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Canter in warm up of lower level horse?

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  • Canter in warm up of lower level horse?

    I do not call myself an "advanced" horse owner by any means. Let that be my disclaimer

    I remember reading something about the canter being used in the warm up routine a few years ago. They were discussing upper level horses and I remember there being a lot of different opinions.

    Personally, it really seems to loosen up my horse. This doesn't mean I'm cantering away from the mounting block by any means, though.

    What's your opinion?
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" -Winston Churchill

  • #2
    A lot of horses relax and settle after a good canter. I rode one old guy for a while who needed a hand gallop in each direction before he'd feel sound.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by quietann View Post
      A lot of horses relax and settle after a good canter. I rode one old guy for a while who needed a hand gallop in each direction before he'd feel sound.
      Do you think age could be a factor? My horse is 8, but I think he's a little gymnast! It really did help. Do you know why some people have such a strong opinion about it? Isn't trot harder than canter, anyway?
      "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" -Winston Churchill


      • #4
        I recently read notes from a clinic (was it the Steffen Peters one in TX, if anyone was there?) in which the clinician advocated warming up in whatever is the horse's best gait. So if your horse has a better canter than trot, it may well be advantageous to warm up in canter. I don't think it's necessarily an age thing, but have known multiple horses for whom canter warmup seemed best.
        Originally posted by Silverbridge
        If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by netg View Post
          I recently read notes from a clinic (was it the Steffen Peters one in TX, if anyone was there?) in which the clinician advocated warming up in whatever is the horse's best gait. So if your horse has a better canter than trot, it may well be advantageous to warm up in canter. I don't think it's necessarily an age thing, but have known multiple horses for whom canter warmup seemed best.
          Good to know! The canter is definitely his best gait, so we're going to keep this up! Thanks for your input.
          "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" -Winston Churchill


          • #6
            I don't think there is anything wrong with it, especially since your horse is happier afterwards. My guy likes to have a BRISK canter on colder days to get our blood flowing, haha! I mean, many horses stand in a stall for hours and then get turned out and go cantering around for 15 minutes right off the bat, so I can't imagine a few laps in warm-up can be all that bad.


            • #7
              I have an older horse with arthritis, she also has some back issues. I compete her 3rd, hoping to move up to 4th this year. The vet told me the best gaits to warm her up at are the walk and canter. I do about 10 minutes of very forward walking and go straight to canter. Even after the warm up, I do our canter work first and the trot work last. I get a much better quality.

              Warm-up's really have to be tailored to the individual horse. You want it efficient enough to get the horse ready for work but not so long that he is tired.


              • #8
                As my permanently lower-level horse has aged (21 now), I have found that she feels physically better and seems mentally happier if our warmup consists of some really good walk work followed by a relaxed but very forward canter. Her trot has generally been her strongest gait, so in her case, I think it is related to age and arthritis.

                She is happy, even eager, to work, and is as sound as ever, so I am happy to comply with her warmup preferences!
                Equinox Equine Massage

                In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                -Albert Camus


                • #9
                  I'm similar to Liz -- my 16 yr old gets 10-15 mins of walking, then a good amount of cantering (best gait by far), before any trot work.


                  • #10
                    Comes down to the individual horse AND how and where that horse is in his training.

                    My 7 year old used to need to canter to get warmed up. Now I'm finding that I can ride him walk/trot/halt transitions and use the canter later.

                    There simply is no right or wrong.
                    I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.