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I1 breaking in canter

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  • I1 breaking in canter

    I had been looking for a schoolmaster (with my instructor) that would take me up the levels these past few months and I found one that was seemingly perfect when I tried him. He is an I1 Andalusian gelding who has just been imported. The thing is, he was only gelded a few months ago. When we tried him he was perfect around other horses so we didn’t think to ask about when he was gelded etc. Right when he came home to us a mare who has her paddock right behind his stall started lunging at him and being aggressive. He didn’t have an issue with other horses or riding until a few days later when the mare went into heat.. He has been acting like a stallion ever since and is hard to handle. These past few days he has been completely stopping after cantering a few strides or not even cantering when aids were given/starting to do a “passagy trot”. We thought it was just the saddle but we have gotten a new one for him that fits better now. Anyone know what’s going on with this cantering issue?

  • #2
    It's probably you. Try playing with your position and see what you get.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._


    • #3
      You are now afraid of this horse and are holding tension in your body.

      This "tension" results in you contracting and holding yourself erect.....which are actually the aids for collection...thus you are stopping him in canter and giving the aids for passage in trot.

      The horse is obviously well trained and is holding a mirror up to the rider....take it as a gift and learn from this.

      If the horse was good before, he will be good just need to up your horsemanship and learn to deal with stallion behavior.
      Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
      Alfred A. Montapert


      • #4
        You can always try the Vick's Vaporub trick - get some and put it under each nostril. He will not be able to smell the mare in heat, and when you know this, you will relax and just ride him.


        • #5
          Everything Pluvinel said is true.
          People tend to seize up when anticipating problems. Any tension in your seat will create a reaction in a sensitive, trained horse. Any asymmetrical tension will result in something sideways. Passage/hovering trots happen frequently when the horse is stuck between gears.

          Here are a few common boo-boos that cause negative spirals with schoolmasters:
          tight glutes become rubber balls between your seat and the horse. Relax your butt. I yell “MUSHY TUSHY” at my students when they are struggling with their schoolmasters (I have two with new schoolmasters right now)

          DO NOT push in and back with your heels. Stay on the inside of your legs, not the backsides. Use you calf inward, not backward.

          Another tidbit that may help you through this phase:
          When your horse starts doing something that you don’t want them to do, and you can’t get them to stop doing it… Start to go with it, actually try to create the thing they’re already doing. Usually, one of two things will happen. Either you will get in sync with your horse while they’re doing this wonderful thing, which then will give you a better start at figuring out how To get the hell out of that thing. Or… They will actually stop doing the thing because your aids are not really asking them to do the thing anyway.
          Either way you are ahead.

          Don't get mad at the horse, believe them. For sure, get somebody on that horse to keep their training intact while you were figuring all the stuff out. That is essential.


          • #6
            Agree with Equibrit and Pluvinel.I sympathize with you because I'm going through something similar right now. For me it's "upping my game" and fixing some very old, very bad habits. Tough lesson to swallow! Yes, horses who tell us when we're wrong are worth their weight in gold.

            Over time the stallion behavior should subside on its own. He will teach you much!

            Good post, Arlomine!
            Last edited by ThreeFigs; Jun. 10, 2019, 06:17 PM. Reason: To compliment Arlomine's post.


            • #7
              Take stock of how good he is today.

              Every time you do anything with him you are training him. Even if it is just throwing hay over the fence.

              Every time you do something with him he is a little bit better or a little bit worse.

              If he is a little bit better each time the horse you start with next week will be a different animal to the one today. You can continue.

              If he is a bit worse and a bit better, you will have about the same animal next week. You need to improve what you are doing.

              If he is a little bit worse each time, the horse you start with next week will be a different animal and you can see how fast things deteriorate so get professional help sooner rather than later.
              It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


              • #8
                Originally posted by DewiPony View Post
                He has been acting like a stallion ever since and is hard to handle. These past few days he has been completely stopping after cantering a few strides or not even cantering when aids were given/starting to do a “passagy trot”.
                It starts from the ground.

                I will suggest that you learn how to handle him more appropriately. Ideally, those who have to deal with him should also be taught.

                Hand walking, ground working, long lining, lunging, etc.
                He needs to be worked and conditioned properly to his regular level and you need to learn to handle and trust him.

                Your horse was probably behaving properly because he was handle carefully and appropriately.

                Lusi and PRE can act a lot, becoming quite impressive, but not doing anything much and easily contained if shown the handler has control.
                Don’t let him intimidate you that much.
                He actually shouldn’t be left intimidating anyone who has to manipulate him.

                We thought it was just the saddle but we have gotten a new one for him that fits better now. Anyone know what’s going on with this cantering issue?
                They are also quite sensitive and if the saddle was hurting in any way, he might still be apprehensive and anticipate the pain.

                Again, a good week off training from the ground might help you both overcome this.
                ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                Originally posted by LauraKY
                I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                HORSING mobile training app


                • #9
                  My later in life gelded PRE also shows a little more stallion behavior this time of year, but it's nothing that interesting. He lives next to mares and doesn't care about them, but does have a crush on a certain pony mare for whatever reason. It's natural for him to have these behaviors, but he needs to curb them when handled.

                  PRE's are sensitive creatures so saddle fit is definitely important. So it's good that you're paying attention to that. Don't be afraid to get multiple opinions.

                  Being that they are sensitive and can tend toward being tight backed, it's imperative that you are relaxed and not tensed at all. If you're asking for canter, and begin cantering but something, somewhere in your body is not allowing canter, they will for sure break from canter. It could be hips that don't follow, a tight back, a tense arm or hand, a tight leg, etc.

                  Interestingly enough a friend rode my PRE recently and he'd break from canter after a few strides for her, but she'd ask him to canter than do nothing. Her horse is very forward, mine is too, but he's also younger and attentive do he needs to be supported in the canter. You cannot just ask then throw your aids away. So make sure your leg is not tight, but it's still there, reinforcing the canter aid and that your body is too. He may be a school master, but make sure you aren't slipping into passenger mode.

                  These horses value their rider as their partner and like communication. They can take such subtle aids. But, they're also really smart and while they can have a hot appearance, some can be deceptively lazy. Or test their new rider. If you're doing everything correctly and you feel the canter begin to die, reinforce with a whip tap if he disregards your other aids to stay in the canter.

                  I cannot stress enough that these horses are sensitive and mine have taught me such body awareness. So really make a conscious effort there. It'll make you a better rider in the long run. Even from a green bean my PRE knew correct riding and wouldn't give me anything if I wasn't correct. They're smart.

                  Don't be afraid to do groundwork to form a relationship on the ground and in the saddle with your guy. IME they like that relationship, can be like dogs almost lol, enjoy mental stimulation, and it carries over into under saddle exercises.

                  Even though he is well trained, give yourself some time to get to know each other. You're probably a fine rider, but when a horse has been ridden by mostly pros (I don't know if this is the case) they really are well refined and our slight mistakes can become apparent.

                  Congrats on your new guy, and PRE's are just fabulous. I'm sure you'll have a blast once you get to know each other well. IME, it's a different type of relationship than with other horses. I'm not knocking other breeds and understand each horse is an individual, just my experience.

                  Also, the previous poster has a point that they can put on a show, but are controllable. You just have to stick with what you want as they can be stubborn but they give in fairly quickly if you're firm but fair (like most horses). I know my gelding could intimidate, but I just roll my eyes and insist, then he's fine. Characters they are.


                  • #10
                    Have you videoed yourself? Our bodies are phenomenal liars. They tell us "you're even" or "you're relaxed" when the outside perspective shows a hand that is dropping or a tense lower back. It can also put the horse's behavior into perspective. Having that objective outside look at a head toss or a break in gait can help make that connection about how isolating an area of tension or imbalance impacts their movement.


                    • #11
                      Everything CanteringCarrot said...Keep in mind that very few horses are gelded in Spain; the barns are full of stallions. They are all expected to behave. A simple whistle or cluck will get them to pay attention in a "Yes, ma'am" kind of way. So, if your guy is misbehaving, he probably has your number someway.

                      My PRE was gelded at 13 and imported after 12 weeks of healing. He certainly knew when he could take advantage, and it took me months to form a partnership. He only behaved stallion-ish one time, and that's when the mare he lived next to came into the arena. He loved her.

                      But they are so smart. They know if you are not "in charge". You've gotten great advice, and hope you grow to love your boy like I did. Do make sure the saddle fits. That is key, too.


                      • #12
                        Oh yes, whistling. They use that as a command in Spain and when I got my first PRE someone told me about the whistle. Sure enough I whistled while on the longe line and he stopped dead in his tracks. One time the radio whistled during an advertisement and he broke from the trot into walk and was like...wait, what? Just something to note for your ground work and other adventures. They are also very strict in Spain so the horses know and will respect firm boundaries if handled correctly.


                        • #13
                          Where is your instructor while all the under saddle stuff is going on? To an instructor all of the above observations should be obvious.
                          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
                            Have you videoed yourself? Our bodies are phenomenal liars. They tell us "you're even" or "you're relaxed" when the outside perspective shows a hand that is dropping or a tense lower back. It can also put the horse's behavior into perspective. Having that objective outside look at a head toss or a break in gait can help make that connection about how isolating an area of tension or imbalance impacts their movement.
                            This. When we get defensive, we think we are doing one thing but are doing something completely different. Blocking with the hand or even pulling back, all without realizing it.

                            And ground work. You are the boss and he has to realize it.

                            I've worked through some tension (to say the least) issues with my guy since last August when he dumped me and we are in a much better place. I'm still dealing with canter transitions, he's green and still not confirmed but we are getting there.


                            • #15
                              Arlomine - Mushy Tushy!! OMG I love it. I have been struggling for months with my mare... she is not a SM but a track broke OTTB. However, she’s the pickiest damn horse I’ve ever sat on.
                              Ever since I read your above comment and put it into practice things are so much better.
                              Got any more????


                              • #16
                                obsidian fire, what are you strong points with this mare, and what are the weakest areas?


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Arlomine View Post
                                  obsidian fire, what are you strong points with this mare, and what are the weakest areas?
                                  I’m not sure I can summarize very well. We have a good walk. She’s a very quiet mare and she listens well and really wants to please me. When things are quiet and I (finally) get her connected things flow like soft butter - even things she “shouldn’t” already know.
                                  Her canter is to die for (she IS a TB after all, LOL). She stretches well at canter and walk. Trot too but takes more thinking on both our parts.
                                  Her down transitions are quite good without a lot of input from me!
                                  The weak points: the walk to trot transition has been a head throwing ear pinning jiggy-joggy b!tch. The trot to canter was always better but improved vastly when I realized I needed to be more committed to the forward. Once she trusted I was serious about it, it got much better. But trot did not. I tried a number of different ideas including carrying my whip. If I gave her completely loose reins it was better but sort of defeats the purpose. It wasn’t until I read your comment about “mushy tushy” and tried it that I realized I would tell her go but the ONE THING telling her stop was my butt! It was like the last piece of a puzzle. I worked on those today and once she realized I was not going to stop with my seat, I got transition after transition with her neck down, a good connection, and through the back. And no ear pinning, stopping, jigging. The way I’ve been *trying* to school all along!!

                                  Does that answer your question?


                                  • #18
                                    The fact that a mare is responding to this "gelding" sounds alarm bells to me. I bought a "gelding" at 2.5, and he was run into a fence by a late-gelded horse he was turned out with. My horse started being really difficult to control a few months before he turned 3. I was worried that I'd overhorsed myself as he was getting more aggressive and uncontrollable. Well, we moved to a new barn that had broodmares, and suddenly he was arching his neck, doing the passage trot, etc. and a lightbulb went on, that I had a stallion on my hands. Brought him to the vet, they did a testosterone test, and sure enough, he had about 10X the testosterone of a normal stallion! Turns out the dishonest person I'd bought him from had managed to talk a vet into taking his one descended testicle. He got cryptorchid surgery, and 7 days later - perfectly behaved gelding.

                                    SO. If this continues, it might be worthwhile to get the testosterone testing done, to make sure.