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I've Lost my Right Lead

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  • I've Lost my Right Lead

    Apparently I've lost my right lead canter. Please tell me that this is just a phase?

    Background: Starting bringing this particular mare into work March of 2012. Had been out of work for quite some time (months?) before I acquired her. Could not canter without porpoising and being very difficult (tail wringing and general ugly-ness, so we didn't. We built up fitness at walk and trot and slowly started to had in a few strides of canter. Between chiro and a few evaluations of the vet, and a good saddle fitter, the mare really started to improve and the last few weeks the porpoising is getting less and less and we can even do fun things like canter down the long side. *Gasp!

    On Monday, the canter seemed pretty four beated (lateral?) to the right, but she worked out of it. Tuesday was just a walk day due to rain, and Wednesday the ring was a swamp. So last night, left lead canter was pretty good, right lead was very four beated. Down transitions were ugly (bracing/unbalanced), and the mare didn't really care to hold her right lead and broke to the trot a few times.

    There is always the possibility that hocks need to be injected (has been discussed with vet but as of the last check up a few months ago, the vet saw absolutely no reason to inject until the mare says so). My guess is that this is just a phase. We went through the I Can't Possibly Canter phase to the I Can Canter, but Not Until We Porpoise A Lot, to learning to balance. Trot work is coming along nicely and I had no issues there so I really don't think its pain related.

    We are showing at training level on Sat. Any suggestions on how to minimize this four beated canter until I can get with my trainer? It will be two weeks before I see my trainer, so we have plenty of time to try a few different exercises.


  • #2
    Broken record alert: I love shoulder fore in the canter for this sort of issue. Really unites the canter and reduces laterality.

    It's not a fix that will save you by Saturday, I don't think. But it will help you out in the future.

    Also check your position to make sure you're not off to the left especially to the right.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks....apparently there are several canter threads today! I may also be blocking somewhere as well.

      I think part of the problem is that the shoulders want to dive left, haunches right, and head goes straight up. I'm hoping a few strides of shoulder fore on the circle before the down transition will help us.


      • #4
        4 beats happen when the pace is low.
        Shoulder fore on the wall and ask for more. That extra beat will disappear
        chaque pas est fait ensemble


        • #5
          4 beats happen when the pace is low.
          Shoulder fore on the wall and ask for more. That extra beat will disappear
          chaque pas est fait ensemble


          • #6
            maybe ride out in a big field in a straight line and see if it works there...sometimes if there are issues with corners and circle size, a good field work does wonders.
            Appy Trails,
            Kathy, Cadet & CCS Silinde
            member VADANoVA www.vadanova.org


            • #7
              I don't see the point in spending the considerable time and money to show the horse when you can't canter correctly?? All you have to "show" at training level is straightness, steady contact and transitions. If all of that is not reliable at home, won't it only get worse at a show? That alone would stress me out - you need to be schooling at least a level or two above that which you're showing just to do well off-farm, no?
              Savor those rides where you feel like a million bucks, because there will be those where you feel like a cheap date...


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lusoluv View Post
                - you need to be schooling at least a level or two above that which you're showing just to do well off-farm, no?
                ^^^Not at all. And certainly not 2 level above!!!

                What would concern me is more the physical aspect that is leading to the 4 beat canter. What if the horse is sore somewhere? Wouldn't be good to start pushing it doing shoulder fore and other exercices. Wait for the vet advice and then you'll know. You could also call your trainer for advices.
                ~ 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 horse tends to start 4-beating in one direction when his pelvis and/or SI are out. A visit from the chiro generally puts it right.


                  • #10
                    Any possible problem with the left hind?


                    • Original Poster

                      Eh, Maybe.

                      This was a small schooling show not even recognized by my local GMO. Totally worth getting out for the mileage.

                      Our canter has been steadily improving, but we just hit a snag with the lateral canter this past week.

                      Originally posted by Lusoluv View Post
                      I don't see the point in spending the considerable time and money to show the horse when you can't canter correctly?? All you have to "show" at training level is straightness, steady contact and transitions. If all of that is not reliable at home, won't it only get worse at a show? That alone would stress me out - you need to be schooling at least a level or two above that which you're showing just to do well off-farm, no?
                      I very much doubt that the mare is having a physical issue. She is totally a "princess and the pea" type and even minor pain or needing a chiro adjustment is made known by her shenanigans.

                      I took Baylady's advice and did some work out in the field in my jumping saddle. We worked on straight and forward, and it was very nice

                      As for the show....We received an 8.5 on both left leads canters in T1 and T2. I was thrilled by the judge's comments on having a lovely left lead, and a nice rhythmic trot. On the right lead however, we recieved a 6. The judge commented that I am over using my right rein and realy blocking the right lead canter causing crookedness and a very lateral canter. Interesting. We have much to work on I really couldn't have been happier with this mare's behavior at the show. She was very good and mostly well behaved.


                      • #12
                        Good for you! A 6 is not bad. It sounds like you know what kind of work you have cut out for you, keep us updated! schooling shows are what they are titled... schooling! Perfect opportunity to get input from a judge in a new environment. Practice makes perfect when it comes to competing dressage tests.


                        • #13
                          Have you thought about doing a bute trial with her to see if it's pain related? When my boy stopped picking up his left lead, it turned out his hocks were sore. He would finally get it after asking a few times but then he would sort of scramble for it and it felt very disjointed.
                          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!"