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  1. #1
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    Default Cantering a driving horse undersaddle

    I'm exercising two driving horses for a month. They are 8 and 9, both ride and drive. I don't drive, so I'm riding them only. Their owner has told me not to canter them undersaddle but didn't give a reason. Both are lovely horses and very sound. Both are reasonably fit. Any ideas why she dosen't want them cantered? I'd contact her to ask, but she's on a game drive vacation.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    Haven't got a scoobie!

    You should have asked the owner why not wait till she's gone and then ask a bulletin board.



  3. #3
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    Could be she is a total Pleasure driver, and she just doesn't want them ever asking to canter ridden or driven. As a kid growing up, I never saw or asked for a canter with any Driving horse. You quickly pulled them up if you got any canter steps. Canter was "Not a driving horse gait" EVER.

    The only canter/galloping done with a vehicle was in the movies or Chuck Wagon races. You were running for money or escaping the bad guys! No other reason was good enough to allow a nice driving horse to canter.

    Quite a bit after childhood, we got into Driving again, because the small children could ride along. It edged over into CDE after I discovered it. Back then there were huge reasons for and against, letting horses canter in parts of the competitions. We competed at a farm which had a "no canter" rule for their CDE, and it eliminated like 5 of the top drivers who had not read their local rules section. Owner was a firm Pleasure driver who let us use the farm for CDE, but didn't like how it was going into the Crash and Burn, Racing the horses, kind of driving. Keeping things at a trot was kinder to horses in her belief.

    We got more experienced in driving and decided that a competitive horse is going to slip into a canter now and again. It happens on downhill, pushing for extensions. Better to train the horse to canter while under optimum conditions, learn the feel of shafts or pole, harness, pull of vehicle, get comfortable with it. No big shock when it happens by accident, competitive conditions, excitement escalating into a run-away.

    Since ours all ride as well as drive, it was easy to set them up for cantering, just use the same vocals when driving. I think cantering in harness, under control, is part of their education as well-trained animals. Other drivers DO NOT feel the same, never canter when driving.

    Different vehicles can REALLY change when driven at the canter. Marathon types do the best, with proper weight over the back end. Some Pleasure vehicles are unsafe to use with only a driver aboard, antiques are high on that list. Our Slat-Sided Phaeton will skitter sideways, jack-knifing in the rear with no groom aboard, too light behind. Not made for cantering horses back then, roads were not good, you didn't canter when driving. The modern Trap is extremely wide, Advanced width, travels straight as an arrow, groom or not behind, when horses canter with it. I don't think I EVEN want to try the old Roof Seat Break, again narrow and tall!!

    I guess when you are hired, you do what you are told, keep the customer happy. I don't know if I would want folks cantering or galloping my horses when I wasn't home either. I have them the way I like them, which is not real consistant with how other riders signal their horses or ride them. Just the way WE use them here.



  4. #4
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    I've always cantered my driving horses. As did my mother who was most definitely a purist Privater Driving sort.

    Furthermore there's absolutely no reason not to canter a driving horse and aside from that if its a ride and drive, then when its ridden, its a riding horse and there's no reason why you wouldn't canter or gallop it.

    Heck I hunt a lot of my ride and drives!



  5. #5
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    Lots of driving horses are punished or checked hard for breaking their hitching gait (strong trot). This is especially true of drafts, particularly working/farm drafts.

    If the lady has previously had trouble with one (or both) of them breaking gait in harness, she may be concerned about them getting mixed messages.

    Would you be asking this question if they were on-the-track standardbreds? You definitely wouldn't want to promote a racing STB to break gait, it would totally contradict their training.

    I would guess it is the same idea here.

    CDE is a lot different than your standard definition of "driving".



  6. #6
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    What a load of baloney!

    You train a horse to ride or drive at the pace and direction you want and to transition up and down according to the aids.

    I've driven CDE and pleasure all my life and it makes absolutely no difference if you canter or gallop a horse under saddle. A horse should be driven and ridden, and the driver/rider should not be taken for a drive or ride!



  7. #7
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    Not being an expert whatsoever (that's my preface)...it seems like cantering a driving horse would make for a super well rounded animal. I used to swim distance races in college but used sprinting, and every stroke known to condition and improve my free stroke. Sure, not the same animal, but when conditioning an athlete, seems to me the body works quite the same way.

    Not to mention I think horses are highly intelligent and ya ask for a trot, you get a trot....ask for a canter you get a canter. . AT least when you train them that way!



  8. #8
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    Yes, the only reason I can see for not cantering a horse under saddle that also drives is if the driver is such a poor driver that they can't control their horse. In which case the driver should learn to drive better.

    All of the horses I work canter under saddle as well as drive. All of them can also be asked to canter in long lines and several of them canter just as well in the cart on cue as they do under saddle. The ones that know how to canter in harness are not any more likely to break than then ones that we don't canter in harness. The horses I am dealing with are primarily Saddlebred show horses.



  9. #9
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    You train a horse to ride or drive at the pace and direction you want and to transition up and down according to the aids.
    Glad your horses came perfectly trained, some of the rest of us have issues to work through from time to time.

    Did you read anywhere "never canter a driving horse"? I certainly did not state that, but I did write down what is a very common practice in the work-driving world. I also indicated a common problem that many drivers have (breaking gait) that may be the reason behind this particular person's request that these particular horses not be cantered.

    I'm glad that you round out your driving animals, if someone had bothered doing that with my Clydesdale, she wouldn't have had the problems she had getting the canter under saddle (no, she wasn't just pokey, she was AFRAID to canter). These two horses are NOT necessarily under that kind of training regime, and it is NOT up to the OP to change the horse's training program, whether she agrees with it or not.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_1 View Post
    Haven't got a scoobie!

    You should have asked the owner why not wait till she's gone and then ask a bulletin board.
    I did try to ask her. She flew out over a day early without telling anyone. I'm not very happy with her right now TBH.

    Thanks everyone else for the detailed answers. I don't know that much about driving, hence why I asked on here. I don't want to spoil her horses.

    She mainly drives for fun, on the local lanes. Both horses are cobby types. I'd have thought that a canter undersaddle would play a part in getting/keeping them fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by rugbygirl View Post
    I'm glad that you round out your driving animals, if someone had bothered doing that with my Clydesdale, she wouldn't have had the problems she had getting the canter under saddle (no, she wasn't just pokey, she was AFRAID to canter). These two horses are NOT necessarily under that kind of training regime, and it is NOT up to the OP to change the horse's training program, whether she agrees with it or not.
    Ooh, no. I'm not going to change the training program. Not something I'd do. Mainly, I was curious to reasons why she'd leave instructions like that.
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  11. #11
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    Yes, the only reason I can see for not cantering a horse under saddle that also drives is if the driver is such a poor driver that they can't control their horse. In which case the driver should learn to drive better.
    Thousands of standardbred trainers would disagree.



  12. #12
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    I always train my horses and customers horses to canter in harness. I strongly believe if you don't, there training in not complete. Plus it's not a hard thing to teach/train, canter is a very soft gait for a horse.

    The ladies reason could be many. From the horses level of training, to your level of training, no offence. Your best advice is follow the owners request and when she gets home, ask her.
    Good luck.
    Robert
    Tandem Hill Farm
    www.tandemhillfarm.com



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandem4u View Post
    I always train my horses and customers horses to canter in harness. I strongly believe if you don't, there training in not complete. Plus it's not a hard thing to teach/train, canter is a very soft gait for a horse.

    The ladies reason could be many. From the horses level of training, to your level of training, no offence. Your best advice is follow the owners request and when she gets home, ask her.
    Good luck.
    Robert
    Tandem Hill Farm
    www.tandemhillfarm.com
    Like I said, driving isn't my thing. I'm a experienced rider (nothing like blowing my own trumpet, huh? ). I will ask her when she comes back. Just wondering why, really.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugbygirl View Post
    Glad your horses came perfectly trained, some of the rest of us have issues to work through from time to time. .
    erm.....or is it duhhhhhh I train my own horses! They don't come ready made!

    Did you read anywhere "never canter a driving horse"?
    No and I'm an advanced light harness horse instructor.

    I'm glad that you round out your driving animals,
    You make it sound like some sort of accident! Or else something you do if you have time. I work on the principle that if you don't have time and can't train then you don't drive.

    These two horses are NOT necessarily under that kind of training regime, and it is NOT up to the OP to change the horse's training program, whether she agrees with it or not
    Never said it was. Heck the instruction not to canter might be because they've just come out of box rest and are to be brought back to fitness slowly.

    We'll never know though because we're not the owners

    As a driving trainer of horses and people I can confirm though that there's no reason not to canter a horse under a saddle because its a driving horse



  15. #15
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    You make it sound like some sort of accident! Or else something you do if you have time. I work on the principle that if you don't have time and can't train then you don't drive.
    That's super, but there is a school of training (I'd be very surprised if you didn't know this) that says "you don't canter a working draft".

    It's fine if you're just being contrary, and I respect the idea that you should be able to drive in all gaits, but I am bringing up a possible school of thought (that exists!! Really!!) that may have led to these particular instructions. Where I am from, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to be told not to canter a working draft. Or cob, as is the case here.

    I don't agree with that idea, nor do I agree with spreading hooves via Scotch bottoms, padding young horses to get better action, docking tails for "tradition", overcheck bits and cranked martingales...but those are realities too.

    For perspective, I have spent the last year training my Clydesdale that it is OKAY TO CANTER. She is a lovely ride, with a fabulous canter, but she couldn't bring herself to do it until a few months ago.
    Last edited by rugbygirl; Aug. 28, 2008 at 08:29 PM. Reason: For perspective



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugbygirl View Post
    Thousands of standardbred trainers would disagree.
    Is the OP asking about Standardbred race training? No, and race training has little to nothing to do with riding/driving of any sort for any breed. And I would venture to guess that a good Standardbred race trainer/driver could just as well handle a horse that knew how to canter under saddle as one that didn't. Heck, the crappy race trainers will just add more gear (hopples, head poles, bit burrs, stronger bits, etc.) to compensate for their lack of ability.



  17. #17
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    No, and race training has little to nothing to do with riding/driving of any sort for any breed.
    Kinda like how breed-specific show driving has little to nothing to do with everyday/work driving for plow horse breeds.

    There aren't many absolutes in the horse world. I offered a potential (feasible!!) explanation for the instructions.

    The OP was not asking if COTHers thought the instructions were stupid.



  18. #18
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    ^ She wasn't. Neither did she say these were working drafts or plough horses and neither did she want to know about scotch bottoms and clydesdales but heck we got all that!

    I call it advice by guesswork!



  19. #19
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    Just like we got to learn that you train your own horses, people, do CDE and pleasure driving (your whole life)

    I'll stick to the draft threads from now on.



  20. #20
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    To add, I worked for a commercial carriage company in high school, we had Belgians, Percherons, and Quarter Horse/Draft crosses that were used on vis-a-vises and trollies for parades, weddings, hay rides, sleigh rides, etc. When they had off days we rode them and CANTERED them and never had them bolt off, or even break into the canter that I can recall, in harness because they had been cantered under saddle.



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