View Full Version : Collected trot turned canter?

May. 8, 2012, 03:44 PM
If I am collecting the trot and then getting collected canter when I ask for bend what is happening?

May. 8, 2012, 03:50 PM
Are you asking for collected canter or is the horse breaking?

May. 8, 2012, 03:56 PM
No just asking for a bend. Its not tense and is a really nice canter (her stronger gait) and then I ask her forward out of collection because she trys to almost do it on the spot to match the shorter trot strides (not funny but its cute until I cant stop it).

So we gor into more of a working canter to working trot to collected then ask for a bend and canter again!

May. 8, 2012, 03:58 PM
Ok also I have been told try si to avoid this but a horse just learning baby steps of collection isnt doing it with si too much at once? Or shoukd I start si let her take some collected steps within si?

May. 8, 2012, 04:37 PM
Shoulder in is definitely worth a try. You don't have to do too much angle-just position her in a slight shoulder fore/in and you can increase the angle as needed. This way you can safely push the horse forward more forcefully without her getting fast and running. I did a clinic with Debbie McDonald, and she had most of the riders do this at some point.

When you are starting collection, I find it helpful to do it like weight lifting-collect for a few strides and then swing forward, collect and then swing forward. Keep the feeling of the more forward gait in the collection and the feeling of the collection (engagement) in the more forward gait. This makes it so you aren't putting too much pressure for too long (like resting between sets while weight lfting), and you keep the forward energy in collection, which is absolutely important.

When you ask for more bend, you are making the exercise harder because the horse has to bring the hindlegs closer together. Just something to be aware of.

May. 8, 2012, 04:45 PM
This is exactly what I was thinking :) so glad I am not completely crazy in my thoughts.

I will try slight shoulder fore with forward and back reps as you have said but if I am asking collection I have not tried any shoulder in at the same time. Kinda just cheated with straight and super focused on my hanches swinging in as they want to sometimes do at trot.

I think If I just think slight shoulder in it will help me not to feel like Im asking too much.

We ONLY do a few steps at a time and then go forward immediately.

Canter she always offers all kinds of things so we do lots of long rein work as short is easy there... Not correct short mind you, but its getting there.

Im getting this feeling that collected trot may be the hardest for her to remain supple in and control.

May. 8, 2012, 11:01 PM
If I am collecting the trot and then getting collected canter when I ask for bend what is happening?

The key is your hips. To me it sounds you are riding with your lower leg. You ask for bend in collection and that is canter to your horse. Moving outside leg is canter to your horse, no? It sounds that right now you would have difficulty riding shoulder in to travers to shoulder in in trot without breaking to canter. Try to teach your horse to understand trot and canter from your hips, and thighs as well as your lower leg. ANd an effective outside rein. Your horse will understand when he is supposed to trot and bend and move forehand and haunches, and when he is supposed to canter out of a trot movement. More than all, be very patient and do not punish him. Know he is confused and eager. Keep that eagerness.

May. 8, 2012, 11:48 PM
Keep the trot rhythm in your hips. And it can help to count the trot rhythm in your head whenever a horse is confused about whether you are asking for more of something in the trot vs asking for canter.

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May. 9, 2012, 09:03 AM
HOW are you asking for bend? And for what reason (i.e. starting si or a volte or ???)

Sounds like too much inside rein and/or leg is putting the horse's outside shoulder out so it looses balance and canters. Outside rein maintains tempo and governs the gait, so keep the outside connection (or hh).

If you are taking about maintaining flexion (i.e. seeing the inside eyelashes) then just keep the inside rein a smidge raised (and keep your outside elbow steady).

I think you are mixing up the idea of collection and amplitude, and that you might be holding too much so the horse just departs to regain balance.

May. 9, 2012, 09:10 AM
When you are asking for bend...are you applying a little too much outside leg....just a thought.

May. 9, 2012, 10:26 AM
Yes to above.

The hips are tense or something because they are sore (mine) so i know that i need work there.

The inside leg when applied for bend was what started the canter BUT

The Shoulder in to travers showed me my travers is easy but she did NOT want to shoulder easily at the more collected trot so i am gonna steady it up in reg working trot for now before we approach this again and see if that resolves as well as work on the seat issue...

My shoulder in to the left is really a struggle with added collection if you wanna spout some ideas :D

May. 9, 2012, 10:45 AM
Sometimes really little things make a big difference...what are your shoulders doing....chin between ears...eyes up and looking forward in direction of travel...and everything that Yoda said...of course.

May. 9, 2012, 10:55 AM
Are you sure that your collected trot is truly a collected trot and not just a shortened trot that is lacking impulsion? It's a common problem.

May. 9, 2012, 10:56 AM
Well Im like a little kid with all her things in her hands so she drops some to try the new toy. Lol

Ive lost a bunch of stuff in a few short days and my focus is too tunnel vision...

I went back to big forward gaits asking for straight straight straight for now.

Im going to work on my seat in a lesson soon I hope just a lesson on seat alone which I never do.

Then after Im straightned out Im going to try to get my shoulder fore better before we try the collected gait again..

May. 9, 2012, 11:02 AM
Are you sure that your collected trot is truly a collected trot and not just a shortened trot that is lacking impulsion? It's a common problem.

We only do a few steps right now and I watch out for jog steps. I have not had a problem with lack of impulsion as much as lots of breaks to make sure we stay relaxed.

The cantering was a sign i felt of her being eager but i also feel there is some crookedness too... The travers to shoulder fore showed me I could not do it with even the slightest bit of collection.

I dont plan on doing this every ride. I planned on doing steps here and there to make it seem like no big deal.

It showed me what I need to work on for sure :)

May. 9, 2012, 11:30 AM
What beckzert said. One of my horses does this very thing as an evasion. Your horse is evading the extra work for the inside hind in collected trot by pushing off into canter from the outside hind. Also, make sure to keep your weight over the middle of the horse when turning or bending to avoid over-weighting the inside hind in the collected trot.

May. 9, 2012, 01:22 PM
It may also be a case of expecting too much of yourself and your horse too soon. Just give the horse the idea of the movement, reward for any effort offered, and gradually ask for more collection, more bend, more crossover, etc. as the horse gets stronger and better understands what you want.

May. 9, 2012, 01:37 PM
The inside leg when applied for bend was what started the canter....I am mixed up about you aids. One rides routinely with inside leg closer to the girth and outside leg stretched down and back (passively). The inside leg is only used to 'fluff up' the energy, or stirrup stepping to start a figure. It is not 'applied for bend' but for energy.

The Shoulder in to travers .... That is an exercises that is not usually done. si to volte to travers; or si to hp; or si/straight/travers.

My shoulder in to the left is really a struggle with added collection if you wanna spout some ideas :D Shoulder in, because of the axial rotation, is what GIVES the horse collection (collection being amplitude of stride through greater flexion of the hind leg joints). So I don't understand your idea/wording??

May. 9, 2012, 03:31 PM
I do use my inside leg for more bend and I also use it for more energy.I do use shoulder fore as a movement rather than consider all collection shoulder fore. I know the "position" is always shoulders in front but I still see a distinction between that and the movement.

I realize others do not but its how I was trained.

May. 9, 2012, 03:37 PM
It may also be a case of expecting too much of yourself and your horse too soon. Just give the horse the idea of the movement, reward for any effort offered, and gradually ask for more collection, more bend, more crossover, etc. as the horse gets stronger and better understands what you want.

I feel like the few steps are fine. What I feel though is that she is eager but my own definition is not clear and her eager to please attitude is showing clearly my issues .

I may be altogether asking for collected canter in her mind since it is new lol

I will say this. She is the first horse Ive owned to offer something else lovely rather than just simply refuse lol

Have no fear we mostly stick to what we know :D but the connection is there and she is doing wonderful half halts so I was advised to play with it as it will strengthen her lengthening and mediums.

Her strength is in the shorter game...

I am going to have to relearn so much as my previous horses were stronger in longer work.

May. 9, 2012, 03:40 PM
It could be that your hips are locked. A good exercise to make sure your hips are "behaving" is to work on transitions from canter into a shallow shoulder fore position in the trot. If the horse gets smaller and smaller in the canter without transitioning to trot, your hips are too tight. It's a much harder exercise than it sounds like but very helpful. ;) For a horse that is further in it's training, you can go from canter to trot shoulder-in.

May. 9, 2012, 03:49 PM
Thank you I will try that!

I know the hips are a problem because after someone brought it up before I remembered how sore they have been off and on for a couple of weeks... Never really thought about it but could be im gripping or some such crazyness!

So dont half halt with my thighs then? Lol jk

I hate when I pick up new bad habits! I just fixed my legs and got myself rolled onto my seat bones better now this grrrr!

May. 9, 2012, 03:58 PM
Reading through, I'm also thinking that the canter may be coming because you are artificially shortening the stride and then actually cuing with your legs.

The bend (if I can explain this correctly) should be coming because you have turned your hips and shoulders onto the line of travel - this automatically places the inside leg at the girth, outside leg stretches back and down...but you should not be doing your legs or reins to pull or push the horse into bend or a circle/volte. You can bump up the energy level of the hind with your lower leg - but ideally the seat keeps the rhythm.

I personally would not be schooling collected trot steps if the horse doesn't have a good shoulder-in. I would be playing with the collected stuff by developing the longitudinal strengths by doing great trot/halts (where the LS joint is flexing) and by doing the lateral work to develop the greater articulation of the joints. This more than anything will help the lengthenings and mediums. A great exercise is SI for a few steps and then straighten and ask for lengthening across the diagonal. Works because you have the joint articulation and the balance (hopefully) is up in front and carrying behind.

You can also do in-hand work to introduce the idea of the horse stepping under. If you school collected trot prematurely (even though the horse has a great half-halt) you risk shortening the top line or teaching the horse to slow the rhythm or lose cadence.

May. 9, 2012, 04:48 PM
I dont have an si problem unless I mess with collection.

But I never thought not to ask for bend but rely on simple position that is something new. Hmmmm

I do both with the inside. Now I do do the si to straight to lengthening fine... But was reco'd to start collected steps to make them more well more lol

May. 9, 2012, 04:57 PM
"I dont have an si problem unless I mess with collection" I don't understand this. Si/t/r ARE in and of themselves collectING. These exercises, and smaller figures cause/allow axial rotation/increase the folding of all the hind leg joints into higher/articualated strides. I do not understand what else you are looking for. Sustain the energy, do the exercises, reap the benefits.

Meanwhile, do work in hand to start piaffe reactions (walk/halt/walk, etc) and start steps here as well.

May. 9, 2012, 05:11 PM
I dont have an si problem unless I mess with collection.

A bit of a red flag to me as well.... SI = a collecting exercise. Tempo, rhythm, cadence...all of that should be the same in SI (actually you probably want better cadence)...but the joints fold more and balance shifts back. It should feel like an airplane taking off if the horse is meeting those requirements and is not just neck bending or popping a shoulder - THAT is the collection.

You don't do the collection to make the movements better - you ask more in the movements to make the balance shift and the articulation better. Then the horse develops the balance and the carrying power to give more expression and to have better balance in the movements where the frame is lengthened.

My guess would also be that the horse is breaking into canter because the chest is down and the balance is dropped in front...get the balance up and open in front and then the horse can sustain the added compression of the joints.

What are you personally looking for/have been told to look for in the collected trot? I wonder because this may be a key in how you're asking and the reaction you are getting.

May. 9, 2012, 05:22 PM
It is opposite to most of that. She will almost canter in place and very much uphill.

She will swing the hind quarters if I try to ask for a shoulder in right after.

After we return to normal gaits she will give me lovely shoulder in but its with her a little more on the forhand and longer rein.

I have lots of responses that are helpful and things to work on.

May. 9, 2012, 10:48 PM
That is an exercises that is not usually done. si to volte to travers; or si to hp; or si/straight/travers.

Strange. It is done frequently in my experience. It schools the aids.

May. 11, 2012, 09:29 AM
The breaking into canter, the cantering almost on the spot, the swinging of the hindquarter are all signs of tension and failure of the collection.

Like ideayoda and redfox I think you do have a problem with the shoulder-in because shoulder-in helps with collection. The simple act of doing it creates better rhythm, engagement, self carriage and the balance that allows collection. You don't get collection without the shoulder-in getting better and easier a step ahead of the collection.

Shoulder-in is almost an "aid" for collection in itself

Eg. - volte, few strides shoulder-in and straighten INTO collection. Before the horse becomes tense again volte, shoulder in and straighten into release and lengthening the neck. Over and over until the thought of shoulder-in creates more collection in the horse which then happily lengthens the neck into soft trot and then comes back up into shoulder-in and collection again.

May. 11, 2012, 10:39 AM
Thank you bats i will for sure try that.

I have checked to make sure that the collected steps are there but Im not asking for MORE yet because thats when I lose the hind quarters.

I was doing shoulder in center line to straight then to leg yeid to the wall then a few steps of collection, but I am going to JUST do the shoulder in to straight to leg yeild to shoulder in again next time to see if it is correct first.

But I will be also trying what you suggested as well when we are ready to approach it all again.

My shoer told me yesterday she grew really fast and was a little longer than normal (she has some good sized feet that will flare out if we dont keep on top of them) and I am thinking that could have added to all of it.

I am off to fix my shoulder in and hips!

May. 11, 2012, 03:35 PM
The basic problem is that your horse is not in the right rein yet, and her crookedness is compounded by your own. As you attempt to collect, your horse's outside shoulder (right shoulder) is not coming up high enough and your horse's outside hind (right hind) is not coming far enough under. You have a tendency to drop your left shoulder forward...more than your right shoulder. When you are asking your horse to move in a longer stride from the shorter stride within the collection, you relax your shoulder slightly. However, within the crookedness, the relaxing of the shoulders brings your left shoulder too far forward. My guess is that your left hand is also rotating slightly inward rather than staying upright.

What happens is that you never have the proper connection with the horse's right side, and as you relax your shoulder to go into the longer stride, your inside shoulder (left) leads your right shoulder, and this is the position for canter. I think if you will pay attention to your hand position, you will find that your left hand goes slightly ahead of the right (outside) hand at the moment of transition, causing the release of the horse's inside shoulder, i.e canter position.

Because the horse is not properly bent to the left, you need to bend your upper torso slightly more toward your left side. Pay attention that you keep your left shoulder blade closer to the spine, and when you relax your shoulders for that longer stride, don't let your left shoulder drop forward and away from your spine by so much. In addition, it might also help you to lift your right rein slightly in order to block the horse's right shoulder, which will maintain your contact with that side. Work with your whip on the right side to encourage the horse's right hind to move forward and under better.

The degree of change in lateral bend needed between collection and extension in trot as opposed to canter is very small. The trot needs the weight on the inside stirrup, but just slightly less in extension than collection. The canter needs weight on the outside stirrup. The more you rotate your torso toward the inside, the greater the weight on the inside stirrup. The more your torso does not rotate properly, the greater the weight stays on the outside stirrup...even if the horse's outside hind is dragging behind.

Shoulder-in, if it is not done with enough longitudinal bend is just an on-the-forehand mess. I suggest you work within a longer rein in just getting the horse to respond before you shorten the reins again, and try for shoulder-in. The horse needs to be able to be pushed by your seat into the longer contact first. Then, you can slightly shorten the reins and begin the process again of pushing the horse up, up, up with your seat, into the greater longitudinal bend needed. Keep that right hind coming through.

May. 11, 2012, 04:17 PM
Find a good coach. There's nothing better than a good set of eyes on the ground to see what's wrong and a great trainer brain to tell you how to fix it.