so you can "quickly" ask for the upward transition again.

Don't expect it to be perfect right away-- it won't be. I only do about 4 or 5 transitions per lead; the last transitions still maybe aren't "dressage test perfect," but they are a lot less leapy than we started, so I praise and quit it for the day.

I do lots of these upward/downward transitions at all gaits on the same circle...the horse does learn to anticipate the "slow down spot" which helps with the half-halts/down transitions (especially on days when we forget what brakes are!).

kkindley
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:12 PM
As another said, use a pole. For months I asked for canter over a pole or small jump. It gave us a prompt transition, and a quality canter. When she tried to run into the canter, we ended up in an ugly running canter. She already knew how to canter with a rider, she just needed to relearn it and I didn't want to let her be in the habit of running flat. The "jump" gave her a rounder canter than without.

Like JER mentioned, it takes a long time to get them "good" She graduated from the pole, but it has taken a long time to have the uphill transition with no change in rhythm, balance, etc. and of course it's still a work in progress.

Big_Grey_hunter
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:55 PM
Or, you just buy a horse who has a wonderful, soft, balanced canter from the start. After 4 months off, he stepped right into the most perfect, balanced, uphill, smooth canter. I love his canter.
Then 5 minutes later he had a melt down over the fact I was *gasp* touching his mouth! And off we went into a lovely, uphill bolt. Then *gasp* another horse came into the ring! And off we go with his head straight in the air like a giraffe on crack. And then, ZOMG! The horse looked at him! And off we go jigging and sweating like we'd just run a marathon.

On second thought, I'll skip the wonderful canter and take one with a good brain.

goodmorning
Jan. 24, 2012, 11:01 PM
You can also do a shallow loop and ask for the canter going back to the rail. Probably the most effective way at a quality transition, advice given to me by none other than Mike Plumb. Also very beneficial when it comes to a test - where you can place yourself as if you're going 'to the rail' and ask for the canter depart. They are used to this type of depart, so this is a known concept. Something that you can never appreciate too much when dealing with a difficult, or green, horse.

netg
Jan. 24, 2012, 11:30 PM
By leaping into the canter do you mean... something like this?
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7160/6685905299_9405bf2ea1.jpg
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7158/6685905373_ccb8017fd7.jpg

That's my OTTB at our first canter transition at a clinic with the USDF youth/young rider coach a couple of weeks ago. My guy's been off the track 6 1/2 years or so, and is schooling third level dressage. But that's what happens when he gets tense, even now.

I agree with all the advice about using a pole or crossrails to teach it, as there's every chance your horse has never been taught to do a nice flat-footed canter transition. However, with the tension, what we did which turned that into lovely was the transitions within the trot mentioned while working on bend, then instead of thinking "CANTER!" thinking "trot into the canter!" Without doing the hold that I'd normally do to set up for a nice, uphill transition, my request for the canter ended up being much more effective when that explosive response was bunched up under the saddle and in his haunches.

scubed
Jan. 25, 2012, 08:51 AM
despite it seeming a lot, I've had good luck with soft leg yield to walk to turn about the haunches (not really "on" the haunches for a greenie) to soft trot to canter. Current horse is good with just leg yield to shoulder fore to canter (all very subtle)

wildlifer
Jan. 25, 2012, 10:47 AM
Define 'normal'.

:D

BAHAHAHA -- my hope is to develop something that won't make everyone burst out laughing in the dressage arena. That doesn't seem like to much to ask with some time. JER, I have actually watched your mare's test several times and am going to watch it again, it's been a great learning tool for me!

Why do I always forget about my pole?? I'm going to tape to my neck strap "USE THE DAMN POLE!"

net_g, that is a VERY impressive leap! No, thankfully, he does not quite have that, um, expressive movement! Congrats on finding success!

Big Grey hunter, you made me laugh so loud my co-worker got suspicious. Thankfully, pony has a very good brain, I bought that.

Thanks VERY much everyone for taking the time to type all of that. I'm going to print this and take it to the barn, these are all GREAT and thoughtful reminders and tips on staying soft and being patient.

Horse is a gelding who raced about 3 years with moderate success, he's 6 (well 7 according to JC) but does try hard and I know he'll get there, hopefully he forgives my many mistakes!!

netg
Jan. 25, 2012, 11:10 AM
Horse is a gelding who raced about 3 years with moderate success, he's 6 (well 7 according to JC) but does try hard and I know he'll get there, hopefully he forgives my many mistakes!!

Best part of having an OTTB! If you can forgive your mistakes, they most certainly will. :)


Good luck, and please check in with your progress!

Skydog
Jan. 25, 2012, 03:28 PM
Aren't OTTB's the best?:) Mine did the same, exact thing. I now know the feeling of being shot from a cannon. Kind of a rush, but not what would impress any judge in any discipline.

The exercise that worked the best for us was getting the canter from a walk. The pole got him too excited (we'd leap the pole) and try as we might with lots of other transitions, the walk/canter was the ticket for him. He has a huge overstep at the walk, so his hindend was more underneath him at the walk than at the trot, so maybe that's why it worked. Once we got that to a fairly "normal" transition, we moved to trot figure-eights - sometimes ask for the canter after the change of direction/bend, sometimes continue trotting. Since's he's also the king of anticipation, this exercise has worked very well for him.

Good luck and have fun!

wildlifer
Jan. 25, 2012, 03:38 PM
He is a good boy. He is also very good at anticipation and looking at the woods with his head in the air because things are much more interesting out there. He's finally getting a pretty nice canter rhythm -- figures he is finally getting where he has energy to burn right as my life crashes and I'm exhausted! Where's that vacation again? ;-)

pheasantknoll
Jan. 25, 2012, 05:10 PM
I agree with the ideas above. Is he going trot, trot, faster, faster, faster trot? That's what my guy did. So, I refused to let him go faster. Establish the tempo you want that is balanced (ie pretty slow). Put your leg back and half halt, but DO NOT CUE the canter. Wash rinse repeat. When he is calm about that and MAINTAINING the rhythm, squeeze very lightly with outside leg. If he runs, return to nice tempo. Just keep repeating this and do not let him trot faster. he will give you some really ugly transitions, but over time they will become nice.

HTH,
PKN

I am not sure t his is clear, but keep your outside leg back. He has to disassociate the leg back from the running.

TheBrightSide06
Jan. 25, 2012, 05:14 PM
The biggest thing for my ottb when working on the canter transition was the contact I had.

If I had too much rein, he would launch into a very unbalanced canter, get tense, cross-fire, etc.

After playing with several things, the only thing that got us a very nice, balanced, CALM transition was for me to let go. I don't mean drop the reins to the buckle. Just, let go. I don't really know how to say it. And it was super hard for me to train myself to let go in an upward transition, but that's what got us out of the canter funk!

Like, once he had a nice trot I would sit lightly and ask for a canter. If I had too much hold, we'd get a crappy transition. If I asked with lower, softer, more following reins he would pick up a lovely canter.
That's just my experience with my own OTTB :)

kashmere
Jan. 25, 2012, 07:19 PM
I have been blessed with the best horse brain of all time in my OTTB girl, so we haven't had to deal with the leaping so much, but the flatten-run-run faster-run more! and then finally canter has definitely happened to us.

I've had great success with a pole (or slightly raised pole), as it allows me to ask when she's a) concentrating on something else, and b) when her front end is conveniently elevated from hopping over the pole, enabling us to have a nice, soft canter instead of an on-the-forehand run.

When I want to work sans pole, my setup is: from A, come onto the longside off the corner at a walk. At K, pick up the slowest trot possible, like barely jogging, at E put my outside leg waaay back, and inside leg on the girth. Ask for transition at H. If I don't have a canter stride as I'm passing C, come back down and try it again.

So far, this has been working well. Tonight we jumped her first vertical (from a lovely, balanced canter, no less!) So we're doing something right.

wildlifer
Jan. 26, 2012, 02:53 PM
kashmere, that's an interesting one! I know mine CAN canter well, he'll give you a lovely canter when schooling XC or jumping, it's just that pesky transition. I am definitely going to try several of these exercises. I love the soft use of the hind leg in yours, scubed.

We have had good luck over a flower box, d'ya reckon I can talk a TD into putting flower boxes IN the dressage arena??

kashmere
Jan. 26, 2012, 06:20 PM
I know it goes against the #1 rule of ALWAYS FORWARD, but I figure, as long as the slow jog is what I'm asking for, and not the horse sucking back against the leg, then it's a good tool to have around. What I like is that a crisp, immediate canter depart requires a level of self carriage that is often not there in any green horse -but i find more pronounced in an OTTB (often) because of the way they're used to using their bodies. Asking for the canter from a slow jog means that if (when) they take a couple of strides, it just means that they're not speeding up to mach ten by the time they're cantering. Like I said, I bring her back down if I haven't gotten the transition within 2-3 strides, so it's not an excuse to just flatten out and run. I just like to find ways to work with a horse's little issues.

wildlifer
Jan. 26, 2012, 06:22 PM
Hey, makes sense to me. We all know there 1,000 roads to Rome!

gold2012
Jan. 26, 2012, 07:14 PM
I try to find what's easiest for the horse and then I try to make sure the horse stays relaxed and not pressured.

The pole exercise that FairWeather described is good, so is a small crossrail if the horse isn't impressed by a pole. If the horse needs to run, I let them run a little, so long as we do get a reasonably prompt transition. The focus is on getting to the canter, not about the quality of the transition.

But this is the single most important piece of advice I can give: be patient. It takes years to develop a really solid, good canter transition.

Last November, I posted a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iN02bQZn_Cc) of my 5 YO TB doing her first Novice dressage test. Mike Plumb narrated the test. He's been working with Niina since she was 4; her rider, Glenbaer, has been riding/training her from age 3. That's a lot of quality training and riding for a young TB. But in the video, when she does her first canter transition, Mike says 'Pretty good. The judge doesn't know that's difficult for her.'

So don't be too hard on yourself or your horse. Just try to go up to the canter from the trot, ask a few times each ride, and don't let it become an issue. You'll get there.

:)

I hadn't seen that video. Nice Mare. WOW.

The pole exercise helps greatly. Don't worry too much about it right now. Also, if you can get them to be soft, and then get them deep into contact, that can help too. We hd one who would tense, but if we put him a bit deeper into the contact, he would just step right in. It takes time, and patience, and remember, they need to have the strenth to do it as well. Without muscle, it's very hard for them to step into it.

leahandpie
Jan. 26, 2012, 08:29 PM
Someone had posted earlier about walk to canter. With my old mare, that was the BEST way to get a transition. Leg yield to the wall, ask for inside bend, aid for canter.

With my current boy, that makes him tense and frantic! He prefers to be eased into the canter from almost a half seat. He objects if I'm sitting and ask for the canter, but picks it right up if I'm off his back a bit. We're working on it ;)

kashmere
Jan. 26, 2012, 09:28 PM
Hey, makes sense to me. We all know there 1,000 roads to Rome!

:lol: If there's one thing horses teach us, that's probably it!

wildlifer
Jan. 27, 2012, 10:24 AM
Leah, I think that is what mine will be like too, he gets tense and nervous just asking for canter, so I think if I try it from a walk, he will really ROCKET forward. I think he still believes that this is what I want (re: starting gate) since it was programmed into him for three years. So I just have to slowly chip away at teaching him that relaxed and slow is ok too.

On good news, we worked on picking up the canter over a teeeeeny crossrail last night...and he did great!

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 27, 2012, 01:19 PM
My current OTTB has only been restarted since mid Oct. Her canter transitions are not too bad and improving. It does just take some time.

One exercise I like is to work on the circle. Get a good trot. Do a smaller circle (maybe 15 meter) in the corner, then ask for the canter as you are finishing to smaller circle and heading back into the corner. Get a good canter (don't stay on the small circle for the canter), then trot, do another circle and ask again. etc. You just need to do a LOT of them. Use the wall heading into the turn to discouage the LEAP transition.

Also make sure you are asking quietly. Sometimes if you use too strong of an aid...you get the tense leap response. I've had a couple that responded better initially for the canter aid to be more off my seat than leg. Seemed odd for a race horse but it's what worked for them.

kasjordan
Jan. 27, 2012, 01:33 PM
Boy did we luck out- here's my 12 year old daughter on her 4 year old OTTB Gone West gelding. This is probably about her fifth ride ever on him and I'll say less than his 15th ride offtrack. Didn't catch the transition, but you can get the idea ;-) (Even if the video IS sideways! I don't know how to flip the darn thing!) He goes for 30 days with her trainer in march and they're hitting the hunters this spring....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2hsf3ZX208

Big_Grey_hunter
Jan. 27, 2012, 01:41 PM
Boy did we luck out- here's my 12 year old daughter on her 4 year old OTTB Gone West gelding. This is probably about her fifth ride ever on him and I'll say less than his 15th ride offtrack. Didn't catch the transition, but you can get the idea ;-) (Even if the video IS sideways! I don't know how to flip the darn thing!) He goes for 30 days with her trainer in march and they're hitting the hunters this spring....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2hsf3ZX208

My horse with the lovely canter is by Gone West too! It's such a lovely, smooth, quiet canter :)

Uno, The Great Escape
Jan. 27, 2012, 02:17 PM
Oh lord! I had the same problem.

With Uno I wanted to get our walk-canter-walk transitions down first because I was still competing in pleasure hunter u/s shows (gag me haha) so those were what the judge asked for nine times out of ten. It took us a full 5-6 months to get these, and only now (about two more years) are they consistently, 99.99% of the time, well, wonderful. We basically did a lot on the 20m circle, lots of finding the right balance between exploding and cantering in place.

As for our trot-canter transitions, those took much more patience. I actually stopped working on them, actually, and just did them when we were jumping. This seemed to help because I didn't over-think them like I like to do, and he was more willing to move forward freely but in a controlled manner. Recently they've been much better, and I've been doing a lot on the 20m circle.

I know this probably wasn't a ton of help, but that's what worked for us!

JER
Jan. 27, 2012, 03:15 PM
My other young mare is more explosive -- and more talented -- than her half-sister. She is more typical of her family: these mares do not accommodate rider requests in dressage.

Zizi is very sensitive and can be very reactive. She's usually last or second-to-last in dressage due to bucking fits and various metaphysical quandaries that occur when she's boxed in by white panels and random letters.

In her Novice dressage video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nMekBAvfAA), you can see Glenbaer setting her up for the canter transition with her outside leg at 3:21. With adequate advance warning, Zizi makes the transition with (for her) no fuss.

If you watch the rest of the video, you'll see that most of Zizi's transitions are rough. Her head goes up, her tail swishes, her ears protest, etc. Everyone was in agreement that the solution was more leg and more forward through the transitions, which can be a little unnerving on a tiny mare who is very reactive. It seems to be working -- last weekend at CHP, Zizi scored a 31 in dressage and went on to win her Novice division.

But again, I want to stress the time factor. Both of these mares were started at 2 (with long vacation breaks) and have been brought along slowly but steadily. They've hunted, done miles of trails, traveled all over the place. We've aimed for happy and healthy over precociousness, which is not always easy to do when everyone else on their young horses glides by looking so much more advanced in their training.

Renascence
Jan. 27, 2012, 03:38 PM
I found my ottb to be super sensitive to the outside leg sliding back for the canter cue, in a bad leaping way lol. Doing transitions at trot to walk over and over gets them learning to use their back end for a balanced transition. Also the S's or broken lines or shallow serpentines at trot teaches that balance and straighten them for the transition. These 2 excersizes will teach them to carry themself at the pace you decide instead of running on out of balance which will also make a bad canter transition.

Then something from hunterland I love...your legs ease into canter position (inside leg at girth outside leg back) then you apply more pressure from inside leg to move him over like the beginning of a leg yield, then you move him back in from the outside leg, and now horse is balanced and back end engaged for canter transition. Squeeze up into canter. I hope it helps you as much as it helps me!

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 27, 2012, 03:49 PM
One of the common problems many riders face is asking for a half halt, and moving forward to a cue without evaluating the response to the half halt. One of my instructors calls this "half halt going through?" another calls it "is he rideable". A poor transition is only caused by two things if the horse is assumed healthy and capable.
1. Incorrectly set up by the rider
2. Doesn't understand the exercise.

1 is the most common, and is usually caused by a hh asked for but hasn't been received by the horse as described above.
2 usually means the expectations haven't been clearly laid our for the horse so that the correct answer is the most obvious to him.

Increasing lateral response to the leg can help, working in a smaller space can help (like approaching the short side) bringing the trot down to a jog then asking quietly can help, visualizing a relaxed transition (so you aren't tensing with anticipation) helps, spiral out at the trot into canter, then back down to trot a half circle later helps.

Dissect the issue and get to the root problem for this horse.

wildlifer
Jan. 27, 2012, 09:50 PM
Also make sure you are asking quietly. Sometimes if you use too strong of an aid...you get the tense leap response. I've had a couple that responded better initially for the canter aid to be more off my seat than leg. Seemed odd for a race horse but it's what worked for them.

So many great responses here, I'm going to have to print another page! But you definitely hit the mark there, BFNE -- my older guy is an Appendix who is a PUSH ride in the dressage arena, so I am sure I am saying CANTER!!!! when all this guy needs is a whisper.

We've started incorporating shallow bending S-lines, which he does well with. I think he really just doesn't GET what I want from the transition, as petstorejunkie correctly points out, so I'm hoping I can stick with the cross rail and pole and help him translate from there. He seems willing to comply and try but he is still at the stage where he's a bit confused by some things.

The hardest thing for me will be the mental challenge of just relaxing and chanting, it's ok, i don't care, it's ok, i don't care....and find the zen.

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 27, 2012, 10:29 PM
my older guy is an Appendix who is a PUSH ride in the dressage arena, so I am sure I am saying CANTER!!!! when all this guy needs is a whisper.

....and find the zen.
Try half halt, is he rideable?, think canter and breathe out... see what happens.
If you're used to a push horse, TB's are a whole different level of consciousness.

wildlifer
Jan. 28, 2012, 09:13 AM
That fascinating that you say that, pet, because just last night in our lesson, trainer suggested experimenting with breathing. Great minds? I am definitely going to try that. He sort of half halts sometimes. One of our current projects is no more rushing at trot.

Our trail buddy is broken so we haven't gotten out as much as usual and I am working hard to find new connections to drag out and get more trail miles with for strength.

wishnwell
Jan. 28, 2012, 10:00 AM
JER I love the narrated video! Thanks!

BoysNightOut
Jan. 28, 2012, 10:13 AM
Must say reading others experiences makes me feel a wee bit better my OTTB isn't the only one who has canter issues. :lol:

My guy's first time cantering including power-fast trotting, followed by giant leaps, followed by plowing down on the reins. Uh, I was glad my pro friend was riding then, lol.

What worked for us last summer was saving the canter for the end of the ride, and riding in the large outdoor. We also worked a lot on canter transitions on the lunge, sometimes with side reins. I would say after about 2 months, he finally started learning to use his butt. We did lots of trot-canter-trot transitions. When we came down to the trot from the canter, I made him come back to a nice, calm trot. In the beginning, cantering made him really excited so we kept it cantering brief.

He also is not a fan of the left lead canter. He would mostly fall on his inside shoulder. As his transition started to improve, and his balance got better as he got more muscle, we started incorporating large circles. By the end of summer, there was no more plowing down & leaping into the canter, although it still isn't quite there. But he was starting to finally get much more balanced, and we could work on the canter longer.

So for me...transitions helped a great deal. I'm looking forward to bringing him back to my friends farm this spring, and picking up where we left off. :)

Bogie
Jan. 28, 2012, 10:15 AM
Exactly what I do.


Wildlifer, the canter can take a bit of time to develop. What I've found to be really helpful is to pop over a pole to help them learn to canter without running. I actually don't canter my horses in the ring for months, and only canter out of the ring. Typically I pop over a log, stay off the back when they do canter on, then sit and press into the hand to establish strength/rhythm for a gradually longer amount of time. I find this helps them get the necessary strength to eventually have a normal canter depart.

wildlifer
Jan. 29, 2012, 09:09 AM
Must say reading others experiences makes me feel a wee bit better my OTTB isn't the only one who has canter issues. :lol:



This has also been a huge reassurance for me in this thread! I was beginning to feel like an incompetent ammie, even though I thought I had the right tools and ideas. This has really helped reassure me that I am NOT a complete idiot and we're heading in the right direction!

Today's schedule: hilly trail ride on a friend's farm to build that butt!! And maybe a little fun snuck in too, hee hee. The helmet cam is definitely coming out for a ride.

Renascence
Jan. 30, 2012, 10:55 AM
Wow I just watched a 1/2 hour videoed training session by Eeric Dierks for the Retired Racehorse Training Sessio. I suggest watching this! I believe I had forgot what a new ottb actually knows when I posted my advice. This video explains and illustrates issues and shows how to achieve success. There are some relaxed balanced canter transitions performed by the end of the 1/2 hour. Very clear trainer to emulate here.

Cameraine
Jan. 30, 2012, 01:40 PM
For me it was a matter of not being afraid to let go. For most of the three years I've had my OTTB mare she's been bratty about giving me the canter, the left lead in particular.

At a recent clinic with a new instructor he pointed out that I seemed afraid that she was going to take off with me. I was a little taken aback with that one but I went home and thought about it. Then I tried asking her for the canter and letting go(softening in to really loose rein) on the inside and softening with the outside. She gave me both leads consistently without getting bratty or super sonic trotting. She even gave me the canter when I wasn't asking, which she had never ever done before.

I'm not saying our transitions don't still need work, they do, they are still kinda ugly, but at least I'm getting the canter when I ask and she isn't pinning her ears or trying to buck with me(all things she's done in the past)as well as bolting in to the canter.

OTTB's are the best!

wildlifer
Jan. 30, 2012, 04:55 PM
oooo, thanks, Ren, I'm going to watch that video this evening!

wildlifer
Jan. 31, 2012, 07:06 PM
Just wanted to say....IT'S WORKING! I focused on staying very soft and quiet. Got the initial canter over our small xrail. Rode it into a nice relaxed rhtyhm. Came back to trot, let him stretch down and round. Then let out a deep breath, pressed with my leg just a teeeeeensy bit and he did only a couple quick trot steps and CANTER. No leaping! I caught him by surprise, hahah! Thanks for all your tips, I always have to be focused and on my A-game with this one -- when my brain shuts off, it doesn't go well!