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Long Lining Ex-Racer TB - now starting dressage (canter issues) (semi-long post)

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  • Long Lining Ex-Racer TB - now starting dressage (canter issues) (semi-long post)

    Hello,

    I just bought another horse - we can never get enough can we - he is an ex-racer, TB, 12 yrs, with an amazing ability for dressage and the mind to match.

    I have started long lining him in the round pen with a surcingle and lines attached mid shoulder on both sides. The inside line going along his body, through the surcingle ring and into my hand...and the outside line going along the outside of his body, through the surcingle ring, behind and around the haunches and into my hands.

    I have been allowing him to work longer and forward so that he can learn to bring himself up off of the forehand. At the trot he is amazing, free shoulder, round, stepping under himself - level in his movements and sometimes even uphill nicely...I can even get a very proper lengthening and a good start on a collected trot if I ask him to.

    However, when it comes time to canter, he seems to fall apart. While he is soft, round, bending, and on my line aids at the trot, he wants to brace his sides, kick out, hollow, and do tiny little bucks (crow-hops, if you will) when I ask for the canter. When I try to give him slack and push him forward into the canter, he either takes off, or straightens and braces his body for 1/2 the round pen then either goes back to a trot or walks.

    When I get after him, nicely of course, trying to drive him more from behind, or encourage him with a small bump from the whip he sometimes does the above too. I - 80% of the time - have to get him into a gallop and then start bringing him into a nice canter several times, both ways, for him to actually get what I am asking him to do as far as a working canter goes.

    I have never encountered this with any of my other dressage horses in long line round penning. Is this something related to the fact he used to be a race horse? Is it something I am doing? Has anyone else encountered this problem?

    All opinions welcomed. Thanks so much everyone. I really love this horse to death and wanna do my best to help him achieve his full potential.
    I told you: "inside leg to outside rein, not inside leg to outside rail!"

  • #2
    My first question is if he is the same going both ways with the canter. OTTBs almost always are one-sided, from racing in the same direction all the time.

    I was riding an older horse who had been out of work for several months and was cold-backed, and got very anxious at the canter. We backed off to cantering just the long sides of the arena because he was so unbalanced that circles weren't doing anything for him.

    If you have a safe place to do so, and you think he won't lose his mind, you could try free lunging him and see if he is as reluctant to canter in a bigger area as he is in the round pen.

    Another option is to just hold off on cantering in long lines. You don't say if you've been riding him under saddle, but there's no reason you can't start (if you haven't already) flatting him W/T to help him build some muscle and work on balance at those 2 gaits, and then go back to long lining to work on his canter from the ground.

    Comment


    • #3
      Traditionally, we would not longe line green horses at any other than walk and trot.

      Canter work on long lines was for the more advanced horses.

      Now, your horse may be an exception, being so much older than we traditionally started or retrained horses, but you may ought to consider waiting with any canter work until you have him further along and you may find your problems have disappeared on their own.

      You may also try initially running the off line over the center of the body, over the saddle if you have one on, in case that line may be setting him off at the canter.
      If you do, try it first walking and trotting.

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome to the world of the OTTB!!!!

        Not too sure how familiar you are with an OTTB, but basically his life has consisted of walking, trotting and galloping - mostly the the left - bracing on the exercise riders hands.

        In classical training, I would back off asking him for the canter - he is trying to tell you that currently he's not comfortable doing the gait. May want to try chiro - at least heat and massage - they come off the track sore everywhere.... Try and give him the time and rehab that he needs to become comfortable with self carriage and then begin to ask for the canter - would probably start with free work and relaxation.....

        Best of luck - once you get "through" to them, they are like no other horse, but it sometimes takes time and patience....

        Comment


        • #5
          Of course you always want to rule out pain first You could do a bute trial and if things improve you know it's pain related.
          Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
          Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
          "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Hello,

            I agree with those saying no canter for now. I have retrained numerous OTT's and they can never canter in a round yard to start with. They just dont have that good a balance.

            Do heaps of trot work, small circles, big circles etc. When he is working really balanced, then start canter in a really really big circle. So big, it almost isnt' a circle. Then slowly make it smaller over a few weeks.

            My latest one has had a good two months work in trot and walk, and I have only cantered him recently and only in a big arena, an only a couple of times.

            He is improving heaps, just takes time

            Have fun!

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh, and try the Chiro too! they are usually sore!

              Comment


              • #8
                Did this horse just come off the track, or has he already been restarted?
                "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
                http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would also wait a bit on the canter until he really understands and has the strength in the right places from the trot work. Shoulder in helps build the right muscles too, according to my coach.

                  And then I would focus on Canter/trot/canter transitions first so he learns the whoa and go buttons and to help build strength in the right spots. And only canter until they lose their balance and lean/brace on you again. At first it may be just a stride or two - that's ok. They eventually get it and will hold their balance instead of pushing off the rear, flattening and pushing into you. Sometimes when they get into that position, they don't know how to get back to the canter you want or don't have the strength to.

                  Good luck and have fun.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by warmbloodguy View Post
                    Hello,

                    I just bought another horse - we can never get enough can we - he is an ex-racer, TB, 12 yrs, with an amazing ability for dressage and the mind to match.

                    I have started long lining him in the round pen with a surcingle and lines attached mid shoulder on both sides. The inside line going along his body, through the surcingle ring and into my hand...and the outside line going along the outside of his body, through the surcingle ring, behind and around the haunches and into my hands.

                    I have been allowing him to work longer and forward so that he can learn to bring himself up off of the forehand. At the trot he is amazing, free shoulder, round, stepping under himself - level in his movements and sometimes even uphill nicely...I can even get a very proper lengthening and a good start on a collected trot if I ask him to.

                    However, when it comes time to canter, he seems to fall apart. While he is soft, round, bending, and on my line aids at the trot, he wants to brace his sides, kick out, hollow, and do tiny little bucks (crow-hops, if you will) when I ask for the canter. When I try to give him slack and push him forward into the canter, he either takes off, or straightens and braces his body for 1/2 the round pen then either goes back to a trot or walks.

                    When I get after him, nicely of course, trying to drive him more from behind, or encourage him with a small bump from the whip he sometimes does the above too. I - 80% of the time - have to get him into a gallop and then start bringing him into a nice canter several times, both ways, for him to actually get what I am asking him to do as far as a working canter goes.

                    I have never encountered this with any of my other dressage horses in long line round penning. Is this something related to the fact he used to be a race horse? Is it something I am doing? Has anyone else encountered this problem?

                    All opinions welcomed. Thanks so much everyone. I really love this horse to death and wanna do my best to help him achieve his full potential.

                    go backwards lots

                    dont long rein and dont ask for canter do it in walk till your nackered haha
                    then repeat it in trot lol do lots of things to help him like put some cones out or barrels to long rein round as they are taught to left and right when your on the gallops they just gggggooooooooooooooooo haha
                    so put out some obsticles to help him this will also keep focused and pay attention as he learns then when ready you it in trot etc
                    mate - think think think
                    this horse has just changed his carreer- so you need to think better

                    his tack is going to be heavier than a racing saddle
                    his work has changed as in completely changed from one of going fast and forwards to oen of going slow and calm

                    his work wouldnt have had dressage or any schooling as they at most are hacked out as in walk or trot to gallops or transported to gallops then galloped

                    hes used to using different mussles and light riders
                    hs feed change hsi enviroment has changed
                    and you want him to whoa on the lunge reins - nope
                    you have got to teach as if you were teaching a new baby neddy breadk to be broke or one that greens and needs educating

                    go back wards and start him as if he knew nothing so start at working on the walk and trot, add your saddle as soon as you can so that he can get used to where it lays on his back and gets used to the weight of the saddle your going to use also work with the stirrups down as thin k jockeys are short and high this horse has now got to learn to accept leg aids

                    and when your ready to ride him you might want to use a kimblewick bit as this isnt as strong as pelham and a tad stronger than a snaffle

                    i have re started many ottb, and found the kimblewick the best bit to use

                    Comment

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